Instructor(s): Jutta Brunnée

For graduate students, the course number is LAW2011HS.

Note: This course satisfies the International/Comparative/Transnational course requirement.

Global climate change demands international, transnational, national and sub-national action both to mitigate the risks as much as possible, and to adapt to its unavoidable consequences. This course explores the role of law in tackling this complex, multi-level governance challenge. We will begin by considering the current scientific understanding of global warming and its likely trajectory, and the particular challenges posed by the need to tackle a multi-dimensional and highly dynamic problem. Against this backdrop, we will turn, first, to the international and transnational legal responses to, and issues raised by, climate change, ranging from the respective roles of customary and treaty-based law to the evolution of the UN climate regime, the scope for international litigation, and the sub-fields of international law engaged by climate change, such as human rights law and trade and investment law. We will then examine national and sub-national climate change law, focusing on Canadian law. We will consider the legal issues raised by Canadas constitutional framework, questions of instrument choice including carbon pricing, the role of municipal and regional governance and the scope for domestic litigation.

The course operates in a workshop format, with the instructor and guest speakers offering perspectives on the various topics, followed by focused class discussion. Students will be responsible for active and critically engaged participation in this discussion. To this end, students will be required to circulate a reaction memorandum of approximately 500 words for each of two classes. These memoranda will count towards the participation mark (20% = 5% for each reaction memorandum, 5% attendance, and 5% contributions to class discussion). In addition, students will be responsible for a 6,000 word paper on a topic of their choosing (80%).

At a Glance

Second Term


30 JD


T: 2:10 - 4:00