Program archived

This program was offered in the past. This program might be offered again, but to be certain contact the organizing institution of this program. For current programs view all programs, or see the current offer by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Governing Climate Change: Theory and Practice

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Climate change may well be the most pressing environmental challenge facing humankind. Yet despite scientific consensus on its main cause – us – politicians and governments still lack the will and ambition to tackle the crisis effectively. Instead we see cities, companies and NGOs responding. They have become the driving forces behind innovative tools for behavioural change, creating a complex alternative web of institutions, instruments and actors seeking to govern climate change at the global level.

Master or PhD students and professions with an interest in climate action and policy. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Students who are in their final year of bachelors studies or have obtained a full bachelors degree are able to register for this course. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

On this course you examine different approaches to coping with climate change, from international agreements to market-based solutions and private activities. Theory is mixed with practice through lectures, discussions, games and excursions to provide concrete examples of how the issue is being addressed at various levels and by various actors. Along the way we invite you to question scientists, policymakers and lobbyists.

Governing Climate Change is embedded in the teaching and research work of the Department for Environmental Policy Analysis (EPA), part of VU Amsterdam’s world-renowned Institute for Environmental Studies. In 2014 EPA was rated the best Dutch research group in environmental economics, sociology and policy.

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Understand how global climate governance has changed over the past 40 years and where it might take us in the future. 
  • Be able to critically examine and assess current climate governance in terms of its emergence, effectiveness and efficiency, and be able to formulate reasoned opinions about contested concepts like fairness, legitimacy, equity and justice.
  • Improve your communication and debating skills on climate change.
  • Experience practical local and global solutions to climate-change issues in the Netherlands.

Philipp Pattberg is professor of transnational environmental governance and policy at and head of the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU Amsterdam. He teaches Master’s courses in environmental governance at the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Social Sciences. Pattberg specializes in the study of global environmental politics, with a focus on private transnational governance, multi-stakeholder partnerships, network theory and institutional analysis. His work has been published in leading scientific journals including Annual Review of Environment and Resources, European Journal of International Relations, Global Environmental Politics, Governance, and Science. Pattberg’s most recent book is the Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics (co-edited with Fariborz Zelli, Edward Elgar 2015).

“Climate Change is the most pressing challenge of our time. Coming to Amsterdam will equip you with the necessary tools to contribute to a solution.”

Oscar Widerberg is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). He has been studying and working with sustainability issues for the past 10 years, both in academia and in the private sector. Dr. Widerberg’s research focuses on how cities, companies and other non-state actors engage with climate change. He has a bachelor in international relations from Malmo University, a master in environmental science from Utrecht University and a PhD from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

The course includes three excursions: 

  • Greenpeace International (Non-Governmental Organization) 
  • De Ceuvel (city playground for innovation and creativity) 
  • Guided bike tour through Amsterdam (with focus on sustainability and local climate change issues)

To be announced.

"Overall we went through a large amount of issues that are currently present in climate change governance and wrapping up our course we discussed many effects of current policy, ranging from community to regional, national, and global policy areas. I did learn that climate change is a complex issue that involved many different actors, state actors, national states, and in my opinion we know what we should do to correct for climate change's effects. We are not doing exactly what we can be doing and that is often overlooked by policy makers because private interests are involved and the humaitarian or the socially conscious ideas are neglected because nations still want to retain their power and influence on the global stage." -Wes Oler

Location Amsterdam, Netherlands
3 Aug 2019 - 17 Aug 2019
Levels Master / Graduate
Credits 3.0 ECTS
Program fee 1,150 EUR
Accommodation fee 500 EUR
Extra information about the fee:
There are several accommodation options, ranging in price from €500 to €550. There are discounts:
€150 discount for early birds (register before 15 March, 23.59 CET).
€250 discount for all students from partner universities.
€200 discount when you apply for 2 courses, €300 when you apply for 3 courses.
€450 discount if you are currently a student at VU Amsterdam. Visit our website to see all housing options and for a list of partner universities.
Application deadline 1 May 2019
Entry requirements:
At least enrolled in final year of Bachelor studies - professionals need to have a Bachelor diploma.
Contact information:
Skype: VU Amsterdam Summer School - by appointment, email first
Telephone: +31 20 59 86429