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Climate crisis politics: constraints and opportunities


Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.

  • This course only offers a place to a maximum number of 38 students.


Even though climate scientists strongly agree that tackling the climate crisis is extremely urgent, it proves difficult to do so: to make governments sign international climate agreements and to let these governments and individual citizens live up to them. In this course, we will delve into this dilemma. We will focus on a wide variety of actors and aspects of climate crisis politics, to see what blockages and possibilities are out there for moving towards a more sustainable future. We will start with actors that are actively blocking this move, such as climate change denialists and anti-environmentalist lobby groups. Then, we will discuss actors who on the one hand agree that climate crisis solutions are much needed, but at the same time find it difficult to adjust their behavior to make this possible (in fact, probably the majority of all citizens). Finally, we will turn to various possibilities for moving towards a sustainable future, such as framing climate change differently, social movement activism (e.g., Extinction Rebellion), interventions by the IPCC, and political agreements.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • Understand the various constraints and opportunities that are out there concerning successful climate crisis politics

  • Have an overview of the various actors that are involved in climate crisis politics and their social positionings towards the issue

  • Be able to analyze and advise on what actors, given their social positionings, can do to overcome climate crisis constrains
    Have a more general understanding of the relationship between media, politics, science, social movements and crisis politics


On the right side of programme front page of the studyguide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace

Mode of instruction

This course consists of 7 seminars. Classes will be dedicated to (guest) lectures and group discussion. Students are required to participate actively in class discussion.
Attendance is mandatory.

Assessment method

Assessment for this course is based on two assignments:

Midterm: paper written in small groups

  • 30% of final grade

  • Resit not possible

  • Grade needs to be compensated

Final exam: individually written paper

  • 70% of the final grade

  • 5.50 is required to pass the course

  • Resit is possible

  • Resit will take the same form

The calculated grade of the assignments must be at least 5.50 in order to pass the course. Students are also permitted to resit the 70% assignment if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50.

In the case of written assessment methods, the examiner can always initiate a follow-up conversation with the student to establish whether the learning objectives have been met.

Reading list

The literature will consist of academic texts and policy documents, links to which will be provided in the syllabus.



Dr. Thijs van Dooremalen