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   Course Title    Environmental Policy
Lecturer    Polina Agakhaniants
Institution    St.Petersburg State Technological Institute
Country    Russia

Aim of the course

This course aims to introduce the policy problems in the environmental framework. The objectives of this course are as follows:

  • to give the students theoretical knowledge in environmental policy;
  • to study possibilities of policy approaches to solve environmental problems;
  • to analyze real environmental policy processes at global, regional and local levels;
  • to give students some practical skills in environmental policy approaches.

Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum

The course is intended for the 4th-year students majoring in environmental engineering. It aims to complement technical curriculum of the Department of Environmental Engineering and to give students a broader perspective of environmental sciences. This is the first time this discipline is given at the Department, it will be introduced since 2001/2002 academic year.

Methods used

  • Lectures;
  • Case-studies;
  • Team-work;
  • Presentations;
  • Written assignments: essays, book reviews, surveys;
  • Written exams.

Course content

Week 1. Lecture. Policy process.

Different uses of the word "policy". Policy and policy making: their role in a modern world. Policy cycle, stages in the policy process: agenda setting, policy formulation, policy legitimation, policy implementation, policy evaluation, policy change. Problems and conflicts arising at each stage. Public policy. Levels and types of public policy making. Policy analysis.

Week 2. Lecture. Environmental policy: basic concepts, history, current situation and future trends.

History of setting modern environmental agenda. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Club of Rome and Limits to Growth, Brundtland Report, Chernobyl, Rio Earth Summit, etc. Environmental policy in the context of the trends of the modern world: globalization, decentralisation, deregulation, and transition. Sustainable development and its paradigms. Local Agenda 21 movement.

Environment as a political problem. Conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Terminology. Environmental policy, its objectives and principles. Environmental Policy Cycle and political actors. Groups and political parties. Institutional provisions for the environmental policy-making. Role of legislative power, government as part of the political process, executive non-governmental environmental organizations, business, mass-media, international organizations and donors.

Week 3. Lecture. Environmental policy instruments.

Direct regulations (l environmental policy plans.

International financing institutions (World Bank, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Nordic Investment Bank, Nordic Environmental Financing Corporation, International Chamber of Commerce, Financial Instrument for the Environment). The role of IFIs in environmental policy. Establishing favorable conditions for the charity activities.

Week 4. Lecture. Ethics and the environment.

Environmental problems as behavioral problems. What is environmental ethics: norms and descriptions. The limits of science for the solution of environmental problems. Human ‘values, ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Human-centered ethics vs. non-human-centered ethics. A principle of inter-species equity. Different lifestyles, consumption patterns and their impact on the environment. Ecological footprints. From ethics to law.

Week 5. Discussion. Ethics, lifestyle and consumption patterns.

Which environmental ethics ought we to adopt? Students are proposed to discuss strengths and weaknesses of both anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric environmental ethics, and consequences they have for environmental policies. The role of education and other activities in creation a new ethics. Lifestyle and consumption pattern. Students are to compare different consumption patterns in Russia and abroad. Towards what lifestyle and consumption pattern Russia is going?

Week 6. Lecture. Public participation in environmental policy.

Formal and non-formal provisions for public participation. Public participation at different stages of the policy process. Public participation in development and enforcement of the state ecological policy. Advantages and disadvantages of public participation. Arnstein’s levels of public participation. Mechanisms of public participation. Aarhus Convention. Public participation in Russia: legal provisions, implementations and obstacles. Comparative study of public participation in the US and Russia. Criteria to assess public participation.

Assignment: Study of current situation with public participation in St.Petersburg. Students are to use recent publications newspapers and magazines to analyze current situation with public participation in St.Petersburg. They are to choose one case to illustrate the major actors, obstacles, incentives and perspectives of public participation.

Week 7. Seminar. Current situation with public participation in St.Petersburg.

Students are presenting their assignments and then there is a discussion. Introduction to SWOT-analysis and its application to the situation.

