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Global Sustainability & Energy Policy - POL00059H

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Elena Davidescu
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This course examines the intersection of development and energy policy in the post-WWII period, contrasting developments in the North and South. As energy is one of the most polluting sectors of economies worldwide and key to development strategies and growth, the intersection between climate change, security and sustainable development is explored in depth in the module. We will look at the challenges of sustainable development in the North and South, the role of civil society actors, and policy developments that link energy and sustainable development policies. The module then goes on to consider the significant progress made in recent years in the EU in developing a common energy policy, linked to climate change and security, in an area in which states are reluctant to transfer decision-making powers to the European Commission, needs to be unpacked and looked at in context. Energy Union is now a key policy priority for the 2014 European Commission, but there is little understanding of what it really means and its impact on Member states. Also the EU has been a pioneer in the creation of a carbon market (the ETS) and in promoting renewable energy. The main challenges to a sustainable development future coming from the energy intensive economies of the BRICS are explored next. The institutionalisation of environmental and climate change policy at the EU level and globally has opened new avenues for advancing both energy policy and sustainable development, which today comprises a large variety of rules ranging from energy sources, technology and innovation, renewable energy, nuclear energy, energy efficiency, a single market for gas and electricity, to energy infrastructure. A new discourse on the 'green economy' has emerged as a reaction to the economic crisis.

Module learning outcomes

By completing this module, students will have:

  • Knowledge of energy policy development in European countries which bear on issues of energy security, sustainability and climate change;
  • Understanding of the causes and consequences offered to explain changes to energy policy in Europe, as outlined in the course;
  • Describe processes of regional energy and climate change governance;
  • Identify, discuss and critically appraise competing frameworks for understanding complex relationships between energy, economic policy, security, environmental and climate change policy and social policy , spanning across sectoral boundaries;
  • Ability to evaluate competing explanations for change and integration in energy policy;
  • Ability to think originally and analytically about the contents of the course.

This module will also equip students with a range of key transferable skills:

  • Research, evaluate and integrate data from a variety of sources;
  • Communicate concepts arguments and information effectively and fluently in speech and writing;
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and effective time management;
  • Construct reasoned argument and exercise critical judgement.

Module content

Key topics:

  • The emergence of the global sustainable development discourse
  • North and South development and energy agendas
  • Democratisation, civil society and sustainability
  • Energy policy and climate change
  • Energy and environmental security
  • Towards an 'Energy Union' in the EU?
  • The BRICS and the future of energy and sustainability
  • The 'green economy' and the economic crisis


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Elliott, L. (2004) The global Politics of the Environment, Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Schubert, S. et al (2016) Energy Policy of the European Union, Macmillan, London.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.