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Cross-disciplinary theme: Environmental transformations

A cross-cutting focus on environmental crises and their economic, social and political impacts has been incorporated into all the centre’s research themes , along with Europe à and comparative studies. Indeed, whatever the thematic, theoretical or empirical approach, any analysis of developments in European political societies must now take account of environmental transformations. CEE members address this theme in their teaching and research leadership as well as in their own research.

Section #research

The environment in our research

The environment has traditionally been addressed in CEE research through public policy at national, European or international level (Richard Balme, Charlotte Halpern, Pierre Lascoumes ), urban and regional sustainability, energy and mobility transitions and their management (Charlotte Halpern), and environmentalist parties and movements (Florence Faucher, Joost de Moor). More recently, the scope has expanded to the history of ecological thought (Pierre Charbonnier), and consideration of environmental concerns by central and development banks (Matthias Thiemann) or by the welfare state (Colin Hay on uninsurablelie risks, Bruno Palier on the social risks stemming from environmental transitions).

Section #projects

Research Projects

Funded projects underway or recently completed include:

There are also three post-doctoral projects underway:

  • Carlo Colombo has been awarded a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship to analyse the extent to which EU law contributes to a just and sustainable transition in European cities (GUD EU Law, 2023-2025).
  • Thomas Kayzel, funded by the Bruno Latour Fund (2023-2026), is studying the intellectual history of economic growth, including the way in which conceptions of nature have influenced economic thought.
  • Cassandre Rey-Thibault, funded by the Bruno Latour Fund (2023-2026), is studying coastal urban areas in the context of climate change and, more specifically, the limits of risk management.
Section #phd-research

PhD Research

The CEE is now the Sciences Po research centre with the most doctoral students working on environmental issues.

  • Simon Audebert: “Ecologist political behaviour through the prism of rural areas in France” (supervised by Florence Haegel)
  • Meryem Bezzaz : “Natural resources and international cooperation: price, competition and the new business power” (jointly supervised by Colin Hay and Cornelia Woll, Hertie School)
  • Marius Bickhardt: “Overpopulation in the Anthropocene: scarcity, abundance and inequality from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century” (supervised by Pierre Charbonnier)
  • Jean-Baptiste Bonnet: “Paint it Green: the Political Economy of Ecological Transitions in Europe”, on the adoption patterns of electric vehicles (jointly supervised by Philippe Bezes and Cyril Benoît)
  • Eva Bossuyt: “The relational urban fabric. Following clothing value chains from production to disposal”, which looks at the environmental consequences of fast fashion (supervised by Gabriel Feltran)
  • Maxime Gaborit: “Climate protest and policies. Regimes of conflict in the Anthropocene” (jointly supervised by Florence Faucher and Amandine Orsini, Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles)
  • Léo Grillet: “The nature of anarchists: an ecologist avant-garde? Towards an environmental history of anarchism” (supervised by Pierre Charbonnier)
  • Malo Jan: “A conflictual climate? A comparative study of national politicians’ responses to climate change in Western Europe” (supervised by Emiliano Grossman)
  • Claire Lejeune: “Planning in the face of crisis: a critical genealogy of modern government” (supervised by Pierre Charbonnier)
  • Théodore Tallent: “Geographical divides and citizens’ perceptions of climate policies: An obstacle to the success and acceptability of the low-carbon transition in Europe?” (jointly supervised by Florence Faucher and Davide Luca, Cambridge University)
  • Lucien Thabourey: “Environmental movements and relations with the state: a comparative study of France and the UK” (supervised by Florence Faucher)
  • Marta Tramezzani: “The energy community movement in urban areas” (supervised by Richard Balme).

In December 2022, four of our PhD students (Marius Bickhardt, Maxime Gaborit, Léo Grillet, and Claire Lejeune) were among the six organisers of the Graduate Conference on Political Theory, “Towards a new environmental political theory” .

Three recently awarded PhDs also focused on environmental issues: Weiting Chao’s (2023) thesis on fraud in the EU carbon permit market, Arnault Barichella’s (2022) thesis on the role of cities and regions in global climate governance from an EU/US comparative perspective, and Roberto Rodriguez’s (2022) thesis on policies to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality in Mexico City and Paris.

Section #structuring

The structuring of environmental research

CEE plays a central role at Sciences Po in thinking on environmental transformations and their integration into the institution’s research, teaching, and knowledge transfer strategies.

On the research front, Richard Balme coordinated AIRE, an interdisciplinary environmental research group set up by the Research Division in 2018. Joost de Moor took over from him in 2023. Charlotte Halpern was instrumental in establishing the Centre des politiques de la Terre (with Université Paris Cité). She served on its executive committee from 2019 to 2022, when Richard Balme replaced her. Charlotte Halpern also co-directs LIEPP’s Environmental Policies research group, which she set up in 2020 in collaboration with Université Paris Cité.

Pierre Charbonnier and Charlotte Halpern manage the Bruno Latour Fund, dedicated to advancing research in political ecology through the recruitment of 10 post-doctoral researchers (two of which are members of the CEE: Thomas Kayzel and Cassandre Rey-Thibault).

Charlotte Halpern and Richard Balme were members of the Latour Committee (2019), which conducted a wide-ranging review of courses and research on the ecological transition. Charlotte Halpern subsequently co-led a more in-depth mission on the same theme in 2020-2021. On that basis, she coordinated the environmental component of the TIERED project (Transforming Interdisciplinary Education and Research for Evolving Democracies), which was awarded a PIA 4 ExcellencES grant in 2022. She now heads the institution-wide Institute for Environmental Transformations, which aims to give visibility and coherence to existing initiatives at Sciences Po, help deepen and expand our offering, open up to other scientific areas, and structure a knowledge dissemination and transfer policy.

Section #teaching

The environment in our teaching

CEE’s permanent faculty members teach courses on the environment in a number of Sciences Po programmes. Florence Faucher has been teaching the Environmental Politics course at the Undergraduate College since 2010. Pierre Charbonnier coordinated the Ecological Culture course, which was introduced into the core curriculum for first-year Undergraduate College students in 2022-2023 and is delivered simultaneously on the seven Sciences Po campuses, in French and English. Joost de Moor is a member of the teaching team, and Claire Lejeune and Théodore Tallent are teaching assistants. Pierre Charbonnier also teaches courses on political ecology and the links between environmental change and geopolitics at the Urban School, the School of Research, and the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA). Joost de Moor teaches courses on political conflicts linked to climate issues (Urban School) and environmental movements (PSIA). Bruno Palier co-directs (with Anne-Laure Beaussier of the CSO and Tom Chevalier, CEE associate researcher) a research seminar for School of Public Affairs students on mapping the social risks caused by environmental change.

Section #conferences-seminars

Conferences and seminars

A few recent conferences

The European urban planning conference “AESOP 2024 – Game Changer? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions” , hosted by the CEE and Sciences Po Urban School in July 2024, will focus heavily on environmental issues.


The CEE co-organises with CSO and OFCE the “Social–Ecological Transitions” seminar series.

In addition to the AIRE group seminars and certain key themes seminars, the CEE general seminar regularly addresses environmental issues:

Section #articles

Articles, interviews, and podcasts

CEE’s environmental research is regularly featured in articles and interviews for a general audience. A few recent examples:

Find more articles in the sections “Research News” and “Media Contributions”.

Contact us

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Ph.: +33 (0)1 45 49 83 52

Email: contact.cee@sciencespo.fr

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