International climate change and energy law

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
IUS/02 IUS/13
Learning objectives
To meet the sustainable development goals and respond to climate change challenges, the world is facing a major energy transition, from fossil fuels to greener sources of energy. The Course analyses the origin, achievements, and challenges of Public International Law responses to Climate Change. Furthermore, it examines selected international matters relating to the exploitation of energy sources, trade and investment in the energy sector, and their implications with regard to the respect of human rights and the protection of the environment. The course examines also the legal implications arising from the participation of the private sector in climate finance and in achieving the transformational shift to a low-carbon economy.
Through the Course, students will acquire an advanced knowledge of the UN Climate Change Regime, of its main institutional features and of its implementation challenges. The Course should provide an understanding of the interlinkages between the international regulation of climate change and energy with other areas of International Law (notably, the protection of human rights, trade, and investments).
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
- have an understanding of climate change and energy policies and their international legal regulation;
- have an advanced knowledge of the Climate Change Regime (1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 1997 Kyoto Protocol to UNFCCC; 2015 Paris Agreement to UNFCCC), its regulatory techniques and its implementation challenges;
- obtain a good knowledge of the main features of the legal instruments regulating carbon markets, climate finance, and sustainable investments;
- understand and evaluate critically legal issues regarding international energy governance, regulation of incentives to renewable energies, trade and investment in energy sources, access to energy, responsibility and liability of States and private actors with regard to energy matters (exploitation, transport, );
- understand the interlinkages among the Climate Change regime, the international energy legal instruments, and the notions of general international law and other sectoral regimes;
- acquire and use written and oral communication skills as regards the issues dealt with in the course and use them to build solid legal arguments using appropriate legal concepts and language.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester

Classes will be delivered in distance learning modality. They will be live-streamed on Microsoft Teams, following the lessons timetable. All classes will be recorded and will be available on the online platform until the end of the semester.

Students will be informed as soon as possible, through the ARIEL website of the Course, if there will be a possibility to attend in person some classes at the University premises. This possibility will depend upon the evolution of the emergency and related safety measures, and the needs and preferences of students. In this case, students willing to attend classes will be required to reserve their seat through the LezioniUnimi app ( Home > study > bachelor-and-master-study > following-your-programme-of-study >. Strict compliance with the COVID protocol (facemask-wearing, social distancing, hands disinfection, etc ) will be required in the classrooms and all the University premises. In any case, all classes will be live-streamed and recorded and will be available on the online platform, in order to meet the needs of those unable or unwilling to attend in person.

The course will alternate and combine lectures, seminars and presentations by students and will be tailored to match the learning necessities of students attending physically and remotely alike. Classes may require prior readings.

To cope with possible connection and/or time zone issues, simultaneous course attendance (i.e. connection on the platform at the scheduled time) will not be mandatory. However, the Course will be based on class interaction. Therefore, students are strongly advised to strive to be able to attend the online classes.

The course programme is unchanged. However, the specific contents of classes will adapt to the teaching methods outlined above.

Reference materials for each class will be adjusted to the distance learning modality and uploaded to the Ariel course website.


Assessment methods will not change, except that oral exam may take place by remote through distance learning platforms (Microsoft Teams for oral exams). Instructions will be posted on the ARIEL website of the course.
In case the possibility of exams in persons will be reinstated at the material time, students unable to be physically present will be offered an alternative method from distance.
Course syllabus
This course aims at understanding the multidimensional implications of climate change, from its origins to the Paris Agreement (2015) and beyond. The private sector plays a key role in achieving the transformational shift to a green economy, inter alia through market-based mechanisms and by developing and transferring new technologies. Hence the course examines the legal implications arising from the participation of the business sector, including mutually reinforcing combinations of public and private resources, in the achievement of climate change and sustainable development objectives. Another pillar of the course addresses selected international energy matters, such as the responsibility and liability regimes for oil spills, the legal challenges deriving from trade and investment in the energy sector and the development of renewable energies. The course adopts a critical approach to these very actual and cutting-hedge themes and requires an active participation in class, with a view to develop the students capacity to better understand and address today's challenges involving multiple jurisdictions and actors.
Prerequisites for admission
A basic knowledge of International law is preferable
Teaching methods
The course will alternate and combine lectures, seminar teaching and individual or team students' presentations
Teaching Resources
Reading materials will be provided for in class
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral Exam: 70% final exam + (Optional) oral presentation of a case study during the course (30%)
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Romanin Jacur Francesca