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International Climate Law - LAWS8065
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Pre-requisite: Academic Program must be 9200 or 9210 or 9230 or 5740 or 9240 or 5760 or 9211 or 5211 or 9220 or 5750.
Excluded: JURD7465
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course examines the origins, evolution and future development of the international legal regime relating to climate change. The course begins with an overview of the scientific, economic and equity contexts of the climate change debate and then proceeds to a detailed examination of the provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, its Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen outcomes. The international legal implications of the various responses to climate change, including measures such as geosequestration, renewable energy, REDD, technology transfer and intellectual property rights, are analysed and the implications of international climate law for other areas of international law, such as the law of the sea, peace and security and refugee and migration law are explored.

This course is also available to students undertaking relevant postgraduate non-law degree programs at UNSW provided such enrolment is approved by the appopriate non-law Faculty.

LLM Specialisation

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

A candidate who has successfully completed this course should be able to:
  • be familiar with the legal, policy and philosophical issues relating to the development and implementation of the international legal regime which regulates activities impacting on climate;
  • understand the implications of the international climate regime for concepts that underpin the international system including the concepts of state sovereignty and jurisdiction;
  • have a working knowledge of the basic international legal norms relating to the global climate;
  • be able to apply the principles of international climate law within the context of contemporary international challenges.

Main Topics

  • The science and economics of climate change
  • Introduction to international law and governance
  • History of the international climate regime
  • Structure and framework of the UNFCCC
  • Structure and framework of the Kyoto Protocol
  • The Flexibility Mechanisms: Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation
  • and Emissions Trading
  • The Copenhagen outcomes and the future international climate law framework
  • REDD
  • International cooperation on technology transfer and development
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Climate change and international law


Class participation 10%
Class presentation and abstract 15%
Research essay (6000 words) 75%

Course Texts


Course materials will be provided by the lecturer
A full reading list will be provided in the detailed course outline. There are a large number of new and proposed books on the market. Some existing helpful titles include:

*Yamin and Depledge: The International Climate Change Regime

*Freestone and Streck: Legal Aspects of Implementing the Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms

*Bolin: A History of the Science and Politics of Climate Change


Refer to the course outline which will be provided by the lecturer at the beginning of the relevant semester.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.