Subject Video Content: International Politics of Climate Change

I have developed and delivered the innovative online subject International Politics of Climate Change (POL3IPC) since 2012 as a semester-length third-year undergraduate subject within the Global Studies program at La Trobe University. The subject is offered as both a core and elective subject to a diverse student cohort from degree programs across the university, based across each of La Trobe University metropolitan and regional campuses in Victoria.

In 2021, this subject was awarded a ASSC College Provost Teaching Award from La Trobe University for outstanding teaching design and delivery.

I’m sharing my content videos from this subject as a resource for environmental educators at the tertiary and late-secondary education levels.

The material in these videos is being continually updated. Constructive feedback on the content and suggestions for interactive online resources are most welcome.

Learning Outcomes

International Politics of Climate Change (POL3IPC) is designed to…

  • Highlight important intersections of International Relations as discipline and practice with climate change.
  • Inspire students to develop ways of thinking about global climate politics from their own unique disciplinary and life perspectives.
  • Prompt students develop an enhanced understanding of their role in climate governance and environmental justice.
  • Provide students with a conceptual map of the complex transnational political, economic, social, and cultural relationships of international climate politics.

The subject is an iterative journey, designed to holistically integrate documentary-style video content and academic readings within the structure of a weekly blog-based assessment activity, scaffolded by regular feedback. Its design draws from my peer-reviewed research into online learning and student engagement in global environmental politics.

Subject Delivery

Content is delivered by pairing documentary-style videos with academic literature and reports from international organisations. My content videos provide a brief conceptual introduction as a foundation for the students’ deeper exploration of each topic in the academic readings and assessments. My video is complimented each week with short videos from practitioners in the field. Together, the videos and texts offer mosaic of diverse perspectives for each weekly topic.

The subject is assessed via a weekly blog activity. The blog provides a multi-functional platform hosting a range of different knowledge representations, including critical evaluation and problem solving, textual analysis of international treaties, map analysis, climate vulnerability assessments, policy briefs, comparative case studies, short video presentations, and decision-making trees. In each blog, students are required to cite each of the content videos and assigned readings, which incentivises their full interrogation and integration of the video and reading material.

I provide detailed written feedback to the class for each weekly blog, which includes positive reinforcement and suggestions for improvement based on the assessment criteria. Through this iterative process of weekly submission and feedback, students develop a significant portfolio of work demonstrating their conceptual and applied knowledge, which they are able to integrate with disciplinary knowledge from their home degree programs, while also refining their analytical, writing and research skills.


Weekly Content Videos

Shared here are my content videos for each weekly topic, along with some online resources useful for student projects and class activities. These videos are one element of the content for POL3IPC. In the actual delivery of the subject, these videos are complimented by videos from specialists, practitioners and impacted community-members, along with peer-reviewed texts and authoritative reports.


01. Subject Introduction

In this video…

1. Welcome to POL3IPC.

2. Ben’s positionality.

3. Subject delivery.

4. Assessments.

5. Student health and well-being.

6. Take up the challenge!


02. Introduction to global climate politics

In this video…

1. A moment of system-level change in global politics.

2. How does International Relations grapple with complex inter-dependence?

3. Climate change problematizing International Relations.

4. COVID-19 and climate change.

Resources

Habib. B. (2019) “My students draw their emotional reactions to climate change politics.” Ben@Earth.


03. Greenhouse gas mitigation and the global carbon budget

In this video…

1. Crash course in climate science.

2. Climate change hazards and impacts.

3. The carbon budget.

4. Greenhouse gas mitigation.

Resources

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “AR6 WGI Interactive Atlas.”


04. The UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement

In this video…

1. The two-level game.

2. Emergence of an international response to climate change.

3. The UNFCCC.

4. The Paris Agreement.

Resources

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Carbon Brief: The Paris Agreement on Climate Change [interactive].

Climate Action Tracker: CAT Climate Target Update Tracker.

Climate Watch: NDC data by country [interactive].


05. International climate economics and post carbon transitions

In this video…

1. Core elements of economic systems.

2. Relationship of capitalism to the Earth.

3. Production, consumption and inequality.

4. Exchange, money and finance.

5. Markets, institutions and green technologies.

6. Post-carbon transitions.

Resources

International Monetary Fund. “Climate Change Indicators Dashboard” [interactive].


06. Climate vulnerability, adaptation and resilience

In this video…

1. Adaptation, vulnerability and risk.

2. Elements of adaptive capacity.

3. Limits of adaptation.

4. Adaptation in the UNFCCC.

Resources

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework).

Carbon Brief: Loss and Damage [interactive].

Climate Council. Climate Risk Map of Australia [interactive].


07. The securitisation of climate change

In this video…

1. Climate change as a security issue.

2. Theory of securitisation.

3. Problematising securitisation in the context of climate change.

4. Non-traditional security approaches to climate change.

5. Climate security as adaptation.

Resources

UN Environment Programme. “Climate change and security risks.”

International Crisis Group. “Climate, Environment and Conflict“.


08. Ethics and governance of geoengineering

In this video…

1. What is geoengineering?

2. Why might geoengineering be necessary?

3. Problematising geoengineering.

4. The precautionary principle.

5. Patchwork of international geoengineering governance.

6. Oxford Principles.

Resources

Solar Geoengineering: Warnings from Scientists, Indigenous Peoples and Climate Activists.” ETC Group. 11 June 2021 .

Heinrich Böll Foundation & ETC Group. “Geoengineering Monitor” [interactive map].


09. Deglaciation, population displacement and state sovereignty

In this video…

1. Causes and impacts of sea level rise.

2. State sovereignty implications of sea level rise.

3. Climate-driven population displacement.

4. Sea level rise and climate migration.

5. Deglaciation.

6. Water resource cooperation and international riparian treaties.

Resources

Climate Central. “Coastal Risk Screening Tool” [interactive].

Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative: “Maritime Claims of the Indo-Pacific” [interactive].


10. Global climate justice

In this video…

1. Historic responsibility for emissions and CBDR.

2. Colonialism and ecological debt.

3. Climate justice and environmental racism.

4. Gendered dimensions of climate justice.

5. Representation for future generations and non-human life.


11. First Nations Peoples and Earth-based governance


In this video…

1. First Nations sovereignty.

2. Traditional knowledge systems and climate response.

3. First Nations and environmental treaties.

4. Earth-based governance models, sovereignty struggles and self-determination.


12. The global climate movement

In this video…

1. Defining social movements.

2. Mobilising grievances and political context.

3. Participation and movement dynamics.

4. Goals, strategy and tactics.

5. Climate movement case studies.

6. Your role in international climate politics.

Resources

Climate Action Network International [interactive].

Picture by Cortney Ginivan, POL3IPC student.

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