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Environmental Politics and Environmental Policies
Undergraduate Program Status
Course Description

One of today's society's most significant challenges is facing the environmental crisis. Environmental issues must be presented on many levels to advocate green interests. Several political and social factors and economic interests determine the recognition of ecological issues as a political action. In light of the contemporary environmental challenges and towards establishing a much-needed new relationship between humanity and the environment, it is being recognized to an increasing extent worldwide that, in addition to fostering profound changes in the economic, political, and legal framework, conditions that provide ground for the operation of the private sector, as well as the relevant role of individuals and communities, must be better explored and brought to a new level. This course will provide students with a deep understanding of the complexities of environmental politics and policies, the challenges that the environment poses to political systems, and policy issues that arise. Throughout the course, students will gain in-depth knowledge about how the political pursues handle environmental problems related to, e.g., air pollution, waste management issues, and climate change, among others.

The course is divided into three main blocks along its main goals. First, it introduces environmental institutions and policymaking on the EU–and national levels. Second, we will examine the roles and actors of these institutions through practical examples. Third, the aim is for the students to understand global environmental problems from political–and policy perspectives regarding the role of institutions and interests at the national and international levels.

After learning about political systems and policies, we will move on to case studies, through which we will learn about the greatest environmental challenges of our time, discover the participants in the process, discuss the policies currently being implemented and propose possible new policy solutions. With this knowledge, students will be able to understand relevant empirical information in the context of problem-solving and pressure across several local and transboundary environmental issues. In the last main block of the course, we will focus on green political thinking, action, and environmental, political parties. We will discuss the complex relationship between formal and informal political processes over environmental issues, understand the idea of environmental justice and what that entails, and examine the impact of different political will on environmental issues by comparing the Hungarian and Austrian political systems.

Learning Outcomes

By completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Discover approaches to environmental problem-solving using case studies and group projects;
  • Learn about the key ingredients for successful environmental policy at the EU– and national levels;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key debates, concepts, features, and actors of environmental politics and policymaking;
  • Express a critical and knowledgeable view about current issues and developments in environmental politics and policies.
Course Level
Academic Year
US Credits
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