SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Global Energy & Climate Policy

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

This course aims to introduce students to key themes and approaches in the study of global energy and climate policy.  The study of energy and climate change as two truly global challenges of the 21st century has found increased attention in the social sciences in recent years and yet the crucial connection between the two fields remains under explored in both research and teaching.  GECP seeks to change this by offering a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the topic.

The course will familiarise students with historical, technological, political, regulatory and economic aspects, drawing on a multitude of examples from both the Global North and South.  More specifically, Global Energy and Climate Policy examines the changing role of crude oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power and renewable power with a view to national energy portfolios, global energy markets and the challenge of mitigating global climate change.  It investigates international regime formation and diplomacy in the energy and climate change fields, addresses geopolitical dimensions of energy supply and demand, and provides a close examination of regulatory approaches to cutting greenhouse gases and building a low-carbon economy.

This course is compulsory for all MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy students and available to all Postgraduate Taught Students at SOAS. The time of the lecture will rotate on a yearly basis: In 2015/16 session lectures took place at 1pm, 2016/17 session lectures take place at 6pm. 2017/18 lectures will take place in the afternoon.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of the course students will:

  • Be familiar with the main issues in the field of global energy and climate policy
  • Understand the historical and technological evolution and regulation of energy sources
  • Be able to critically review approaches to contemporary issues in energy and climate policy through the use of case studies drawn from the Global North and South
  • Have developed the analytical and research skills necessary to interpret and assess the ways in which public and private actors have reacted to global energy and environmental challenges


The course will be taught over 20 weeks with one 60 minute lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week.

Method of assessment

  • Assessment one (2000 words); 30%
  • Assessment two (2000 words); 30%
  • Assessment three (1000 words); 10%
  • Unseen written examination; 30%

Suggested reading

  • Goldthau, Andreas and Jan M. Witte (2010), Global Energy Governance: The New Rules of the Game, Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
  • Held, David, Hervey, Angus and Marika Theros (Eds) (2011), The Governance of Climate Change: Science, Economics, Politics & Ethics, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Helm, Dieter and Cameron Hepburn (Eds) (2009), The Economics and Politics of Climate Change, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • O’Keefe, Phil, O’Brien, Geoff, and Nicola Pearsall (2010), The Future of Energy Use, 2nd edition, London: Earthscan.
  • Pascual, Carlos, and Jonathan Elkind (Eds) (2010), Energy Security: Economics, Politics, Strategies, and Implications, Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
  • Yergin, Daniel (2008), The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, New York: Free Press.  


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules