This is an archived course. A more recent version may be available at


International Environmental Negotiation

As taught in: Fall 2002

An aerial photo of Mexico City, partially obscured by smog.

Smog hovers over Mexico City. (Image courtesy of Christian Figenschou.)


Prof. Lawrence Susskind

MIT Course Number:




Course Features

Course Highlights

With the growing necessity for sustainability and environmental protection, education on the negotiations and topics surrounding the environment become important for students in all fields. This class takes a look at the international issues that come into play regarding the environment, and has an extensive reading list covering those topics.

Course Description

The class will explore the obstacles to achieving sustainability; in particular, the difficulties of managing common resources, achieving transboundary pollution control, making tradeoffs between economic and social development needs and environmental resource protection, and harmonizing environmental protection standards. At their core, these problems must be addressed through international or multi-lateral negotiations. We will focus especially on problems of representation and voting, issue linkage, balancing science and politics, and monitoring and enforcement in negotiations of these kinds. We will also examine these issues in light of actual treaty negotiations especially the on-going efforts to implement the Climate Change Convention. The class will operate as a research seminar. Each student will be expected to prepare and present an analysis of a specific international environmental negotiation which is heavily prescriptive.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.