Week 8. Lecture. International and European environmental policy process (part 1).

International cooperation and partnership, international conventions. The 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit). Agenda 21.

'Environment for Europe' process: its structure. Ministerial meetings: Dobris, Lucern, Sofia, Aarhus, Kyiv. Dobris assessment.

European Union Environmental policy. Policy-making and law-making in EU, key treaties. Subsidiarity principle, sustainability principle. Evolution and the current state of EU environmental policy. Environmental Action Programmes. Baltic dimension in international environmental policy.

Week 9. Lecture. International and European environmental policy process (part 2).

Institutions and mechanisms: European Union, Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, European Environmental Agency, Committee on Environment Policies of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE), Task Force of the Environmental Action Programme for Central and Eastern Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Project Preparation Committee.

Financial instruments: European Investment Bank, Life, Phare and Tacis.

Week 10. Lecture. State environmental policy.

State environmental policy on Committee. Financial instruments: European Investment Bank, Life, Phare and Tacis.

Policy implementation examples: EU Habitats Directive, Natura 2000, European Community Biodiversity Strategy.

Discussion: Priorities for 'Environment for Europe' conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2003.

State environmental policy implementation and evaluation. State environmental control. Differentiation of the authority and responsibility between federal and regional authorities,local governments in control over nature resources use, condition and quality of environment.

Development and implementation of the federal, regional, local and other specific programs and action plans on environment protection. Evaluation of the environmental policy outcomes: environmental, social and economic results.

Week 11. Lecture. Company’s environmental policy (part 1)

Greening of business. Forces behind environmental management. Environmental performance indicators. Environmental accounting and auditing. Waste reduction audits or assessment. Environmental safety review. Reporting. Employee participation, trade unions. Management tools: life cycle assessment, cleaner technology, green products, eco-labeling.

Week 12. Lecture. Company’s environmental policy (part 2)

Adoption and disclosure of environmental policies of companies. Concept of ‘responsive regulation’. Environmental charters: Valdez principles, ICC Charter for sustainable development, the Chemical Industries Association responsible care program. Implementing and monitoring the policy.

Week 13. Workshop: Creating a corporate environmental policy statement.

Groups of students (4-5 persons) are given introductory information about specific companies. They are also given some examples of real policy statements. They are to work out corporate environmental policy statements, and to state major principles of environmental policy for the given company.

Week 14. Middle-term exam.

Week 15. Lecture. Environmental problems in political context. Introduction.

History of human societies and their environmental impacts. Visions of the future: basic optimistic and pessimistic models. Political aspects of resource use, land use and industry. Application of political instruments to nature use.

Week 16. Lecture. Environmental policy in energy sector.

Energy: the problems of today’s energy use, the global context, renewable energy. Energy and policy: production and consumption, negative impact of present energy systems, energy loss, self-sufficiency, state support, subsidies, financing, win-win solutions, good practices, energy saving technologies, raising the safety level of the nuclear power plants.

Seminar: discussion of the Kioto protocol process.

Week 17. Lecture. Environmental policy in agriculture.

Agriculture and its environmental aspects. Environmental policy in the field of agriculture. Modern trends in agriculture: privatisation, ecological farming, good agricultural practices (recycling of nutrients, pesticide-free agriculture, integrated crop and animal production, etc.). Incentives and mechanisms. Genetically modified organisms: international experience.

Week 18. Lecture. Wildlife and forests.

Wildlife and forests. Conservation of the diversity of landscapes and ecosystems, specially protected territory systems. Public policy towards fisheries. Forest certification. Forest biodiversity and conservation: different approaches. Comparative analysis of forest campaigns of IUCN, Greenpeace, and Taiga Rescue Network.

Week 19. Discussion: How to preserve a biodiversity?

