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POL8013 Environmental Politics and Policy

Semester 1, 2012 Online Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business and Law
School or Department : School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Contents on this page


Examiner: Tim Cadman
Moderator: Phil Griffiths

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at //


Environmental management requires an understanding of both physical problems and political and policy debates. This course provides students with the means to understand the origin of conflicts over contemporary environmental issues and some of the key aspects of current debates about environmental problems. In the first part of this course, students will learn about the development of modern 'environmentalism' and in the second, how environmentalism as a set of ideas is expressed in mainstream politics. This is followed by a discussion of some of the major sectoral and discursive responses to dealing with environmental problems. In particular, students will consider the divergent arguments about the type and degree of policy and systemic change that is necessary to achieve an improvement in environmental outcomes. This course will provide students with a broad understanding of the history and politics of contemporary environmentalism and current directions in environmental policy, so they have the capacity to be informed participants in debates and decision-making that relate to the environment.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. outline the development of contemporary environmentalism as a set of ideas
  2. recognise and understand the assumptions and beliefs that underpin some of the major branches of modern environmental thinking
  3. outline the way in which environmentalism developed as a political movement and assess the current influence of environmental thinking within government
  4. undertake a case study in environmental politics or policy that involves both review and analysis
  5. outline and discuss the broad policy approaches that could be used to ameliorate environmental problems
  6. debate the relative merits of using different policy approaches to solving environmental problems
  7. place any environmental issue in the broad context of social and economic change and then be able to analyse the specific problems and discuss potential solutions
  8. demonstrate ethical research and enquiry and written communication skills by preparing and submitting materials collaboratively, suitable for publication.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to environmental politics and policy 10.00
2. The growth of modern environmental awareness 15.00
3. Green politics: environmental groups, political parties and community participation 20.00
4. Globalisation and environmental policy 15.00
5. Environmental problem solving: the response of the state 15.00
6. New environmental policy instruments 15.00
7. Major challenges for environmental politics and policy 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Nil.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Reading 1.1 - Pirages, D 1982, 'The origins of ecopolitics', in R Falk, S Kim & S Mendlovitz (eds.), Toward a just world order, vol. 1, Westview Press, Boulder, Colarado, pp. 442-446.
  • Reading 2.7 - Hardin, G 1968, 'The tragedy of the commons', Science, vol. 162, no. 3859, pp. 1243-1248 at
  • Reading 4.7 - Bernstein, S 2002, 'Liberal environmentalism and global environmental governance', Global Environmental Politics, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 1-16, EBSCOhost MegaFILE Premier, Academic Search Complete, item: AN7240985.
  • Reading 5.2 - Howes, M 2005, Politics and the environment: risk and the role of government and industry, Earthscan, London, UK, pp. 43-68.
  • Reading 6.5 - Backstrand, K & Lovbrand, E 2006, 'Planting trees to mitigate climate change : contested discourses of ecological modernization green governmentality and civic environmentalism', Global Environmental Politics, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 51-75, EBSCOhost MegaFILE Premier, Academic Search Complete, item: AN19850268.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 55.00
Directed Study 85.00
Private Study 25.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASST 2 EXTENDED ESSAY 100 40 18 May 2012
2-HOUR EXAMINATION 100 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); English translation dictionaries (but not technical dictionaries).

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Assignments: (i) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the examiner. (ii) Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within 24 hours if required by the examiner. (iii) In accordance with university policy, the examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. (iv) In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience.

  2. Referencing in assignments: Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at //

  3. Course weightings: Course weightings of topics should not be interpreted as applying to the number of marks allocated to questions testing those topics in an examination paper. The examination may test material already tested in assignments.

  4. Deferred work: Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination); IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  5. Make-up work: Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non-directed personal study.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access: Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at //