LAWS0002 Climate Change, Law and Politics









Course Code LAWS0002  
Course Title Climate Change, Law and Politics
Class Date 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 August 2022  
Class Time 9:00am – 11:30am
Teaching Mode Online with live lessons 
Teacher Professor Benoit MAYER

Associate Professor
Faculty of Law
The Chinese University of Hong Kong



  More about Prof. Benoit MAYER:

  1. Benoit MAYER
  2. Hong Kong Lawyer – Professor Benoit Mayer Receives 2019 Young Scholar Prize from the International & Comparative Law Quarterly
Medium of Instruction English
Course Description What is climate change, how does it affect us, and what can we do about it? This module provides an overview of a looming civilizational crisis and possible responses to it. It follows an interdisciplinary perspective, involving in particular climate science, economics, ethics, psychology, laws, and politics. It involves active learning methods such as simulations of negotiations and/or litigation.
Course Content The following is subject to adjustments depending on teaching time and on the size of the class.

Session Lecture themes Tutorial exercises
  • Climate change
  • Climate law
  • The experience of Hong Kong and China
  • Quiz: What do you know about climate change
  • Debate: How to tackle climate change?
  • Quiz 1 (on session 1)
  • Customary international law
  • Analysis of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
  • Debate: What does customary international law mean to climate change?
  • Presentation of the moot court exercise (session 6)
  • From Rio to Paris: International climate agreements on climate change mitigation
  • Analysis of the interests of key players
  • Debate: What does “common but differentiated responsibilities” mean?
  • Quiz 2 (on sessions 2-3)
  • Implementing climate change mitigation: flexibility, support and geoengineering
  • Analysis of the pros and cons of carbon trading.
  • Debate: Is carbon capture and storage the solution to climate change?
  • Adaptation and loss and damage
  • Litigation
  • Analysis of adaptation action in different parts of the world
  • Analysis of selected judgments



  • Quiz 3 (on sessions 4 and 5)
  • Revisions
  • Moot court
  • Debate on individual roles and responsibilities
Learning Outcomes After completing this course, students should be able to:

  1. Better understanding of climate change and efforts to address it
  2. Understanding of law as a social construct and a political compromise
  3. Analytical and communication skills
  4.  Independent learning skills
Recommended Reading(s) / Reference(s) Benoit Mayer, The International Law on Climate Change (Cambridge University Press, 2018) (extracts)


Some other materials will be distributed, including primary documents (treaties, cases) and secondary literature.


Course Assessment In-class participation* (50%)

Quiz 1 (10%)

Quiz 2 (10%)

Quiz 3 (30%)


* Based on participation by students during the class, including but not limited to participation exercises. To facilitate assessment, students will be seated according to a class map.

  Last updated on 2 August 2022