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Climate: Politics, Finance, and Infrastructure

Law School LAW - Law School

Course Description

While climate change is often considered an 'environmental problem', the risks and opportunities embedded in a changing climate go well beyond the natural environment. This course reframes climate as a macroeconomic challenge, one in which multilateral politics, global investment, and distribution of impacts must be understood and reconsidered. Based on readings and guest speakers, this interdisciplinary course traces the arc of climate past, present and future on the pillars of politics, finance, and infrastructure (both physical and institutional). Grounded in the latest climate science and the history of global climate negotiations, the bulk of the course investigates innovations at the intersection of finance, law and policy, with particular emphasis on risk management, legal liability, corporations, climate justice and resilience. The final sessions look to the future and consider how the next generation of leaders might solve the greatest challenge of our time. Elements used in grading: Students may take the course for 2 units (section 1) or 3 units (section 2). Section 1 and 2 students will receive grades for attendance, in class participation and guest-speaker questions. Section 1 students will complete a group presentation on the design of a financial, business, legal or policy intervention with the potential to reduce emissions on a large scale. Section 2 students will be required to write an individual research paper meeting the Law School's R paper requirements. This class is limited to 60 students, with an effort made to have students from SLS (30 students will be selected by lottery) and 30 non-law students by consent of the instructor. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor.

Grading Basis

L02 - Law Honors/Pass/Restricted credit/Fail





Course Repeatable for Degree Credit?


Course Component


Enrollment Optional?



LAW2513 is a completion requirement for: