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Energy and environmental politics and policy 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 developed countries, natural resource abundant developed countries, 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 2021-2022





Vekting (SP)


Semester undervisningsstart


Antall semestre






Tilbys av

Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Media and Social Sciences

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 a number of 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-justified conclusions
  • provide constructive feedback in the context of 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 bringing energy systems in alignment with the environment
  • apply concepts and theories related to the subject of the course
  • communicate the knowledge gained during the course, and apply it to other contexts
  • make effective oral and written presentations
  • build on increased capacity for independent learning

Course content

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, energy resource abundant 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.

Throughout the semester, students will work in small groups on a comparative research paper. Apart from this assignment, a presentation on the group topic will also be assessed. The third form of assessment will be a written exam.

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.

Required prerequisite knowledge
Recommended prerequisites
It is recommended, but not mandatory, that participants complete the course MEE100 Societal transition and transformation: Energy and climate change.
Eksamen / vurdering

Written exam and group paper

Vurderingsform Vekting Varighet Karakter Hjelpemiddel
Written exam 1/2 2 Hours A - F
Group paper 1/2 1 Semesters A - F

For the group assignment, there should be a fair distribution of workload among students. If there are significant deviations in contributions, this can lead to a deduction in the grade for the less performing students. 

Coursework requirements
Student assignments
Group work, presentation and written assignment are compulsory.
Course teacher(s)
Course teacher: Thomas Michael Sattich
Course coordinator: Bettina Bluemling
Head of Department: Oluf Langhelle
Method of work
  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Student assignments (group work, presentation, written assignment)
  • Guest speakers

It is expected that students give an oral group presentation related to the group paper.

Open for
Energy, Environment and Society - masterstudium Exchange programme at Faculty of Social Sciences
Course assessment
Student evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Faculty of Social Science evaluation system.
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