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Thematic course 3: Climate Change and Energy Transition


Admission requirements

This course is obligatory for students of the MSc Governance of Sustainability.


Climate change is both a natural process and a societal challenge. In this course, students learn to address the current climate crisis at the intersection of both perspectives: What is climate change, how does it work and what are accelerators? What are the socio-political stakes, what are future pathways and how can anthropogenic climate change be governed adequately? This course zooms in on the economics and politics of climate change. Since anthropogenic climate change is deeply entangled with major Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) and how energy is produced, consumed and governed, the course pays special attention to the energy transition by working on the analysis of the involved actors and the interrelations among them mediated by power dynamics and underpinning sociotechnical patterns.

Course objectives

After this course, students are able to:

  • Compare different democratic models in relation to climate change and the energy transition;

  • Explain the historical root causes and main challenges related to global climate governance;

  • Explain the different mechanisms and actors of cooperation for climate and energy policies at the different scales of governance;

  • Analyse underpinning trade-offs, uneven gains and normative aspects in the governance of climate change and energy transitions;

  • Elaborate a critical view on the possible solutions for climate mitigation/adaptation (i.e., generating relevant questions);

  • Explain the principal natural mechanisms that lead to climate change i.e. causes and effects);

  • Elaborate on different energy technologies, associated challenges and interpret their consequences;

  • Assess the underlying economics related to climate change, climate change mitigation and energy supply;

  • Discuss how economic incentives create ‘lock-in’ situation or cause uprising;

  • Create and discuss basic dynamic models in Python;

  • Integrate governance and natural science insights and apply to practical case study.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have successfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the 'help-page' in MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

In this course we offer a mix of instruction methods, including digital lectures and working groups.

Assessment method

There will be a mix of assessments that ensures the acquisition of skills from multiple sides. This includes an individual exam (40% of the final grade), a case-study-based project on an assigned climate and energy-related theme (35%), a small programming exercise (20%) and participation (5%). Participation is rated through quality class attendance (both lectures and tutorials), the submission of weekly assignments and in-class quizzes. The project is primarily a group project.
We intend to give members of groups the same grade. However, we ask the group to fill in a weekly logbook with individual contributions to the project and in case of significant contribution imbalances, the teachers can adjust the grades on an individual basis.

Attendance is mandatory for both lectures and tutorials. In case of extenuating circumstances (e.g., sickness), the absence should be communicated via email to the teachers.

Regulations for passing the course:

To pass the course, participants need to achieve an average grade of 5.5. In addition, the grade of each individual item needs to be at least 5.5.
A resit is possible only for the exam and the individual Python assessment. In case of a grade lower than 5.5 for the other items students can redo only the corresponding part of the course.

All the items need to be submitted within the defined deadlines. Items submitted later will not be considered.

Reading list

Literature for this course will primarily exist of scientific peer-reviewed papers from
mono-disciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific journals, supplemented with
book chapters, occasional policy document, video and podcasts.

All required readings and lectures must be studied for the written exam.


Every student of all years must enroll via MyStudyMap.

In this short video, you will see step by step how to enroll in courses in MyStudyMap. Note that your enrollment is only completed when you submit your course planning in the 'Ready for enrollment' tab by clicking 'submit'.

There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to register for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam. Keep in mind that there are enrollment deadlines, see this page for more information.

Extensive FAQ on MyStudymap can be found here.


Dr. Shivant Jhagroe Dr. Antonella Maiello Dr. Hauke Ward


MSc Governance of Sustainabilty students can register for the course and exam via uSis. Other students need to contact the study advisors of the programme via