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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. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

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 (45% of the final grade), a case-study-based project on an assigned climate and energy-related theme (35%), a small programming exercise (15%) 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. 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.


Students can register themselves via MyStudymap for each course, exam and retake. Do this on time, before the start of the course. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in. Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

After registering for an exam, you must confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. Without this confirmation, you are not allowed to participate in the exam or retake of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.

Furthermore, there are two registration periods per year:
First semester / fall semester: opens in July
Second semester / spring semester: opens in December

More information about course and exam enrolment 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