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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Climate Change Politics from a Comparative Area Perspective - JTB332
Title: Climate Change Politics from a Comparative Area Perspective
Czech title: Politika klimatické změny v komparativní teritoriální perspektivě
Guaranteed by: Department of North American Studies (23-KAS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2023
Semester: winter
E-Credits: 6
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: 27 / unknown (27)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
Guarantor: Mgr. Ing. Magdalena Fiřtová, Ph.D.
Mgr. Eliška Ullrichová, Ph.D.
PhDr. Zuzana Lizcová, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): Mgr. Ing. Magdalena Fiřtová, Ph.D.
PhDr. Zuzana Lizcová, Ph.D.
Mgr. Eliška Ullrichová, Ph.D.
Class: Courses for incoming students
Last update: Mgr. Ing. Magdalena Fiřtová, Ph.D. (25.09.2023)
Climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy is undoubtedly the most important economic issue facing the world today.This course seeks to offer a comparative perspective on climate change policies, as policy responses vary widely from country to country. It will critically examine the regional challenges of decarbonization. Different countries/regions will serve as concrete case studies for thinking about the promises and pitfalls of policymaking trajectories.

The course will welcome a range of renowned guests and experts in specific areas of climate policy. Students will have the opportunity to gain practical and in-depth knowledge from them and deepen their understanding of different perspectives on green transition in the ensuing discussion (Q&A after each lecture).

As climate change is a global problem, cooperation across countries is key to finding effective solutions. The course aims to motivate students to be interactive and collaborative throughout the course and on the final project.

Aim of the course
Last update: Mgr. Ing. Magdalena Fiřtová, Ph.D. (22.09.2023)

The aim of the course is to introduce students to key policy issues to combat the impacts of climate change.

Course completion requirements
Last update: Bc. Sára Lochmanová (05.10.2023)

Grading is based on the Dean's Measure no. 20/2019:

  • 91% and more   => A
  • 81-90%             => B
  • 71-80%             => C
  • 61-70%             => D
  • 51-60%             => E
  • 0-50%               => F

More in SMĚRNICE S_SO_002: Organizace zkouškových termínů, kontrol studia a užívání klasifikace A–F na FSV UK.

Last update: Mgr. Ing. Magdalena Fiřtová, Ph.D. (25.09.2023)

William Nordhause, The climate casino: risk, uncertainty, and economics for a warming world, 2nd edition, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. The entire book is available in the e-brary. - This is a very important book, the mandatory one.

Kathleen J. Hancock and Juliann Emmons Allison, The Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics,2021, print copy of the book is available in Jinonice library.  

Paul Hawken Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, 2017.

Tim Jackson, Post Growth: Life After Capitalism, 2021.

Michael E. Mann, Tim Campbell, et al. The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, 2021.

George Mashall, Don't Even Think of it: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate, Bloomsbury, 2014.  (available in Czech translation Ani na to nemyslete)

Matto Mildenberger, Carbon Captured: How Business and Labor Control Climate Politics (American and Comparative Environmental Policy), MIT Press, 2020.

Doris Fuchs, Marlyne Sahakian et al.,  Consumption Corridors: Living a Good Life within Sustainable Limits, Routledge 2021, online book.

Other resources:

Climate change website of People in Need (a very complex source of information, in English and in Czech),

Fakta o klimatu (only in Czech),

World Bank Group – Climate Knowledge Portal

The Global Carbon Project

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, AR6 Assessment Report WGI (2021)

Teaching methods
Last update: Mgr. Ing. Magdalena Fiřtová, Ph.D. (12.09.2023)

Expert lectures combined with student discussion, oral presentations and asynchronous activities in Moodle

Requirements to the exam
Last update: Mgr. Ing. Magdalena Fiřtová, Ph.D. (25.09.2023)

Active participation (20%)

active participation in Q&A, based on a number of your reactions/responses/questions in class, students are allowed to a maximum of 2 uncertified absences.

Reading Mind Map (20%) 

Part 1: Mind Map Creation (10% of the total grade)
Each student will create a mind map once per semester. This mind map should visually represent the connections between the main ideas or information in the assigned mandatory readings. Additionally, each student must formulate one unanswered question related to the text.

Both the mind map and the question should be uploaded to Moodle by Sunday night, allowing other students to read them and react to the submitted questions.

A maximum of three students per week will be responsible for visualizing the mandatory readings. It will be interesting to compare the results of your visualizations. In the first week, students split up, and register for a topic. Each student prepares a mind map and submit it to Moodle forum.

