Climate Change and Urban Policy Choices

A course given in master GETEC in Sciences Po.

2 hours per week, for 12 weeks

Image credit: [Pixabay](
Image credit: Pixabay
Table of Contents

Objective of the course

It is far from trivial for urban decision-makers to account for climate concerns in their decisions. First, the effectiveness of potential urban environmental policies is difficult to assess. The ways urban policies may impact GHG emissions or our vulnerability to climate change are numerous and complex. Various urban policies may interact, leading to synergies or trade-offs which are not always clearly understood. Second, climate action does not happen in a vacuum, but in a political context with pre-existing issues, social tensions, and policy objectives. The main objective of this course is therefore double:

  • To understand the main challenges that metropolitan regions are facing in relation to climate change
  • How to critically assess the potential responses to these challenges.

Program overview

There are 12 sessions, grouped into 4 themes:

  • Climate change impacts on cities (3 sessions)
  • Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in cities (3 sessions)
  • Implementing climate policies (3 sessions)
  • Cross-cutting issues (3 sessions)

Courses in this program

General references

For more information, here are the main reference documents (difficult to read in their entirety, but useful to look for specific questions) :


Are there prerequisites?

A good understanding of the physical mechanisms behind climate change, the origin of greenhouse gases emissions, and the main consequences of climate changes, is required.

Here are a few ideas of websites with basic information on climate change (many other exist) :

If you are in France, it is worth trying to participate to a Fresque du climat event. It is also worth watching this introductory lecture by Valérie Masson Delmotte to the convention citoyenne du climat [in French].