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Advanced Study Course: Global Political Economy of Green Transition (Formerly: Global Green Shift)

global studies / International Development Studies / International Public Administration and Politics / Politics and Administration / Public Administration
master course
Teaching language

You register for activities through stads selvbetjening during the announced registration period, which you can see on the Study administration homepage.

When registering for courses, please be aware of the potential conflicts and overlaps between course and exam time and dates. The planning of course activities at Roskilde University is based on the recommended study programmes, which should not overlap. However, if you choose optional courses and/or study plans that goes beyond the recommended study programmes, an overlap of lectures or exam dates may occur depending on which courses you choose.

Detailed description of content

The vision of a green transition is driven by the recurrent call for a stop to fossil fuel-based CO2 emissions by natural scientists since the 1980s. Paradoxically the transition has been long under way and humanity has developed all the technologies and solutions to make the transition feasible (Cox, 2020, Chomsky, 2020). Yet progress has been slow in practice and the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that the natural climate will become increasingly dangerous for human prosperity and survival due to a projected exponential growth in extreme weather events. Based on projections to keep the global temperature rise within the limit of 1.5 C it is suggested that global greenhouse emissions will have to be cut to almost half in 2030 and to 0 by 2050.

In this course we seek to establish an overview of the different actors and institutions involved in current efforts to reach these targets set by natural scientists in the perspective of the global political economy. We analyse and seek to explain using different paradigms and theories in global political economy the solutions that they promote.

We look at the problem through the twin lenses of classical political realists (Chomsky, 2020) combined with the idea of hyperglobalisation (Rodrik, 2011) as a new cross-cutting agenda which subsumes the classical interests of the sovereign nation state. Hyperglobalisation paves the way for new types of interest groups and new types of distributional conflicts that challenge our traditional view of political realism as driven by the self-interested nation state. In the course we suggest that this new era in the global economy makes the drive for change and green transition increasingly difficult and filled with new obstacles but also potential new solutions.

The course therefore opens with a set of common theory-based classes. We use natural resource and ecological economics to understand the different and most widely discussed emissions-reduction strategies in the literature:

• Building up ‘green’ energy capacity and infrastructure (green public investment)

• Maintain or accelerate economic growth without increasing energy demand (shifting the face of economic growth typically driven by firms e.g. green self-governed growth)

• Market intervention e.g. via green taxes and tariffs, setting a direct tax on carbon, fossil fuel rationing and green standards (green public intervention)

The theory classes are followed by a number of more practice and case-oriented classes. Given the extent of stakeholders and interests involved, it is not possible to cover all perspectives involved in the green transition. We aim to cover as many varieties of perspectives as possible from the interests of traditional superpowers such as the US, emerging superpowers such as China, local communities living on the edges of modernization in Vietnam, intergovernmental organisations such as the EU and the EU’s Green Deal, exhaustive natural resources such as the ocean, powerful financial institutions such as Central Banks and global investors in biodiversity in Africa and global industries such as solar panel producers, distributors and consumers worldwide.

Learning outcomes/assessment criteria

In completing this course, students will

• gain systematic understanding of the background and theories behind the global political economy of green transition

• become familiar with a variety of approaches to the study of green transition and how different actors and institutions propose to solve the current impasse

• engage with a range of empirical cases and developments in the area of green transition

• develop ability to critically engage with economic data, including descriptive statistics

• analyse and discuss the political economy dimension of green transition in the lenses of different actors, institutions, perspectives and interests

Teaching and working methods

This course has a discussion-based seminar format. For each session, there will be an introductory lecture, followed by discussion and various group/individual assignments. This format hinges on active participation and interest from the course participants.

Students are encouraged to suggest current affairs and developments to include in the discussion, and to share additional readings with the class.

In addition to seminars, the course also includes an excursion to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (tbc).

Form of examination (portfolio)

The exam consists of two parts:

• A written assignment that is prepared during the course. The written assignment takes the form of a ‘newspaper assignment’ – students pick a recent newspaper article focusing on a topic relevant to the course and write a discussion on the basis of some of the conceptual tools discussed in class. This assignment is to be written during the course. More details at the beginning of the course.

• The second assignment is a written assignment on the basis of a question to be made available during the last session of the course.

• Both assignments may not exceed 14.400 keystrokes each. The size specifications include the cover, table of contents, bibliography, figures and other illustrations, but exclude any appendices. The assignment will be refused examination if it exceeds the maximum size, and one examination attempt will be deemed to have been used up.

• The two assignments must be combined in a single document and uploaded to eksamen.ruc.dk

• A single combined grade is awarded. The written assignments are given equal weight in the final grade awarded for the course.

Expected work effort (ects-declaration)

Undervisning: 26 timer Forberedelse til undervisning og eksamen: 99 timer Eksamen: 10 timer I alt: 135 timer

Course material and reading list

General literature – Course materual and reading list

Students are not expected to have prior knowledge of the structures and actors of the GPE of Green Transition. It is however expected that participants of the course bring a basic interest in Global Political Economy. In this context we can recommend:

Herman Schwartz (2010) States vs Markets (3rd, Palgrave).