The Mind Mapping activity aims to help students create their unique visual representation of what they have learned through the assigned text, thereby promoting comprehension of the text, reinforcing structured thinking, and increasing learning productivity. This note-taking activity is an interesting tool to learn not only how to transcribe text verbatim but also how to process and structure information correctly, extract the gist of it, and record it in the form of keywords and short sentences. You can use the Google Drawing application or prepare and scan a hand-drawn map for this purpose.

Part 2: Response to Mind Maps (5% each, twice per semester)
In the second part of this activity, each student must provide responses to the prepared mind maps twice per semester. Each response accounts for 5% of the total grade. Responses can take the form of factual comments on the visualized map or answers to posed questions. This encourages discussions and deeper engagement with the course materials.

Final Group Presentations  (50%)

Students will be divided into teams of four to five and will present the SWOT analysis of one country during the two final classes on December 12th and 19th, 2023. These teams will be formed by the course instructors by October 20th.

Prior to the final presentations (the presentation dates will be drawn on December 5th), each team will be required to prepare a document analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of their represented country's sectors, ideally using the SWOT analysis framework. This analysis should focus on how to achieve carbon emission reductions in alignment with the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C. Additionally, the document should outline the scenarios of policies to be adopted by the country as optimal for reaching the goal of 1.5°C.  In this section, aim to be courageous and innovative while also considering feasibility

The document should be 10-15 pages in length, with each page containing approximately 1800 characters (including spaces) or 250 words when double-spaced. It must be uploaded to Moodle by December 10th, 2023. Please note that there will be a penalty for late submissions, resulting in a deduction of one point for each day the document is late

Personal Challenges (10%)

Students will choose at least two challenges to attempt during the semester and document them. They have to submint a short (one-page) reflection per challenge on the purpose of the challenge, which should be supported with effective evidence and data. The penalty for late submission is the loss of one point for each day late. Due to Moodle: January 8, 2024.

Last update: PhDr. Zuzana Lizcová, Ph.D. (09.11.2023)

The course has Moodle website, please enroll in it to have access to reading materials and assignments.


3. 10.    Introduction and History of Climate Change Policies and Politics

Moderator: Magdalena Fiřtová/ Eliška Ullrichová


10.10.     Global Governance: building up the architecture to tackle climate change

Challenge: One week of zero-waste shopping

Guest: Michal Broža, Head of Office, UN in Prague

Moderator: Magdalena Fiřtová

Mandatory readings:

Falkner, Robert. 2016. The Paris Agreement and the new logic of international climate politics. International Affairs 92(5): 1107-1125., 


Bernauer, Thomas. 2013. Climate change politics. Annual Review of Political Science 16: 421-448. pdf in the Moodle


Nordhaus, William. 2021. Why Climate Policy Has Failed and How Governments Can Do Better. Foreign Affairs. In pdf in the Moodle. 


IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy,
J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, In press, doi:10.1017/9781009157896.

IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, 3056 pp., doi:10.1017/9781009325844

Richard Kinley, Michael Zammit Cutajar, Yvo de Boer & Christiana Figueres, Beyond good intentions, to urgent action: Former UNFCCC leaders take stock of thirty years of international climate change negotiations, Climate Policy, 21:5, 2021, 593-603, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1860567, in the e-brary.

17.10.    Agriculture, Forestry, and Land Management in Carbon Sequestration

Challenge: Reduce your meat consumption per ⅔ this week (or ideally this semester)

Guest: Jan Skalík, Hnutí DUHA,

Moderator: Eliška Ullrichová

Mandatory Reading:

Marco Bindi and Jorgen E. Olesen, The Response of Agriculture in Europe to Climate Change, Regional Environmental Change 11, 2011, pp. 15-158, DOI: 10.1007/s10113-010-0173-x, e-brary.


Kenny Torrella. This is how much meat and dairy hurt the climate, Vox, Feb 1, 2022, 

24. 10. Policy Design, Actors and Coalition Building, a case study of European Union 

Challenge: Reduce the amount of water you use this week

Guest: Adéla Denková, European Climate Foundation,  IMS alumni

Moderator: Eliška Ullrichová

Mandatory reading:

Ingmar von Homeyer, Sebastian Oberthür & Andrew J. Jordan, EU climate and energy governance in times of crisis: towards a new agenda, Journal of European Public Policy, 28:7, 2021, pp 959-979, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2021.1918221


Jungwirth, Planet over Profit? A Reality Check of Europe's Aspirational Climate Policies, Policy Brief, Global Campus South East Europe, 2021,

31.10.    Circular Economy, Model, and Impact

Challenge: Find one item in your household that you can reuse, repair or recycle before you throw it away

Guest: Ivana Sobolíková,  MIWA, IMS alumni

Moderator: Zuzana Lizcová

Mandatory reading:

Wiedmann, T., Lenzen, M., Keyßer, L.T. et al. Scientists’ warning on affluence. Nature Communication 11, 3107 (2020). 

