Syllabus/achievement requirements

Course content

This course reviews the sources and principles of international climate and energy law, the interactions of the commitments under both regimes, and the new opportunities it creates for the promotion of sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and corporate responsibility. In particular, the course is based on a detailed examination of the following topics: the international climate change regime (UNFCCC/Kyoto Protocol) and the related legal mechanisms; regulatory approaches in achieving a sustainable development and combating climate change; the legal obligations deriving from the climate regime and affecting the energy sector as a major source of emissions; the international regulation of renewable energy sources and their support; the promotion of energy efficiency measures; and an assessment of the existing trade barriers raised for climate change considerations, or how to make energy trade climate friendly.

Learning outcomes

During this course, students will acquire a good understanding of the following topics based on the literature, lectures and case studies:

  • Foundations and sources of international climate and energy law.
  • Main issues related to the international climate change regime, in particular the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The flexible mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, and the EU emission trading regime.
  • Forest protection in the international climate regime.
  • Main issues related to the regulation of energy at the international level as impacted by the climate change regime
  • Relations between climate change, energy security, sustainable development and human rights
  • Instruments to promote renewable energy.
  • The relationship between international trade rules and international climate & energy law.
  • Companies and sustainable development.

Within some of these topics a case study is used as a point of departure for a thorough examination of a specific issue. The cases will be presented at appropriate times during the course, and relevant material will be handed out.

The course will mainly have public international law components, but will also include comparative studies, which highlight fundamental parallels/differences in terms of law principles, enforcement and regulatory techniques. There are a variety of national regulatory approaches to climate change.


Articles marked with C are to be found in a compendium available at the bookstore Akademika (Domus Nova, St. Olavs plass 5, entry from Pilestredet). Bring your student identification card when buying compendiums.

Note! The Compendium will not be availabe in the book store until late Janaury 2011!


C:Patricia Birnie, Alan Boyle and Catherine Redgwell,: International Law and the Environment, 3rd. ed., Oxford 2009, chapter 6,4 and 6,5, pp. 356-378.

C: David Freestone: The International Climate Change Legal and Institutional Framework: An Overview, in: David Freestone and Charlotte Streck (eds.): Legal Aspects of Carbon Trading, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 3-35.

C: Sander Simonetti and Rutger de Witt Winjen: International Emissions Trading and Green Investment Schemes, in: David Freestone and Charlotte Streck (eds.): Legal Aspects of Carbon Trading, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 157-175.

C: Edwin Woerdman et al.: European Emissions Trading and the Polluter-Pays principles: Assessing Grandfathering and Over-allocation, in: Michael Faure and Marjan Peeters: Climate Change and European Emissions Trading, Edward Elgar, 2008, pp. 128-150.

IPCC Summary for Policy makers, 2007 (18 pages) available at:

Norway's Fifth national Communication under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Status report as of December 2009.

C: Christina Voigt: The Deadlock of the Clean Development Mechanism: Caught between Sustainability, Environmental Integrity and Economic Efficiency, in: B. Richardson, S. Wood, H. McLeod-Kilmurray og Y. Le Bouthillier (eds.): Climate Law and Developing Countries: Legal and Policy Challenges for the World Economy, Edward Elgar, 2009, pp. 235-261.

C: Christina Voigt: Security in a Warming World: Competences of the UN Security Council for Preventing Dangerous Climate Change, in: C. Bailliet (ed.): Security: A Multidisciplinary Normative Approach, Brill Publishers, Leiden, 2009, pp. 291-312.

C: Christina Voigt: State Responsibility and Climate Change Damages, 77 Nordic Journal of International Law, 2008 Nr.1-2, pp. 1-22.

C: Charlotte Streck: Forests, Carbon Markets, and Avoided Deforestation: Legal Implications, 3 Carbon and Climate Law review (CCLR), 2008, pp. 239-247.

Markku Kaninen Do Trees grow on Money?, CIFOR Info brief, 14. November 2008 (available at:

Arild Angelsen and Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff: What are the key design issues for REDD and the criteria for assessing options? In: Angelsen, A. (ed.): Moving ahead with REDD: Issues, options and implications, CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia, 2008, pp. 11-22 (available at:

David Brown, Frances Seymour and Leo Peskett: How do we achieve REDD co-benefits and avoid doing harm?, in: Angelsen, A., (ed.): Moving ahead with REDD: Issues, options and implications, CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia, 2008, pp. 107-118 (available at:

C: Lavanja Rajamani: Differentiation in the Post-2012 Climate Regime, 4 Policy Quarterly 4, 2008, pp. 48-51.

C: Juergen Lefevre: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading: A Background, in: M. Bothe and E. Rehbinder (eds.): Climate Change Policy, Eleven International Publishing, 2005, pp. 103-130.

C: Edith Brown Weiss: Climate Change, Intergenerational Equity, and International Law, in: Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, 2008, pp. 615-628.

C: Joyeeta Gupta: Good governance and climate change: Recommendations from a North-South perspective, in: Marjan Peeters and Kurt Deketelaere (eds.): EU Climate Change Policy: The Challenge of New Regulatory Initiatives, Edward Elgar, 2006, pp. 297-315.


C: Catherine Redgwell: International Regulation of Energy Activities, in M. Roggenkamp, C. Redgwell, A. Rønne, I. del Guayo (eds.): Energy Law in Europe: National, EU and International Law and Institutions, Oxford University Press, 2007, Chapter 2.

C: A. J. Bradbrook and R. D. Wahnschafft: International Law and Global Sustainable Energy Production and Consumption, in Bradbrook, Lyster, Ottinger and Xi (eds.): The Law of Energy for Sustainable Development, IUCN, Cambridge University Press, 2005, Chapter 11, pp.181-201.

C: H. Tegner Anker, B. Egelund Olsen and A. Rønne: Wind Energy and the Law: A Comparative Analysis, Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law, Vol. 27 No 3, May 2009, pp.145-178.

The support of electricity from renewable energy sources, EU Commission staff working document, SEC(2008)57, pp.1-17, available for free on or at:

The WTO and Energy: WTO Rules and Agreements of Relevance to the Energy Sector, ICTSD Programme on Trade and Environment, August 2007, available for free at:

UNEP Handbook for Drafting Laws on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resources (United Nations Environment Programme, 2007), pp. 25-46, available for free at:

Company Law

C: Beate Sjåfjell: Internalizing Externalities in EU Law: Why Neither Corporate Governance nor Corporate Social Responsibility Provides the Answers, in George Washington International Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 4.

Published Nov. 24, 2010 12:38 PM - Last modified Feb. 22, 2011 5:22 PM