If you find economics challenging at a more basic level, have a look at:

Ha-Joon Chang (2014) Economics. A User’s Guide (Penguin)

A primer on globalization and its paradoxes is:

Rodrik, D. (2011). The globalization paradox: democracy and the future of the world economy. WW Norton & Company.

Core literature

Chomsky, N., Pollin, R., & Polychroniou, C. J. (2020). Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet . Verso.

Li, Y., & Shapiro, J. (2020). China goes Green: coercive environmentalism for a troubled planet. John Wiley & Sons.

Besides these texts each class will be supported by one or two additional central readings, typically in the form of journal articles or book chapters (tba).

The full exam curricula will be published no later than mid-term on the Moodle pages

Other recommended supplementary readings

Cox, S. (2020). The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can. City Lights Books.

Meadows, D., Randers, J., & Meadows, D. (2004). Limits to growth: The 30-year update. Chelsea Green Publishing.

Klein, N. (2015). This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate. Simon and Schuster.

Ho, P., & Vermeer, E. B. (Eds.). (2006). China's limits to growth: Greening state and society. Oxford: Blackwell.

Mathews, J. A. (2017). Global green shift: When CERES meets Gaia. Anthem Press.

Evaluation- and feedback forms

There will be an oral mid-term course evaluation, as well as a final evaluation on Moodle. Students are encouraged to contact Nina or Camilla for questions.

Administration of exams
ISE Studyadministration (ise-studyadministration@ruc.dk)
Responsible for the activity
Camilla Jensen (camje@ruc.dk)
Learning outcomes and assessment criteria
  • Specialised knowledge and understanding of a particular topic within one of the three pillars in Global Studies

  • Advanced knowledge of academic and methodological debates related to the subject

  • Skills in selecting and critically applying relevant theories and methods

  • Skills in choosing relevant theories in order to investigate a problem area

  • Skills in communicating and discussing theories and empirical results

  • Competences in assuming responsibility for and reflecting on own learning and that of fellow students by actively participating in group work, presentations and discussions

  • Competences in critically, independently and creatively selecting and utilising academic literature relevant to a specific research question

Overall content

The objective of the advanced study course is to provide the students with advanced knowledge and understanding within a specific research area covered by one of the three pillars in Global Studies: Global Politics, Global Sociology and Global Political Economy. At least two advanced study courses will be offered per semester. The courses offered will change every semester within the following subjects:

Global Politics:

  • International public sector organisations and global governance
  • Regionalisation and regional integration in international politics
  • International security
  • International law and human rights

Global Sociology:

  • International Mobility and information flow
  • International political movements and social change
  • International civil society, law and defence
  • Contentious identities and new global actors

Global Political Economy:

  • Work and globalization
  • Natural resources and geopolitics
  • Trade, investment and global production networks
  • International Financial Economics
Prerequisites for participation
Currently no data from curriculum.
Prerequisites for participation in the exam
Currently no data from curriculum.
Teaching and working methods

The courses are based on lectures, but will also include other teaching and working methods such as group work, exercises, student presentations, peer feedback and field trips or guest lectures as well as other practical activities.

Type of activity

Elective course

Form of examination
Individual written portfolio.

The portfolio consists of 2 written products, that wholly or partially are developed during the course. For example, products can be exercise responses, speech papers for presentations, written feedback, reflection, written assignments. The preparation of the products may be subject to time limits.

The character limit: maximum  28,800 characters, including spaces.
The character limits include the cover, table of contents, bibliography, figures and other illustrations, but exclude any appendices.

The portfolio's specific products and the (if relevant) recommended size (character limit) for the individual products are made public on study.ruc.dk before the course begins.

The entire portfolio must be handed in at the same time.
The submission deadline will be public on study.ruc.dk before the course begins.

The assessment is individual and based on the entire portfolio.

Assessment: 7-point grading scale.
Form of Re-examination
Same as ordinary exam
Exam code(s)
Exam code(s) : U41618
Last changed 23/08/2021

lecture list:

Show lessons for Subclass: 1 Find calendar (1) PDF for print (1)

Friday 10-09-2021 12:15 - 10-09-2021 14:00 in week 36
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 17-09-2021 14:15 - 17-09-2021 16:00 in week 37
Global Green Shift - ONLINE (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 24-09-2021 12:15 - 24-09-2021 14:00 in week 38
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 01-10-2021 12:15 - 01-10-2021 14:00 in week 39
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 08-10-2021 12:15 - 08-10-2021 14:00 in week 40
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 15-10-2021 12:15 - 15-10-2021 14:00 in week 41
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 22-10-2021 12:15 - 22-10-2021 14:00 in week 42
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 29-10-2021 12:15 - 29-10-2021 14:00 in week 43
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 05-11-2021 12:15 - 05-11-2021 14:00 in week 44
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 12-11-2021 12:15 - 12-11-2021 14:00 in week 45
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 19-11-2021 11:00 - 19-11-2021 13:00 in week 46
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 03-12-2021 11:00 - 03-12-2021 13:00 in week 48
Global Green Shift (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 14-01-2022 10:00 - 14-01-2022 10:00 in week 02
Global Green Shift - Hand-in, exam (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Monday 28-02-2022 10:00 - 28-02-2022 10:00 in week 09
Global Green Shift - Hand-in, reexam (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)