7.11.     Decarbonisation of Energy, a case study of German Energiewende

Challenge: Understand how much energy you use per week and try to consume less of it.

Guest: Štěpán Vizi, Center for Transport and Energy, IMS alumni

Moderator: Zuzana Lizcová



 Fabra, N. “The energy transition: An industrial economics perspective,” International Journal of Industrial Organization 79, 2021.


L. Hughes, "Politics of Energy and Climate Change, in Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics", K. Hanonck and Allison (eds), Oxford University Press, 2021, see pdf.

 Richard Heinberg, Why Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us, August 17, 2017, Post Carbon Institute,



14.11.     Role of Financial Markets and Financial Regulations in Green Transition

Challenge: Find out (do thorough research) how your bank specifically protects the climate

Guest: Julian Toth, International Sustainable Finance Centre

Moderator: Magdalena Fiřtová


Roberts, J.T., Weikmans, R., Robinson, Sa. et al., Rebooting a failed promise of climate finance,  Nature Climate Change, 11, 180–182 (2021).


Copeland, B. R., Shapiro, J. S. and Taylor, M. S. (2022). Globalization and the Environment. in Gopinath, G., Helpman, E. and Rogoff, K. (eds.), Handbook of International Economics, Amsterdam: North Holland.


The Economist Podcast, Money Talks: The backlash against ESG, July 20, 2022.


21.11.    Communicating Transition

Challenge: Select one article with a positive story about addressing climate change that you enjoyed reading.

Guest: Milan Vítek, Greenpeace

Moderator: Zuzana Lizcová


Lamb, W., Mattioli, G., Levi, S., Roberts, J., Capstick, S., Creutzig, F., . . . Steinberger, J. (2020). Discourses of climate delay. Global Sustainability, 3, E17. doi:10.1017/sus.2020.13


Williams, H.T.P., McMurray, J.R., Kurz, T. and Lambert, F.H. (2015) Network analysis reveals open forums and echo chambers in social media discussions of climate change. Global Environmental Change. 32: 126–138.

David Roberts, Does hope inspire more action on climate change than fear? We don't know. Vox, Dec.5, 2017,

28.11.    Environmental Justice and Just Transition

Challenge: Find and recommend a new media outlet that provides quality coverage of climate change impacts and solutions. 

Guest: Tomáš Jungwirth, AMO

Moderator: Eliška Ullrichová


Mandatory reading:

Holmberg, S.R. (2017) Boiling Points: The Inextricable Links between Inequality and Climate Change. New York: The Roosevelt Institute. Available at


Karl Mathiesen, Greta Thunberg doesn't want you to talk about her anymore, Politico, April, 28, 2022

Georg Zachmann Simone Tagliapietra, Tells us about environment and climate policies, Le Monde, 17 December 2018,

Delia Paul, Merging the Poverty and Environment Agendas, IISD, February 12, 2021,

Tim Gore, Confronting carbon inequality Putting climate justice at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery, Oxfam, Sept 21, 2020,

Naomi Klein, Dancing the World into Being: A Conversation with Idle No More’s Leanne Simpson, Yes Magazine, March 6, 2013.

Jenni Monet, “Climate Justice Meets Racism”, Yes Magazine, Sept 16, 2016,

5.12.  Bridging the North-South gap for Global Climate Transition, a case study of China

Challenge: Challenge of your choice not included in course options

Guest: Zuzana Krulichová, IMS PhD. Candidate

Moderator: Magdalena Fiřtová

Mandatory reading:

  • Wang, P., Liu, L. and Wu, T. (2018) A review of China’s climate governance: state, market and civil society. Climate Policy. 18(5): 664–679, accessible via e-library 


Recommended reading:

  • David Brown, Why China's climate policy matters to us all, BBC News, October 2021,
  • Fiorino, D. J. , Can Democracy Handle Climate Change? Cambridge: Polity Press, 2018.
  • Qin, T. and Zhang, M. Development of China’s environmental legislation. In E. Sternfeld, ed. Routledge Handbook of Environmental Policy in China. Abingdon: Routledge 2017. pp. 17–30.

12.12.  Students' Team presentations

19.12.  Students' Team presentations, Conclusion, Final Discussion



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