Environmental Politics in a Comparative Perspective (MEE120)

This course looks at the interdependence of energy and environmental policy from a comparative perspective. Environmental impacts differ depending on the energy source and energy system, which is why different policies have to be employed to mitigate impact. The course will look at the implementation of such policies across geographic and socio-economic contexts, i.e. in countries that are considered to be economically developed, transition economies and developing countries. A comparative perspective will hence be employed to the policy challenges associated with governing energy systems and with mitigating related environmental impacts. Central will also be the question of how just energy production is under given policies and for a particular energy system.

Course description for study year 2023-2024


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Many of the environmental problems we face today can be traced back to energy production and use. This course will look at this interdependence of energy production and environmental impact, and hereby focuses on how energy and environmental policy can mitigate impact. To this end, the course employs a comparative perspective. On the one hand, environmental impacts differ depending on the energy source and energy system, which is why different policies have to be employed to mitigate impact. On the other hand, the course will analyze policy implementation across geographic and socio-economic contexts, i.e. in developed countries, transitioning economies and developing countries.

By taking a comparative approach, the environmental impacts of different energy systems independent of the particular country context, as well as the effectiveness of policy instruments across contexts, can be discussed.

SDGs related to this course

By asking how to mitigate environmental impact from energy production, this course contributes knowledge conducive to achieving SDG15 and SDG13. As the course additionally looks at the distribution of impact, it also provides knowledge relevant for SDG10. And on a more general note, the course delivers knowledge relevant for achieving SDG7.

Learning outcome

It is expected that students, on completion of this course, will have the following knowledge, skills and general competencies:

In terms of knowledge, a well-performing student will be able to:

  • Distinguish different energy systems.
  • Describe energy systems in terms of their environmental impact.
  • Compare environmental and energy policies in different European and non-European countries in terms of their ability to mitigate environmental impacts.
  • Review and evaluate the range and substance of political and policy issues related to environmental and energy politics and policy.
  • Assess challenges related to a transition towards renewables.

In terms of skills, a well-performing student will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively the linkages between energy systems and environmental impacts.
  • Critically assess and compare the various challenges with regard to energy production and environmental impact.
  • Organize knowledge from the course in a coherent comparative analysis that leads to well-substantiated conclusions.
  • Provide constructive feedback in the context of group work and peer reviews.

In terms of general competencies, a student should be able to

  • Communicate effectively and discuss environmental problems associated with today's energy systems, and formulate and communicate effectively challenges associated with reducing environmental impact from energy systems.
  • Apply concepts and theories from the course.
  • Make effective oral and written presentations.
  • Have an increased capacity of independent learning.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

MEE100 Societal Transition and Transformation - Energy and Climate Change


Written exam and group paper

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written school exam 1/2 2 Hours Letter grades
Group semester paper 1/2 1 Semesters Letter grades

Throughout the semester, students will work in small groups on a comparative research paper. Apart from the group paper, a further form of assessment will be a written exam.For the group semester-paper, there should be a fair distribution of workload among students. Significant deviations in contributions can lead to a deduction in the grade for the students who contributed less.All papers and exams must be written in English.

Coursework requirements

Student assignments
Compulsory student assignments support the work on the group paper. The group will also give a presentation on their paper idea.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Benjamin Ronald Silvester

Course teacher:

Thomas Michael Sattich

Study Program Director:

Liv Sunnercrantz

Head of Department:

Oluf Langhelle

Method of work

  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Compulsory student assignments (group work, oral presentation, written assignment) throughout the semester will contribute to the writing of the group paper.
  • Guest speakers

Open for

Energy, Environment and Society - Master's Degree Programme
Exchange programme at Faculty of Social Sciences

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto