Sustainable Development and Climate Action
Sustainable Development and Climate Action: Global Challenges and Policy Options
- Professor: Tancrède Voituriez
- Session: July
- Language of instruction: English
- Number of hours of class: 36
Objective of the Course
This course will provide intellectual material for students to understand the rationale for and challenges behind sustainable development and climate action. Students will develop a critical sense of the drivers of actions and the factors of inaction in this field/domain. They will explore the relationships between knowledge and beliefs, science-based policy and contemporary politics. Additionally, students will debate on propositions made by scholars from different academic fields in an attempt to tackle the most pressing environmental and development-related challenges of our time.
Available evidence of environmental changes in the 21st century has revealed that said changes pose a major threat to our economies and societies. To ring the alarm, some scholars even coined a new term, the “Anthropocene”, to describe the unprecedented influence of human activities on the Earth system.
In 2015, the United Nations solemnly agreed to tackle environmental changes at their roots. They set the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and decided on 17 new and universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate change. They also made a pledge with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to strengthen the universal response to the threat of global warming by keeping a global temperature rise in this century well below 2°C. The same year, UN member countries took further steps to mobilize public and private resources so as to implement these two corresponding agendas.
From goals to action, questions remain on the amount of change delivered by global commitments. How do rich and poor societies confront and act on SDGs and climate change targets today? What do concepts such as “sustainable development” and “Anthropocene” deliver in terms of policy responses? What responses are they supposed to spark? What is the theory of change for civil societies, CEOs and scientists confronted with inertia, denial or obstruction? Is litigation a way out? While some major economies are stuck in the grip of populist extremism, can environmental and climate change policies frame a new social contract and deliver stability in international relations in the coming years? Students will encounter these kinds of questions throughout the course.
The course will be structured in three parts. In the first part, we will identify various environmental and development-related challenges and map out the policy responses at global level. In the second part, we will discuss the contemporary politics of global environmental and development changes, and observe that which has been achieved so far. In the last section of the course, we will look at different academic disciplines in order to flesh out science-based options likely to solve the challenges of implementation.
Organisation of the Course
- Theme 1: Identifying environmental challenges and global policy responses
- Theme 2: From policy to politics – mapping out the drivers of action and the factors of inertia
- Theme 3: Science-based options to solve implementation challenges
Tancrède Voituriez has a PhD in Economics and is Senior researcher on Global Governance at Iddri. His research focuses on trade and green innovation relationships, and on the causes of inertia in the implementation of sustainable development policies. Tancrède Voituriez has been involved as a coordinator and expert in numerous research projects on globalisation and sustainable development for the European Commission, the European Parliament, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment, among others. He has been a lecturer at Sciences Po since 2005.