Students are to apply their acquired knowledge to the problem of biodiversity conservation. They are proposed to answer the following questions: What is biodiversity and how to define it in legal terms? How to measure economic value of biodiversity? Is biodiversity presents a value from point of view of modern society’s ethics? What measures are needed to make a biodiversity an political, ethical and economic value?

Week 20. Lecture. Industry and the environment.

Solid wastes, toxic substances and hazardous wastes: problem formulation, criteria (material intensity per service, ecological rucksack), mobilization of materials, RRR (reduce, recycling, reuse). Principles of sustainable materials management. Case-study of materials and waste management strategies.

Group assignment: "Study of materials flows in St.Petersburg". Groups 4-5 students are given specific materials (glass, plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, rubber, etc.). They should investigate flows of these materials in St.Petersburg and make proposals how to organise and improve materials management.

Week 21. Seminar. Industry and the environment.

Presentation and discussion of results of group work. Discussion. Students are given new analysis tool "Problem and objective trees". Students are to apply this new tool to analyze the problem of materials management in St.Petersburg and its political aspects. They are to answer the questions: "What are the major reasons of mismanagement?" and "What should be done?"

Week 22. Lecture. Human environment.

Protection of the human health related to environmental conditions (providing for the safety of food, goods, water and air, preventing activities leading to dangerous environmental pollution, rehabilitating environmentally damaged territories and territories of ecological disasters). Providing for environmentally safe urban development.

Development, poverty and environment.

Week 23. Lecture. Environmental policy in Russia.

Changes in political system and transition to market economy: context for emerging environmental policy. The impact of the transition process on the environment. Dilemmas of transition. Setting political environmental agenda in Russia: the past and the present. Major stake-holders: Parliament legislative activity, governmental policy, regions, municipalities. Sustainable development in Russia. Comparative analysis of the environmental policy and its institutional provision in the USA and Russia.

Group assignment: priorities of national environmental policy in Russia.

Week 24. Seminar. Environmental policy in Russia.

Week 25. Lecture. Environmental policy and public relations.

Public opinion and policy agendas. Methods to investigate and affect public opinion. Political manipulation and the presentation of policy. Raising public awareness in environmental issues. Mass-media and environment. Case-studies of the ‘green’ public campaigns: Greenpeace Forest campaign, anti-nuclear referendum in Russia.

Week 26. Seminar. Environmental policy and public relations.

Issue attention cycle: the case of the environment.

Week 27. Lecture. Environmental movements.

New social movements in context of environmental movement. Environmental movements, "green" parties and NGOs. Lobbying, advocacy, grass-root groups. International environmental movements and organisations: Greenpeace, WWF, IUCN, EarstFirst!. Russian environmental movements and organisations: Social-Ecological Union, Green Cross, KEDR, Rainbow Keepers.

Week 30. Final exam.


A. Mandatory

Meadows D.H. et al. 1972. The limits to growth (A report for the Club of Rome). Moscow.

Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Environmental Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (signed in June 1998, Aarhus, Denmark)

Guseva, T.V. et al. 1998. How to establish a dialogue with public? Moscow.

Kenworthy, L. 1995. How to persuade entraditional ‘command-and-control’ measures, bans, licensing). Private law. Financial and economic instruments (charges, subsidies). Social regulations (education, information, voluntary agreements). Democratic legitimation, access to information. Environmental impact assessment. Public participation. Economic mechanisms (taxation, economic incentives, environmental insurance, licensing system, eco-audit of enterprises). Financial mechanisms (funding for environmental activities, green investments, environmental and economic results gained from environmental management programs at the enterprises)

Choice of instruments.

Environmental policy instruments at different levels: World Conservation Strategy. Nation fit analysis.

Natural resources. Sustainable materials management.

Water. Water pollution.


Written assignment: book review. Students may choose between one of the reports to the Club of Rome, ‘’ by and . nt programs at the enterprises).

instruments at different levels. 10 () and Rio+10 meeting (2002)

groups of students (4-5 persons) are to analyze specific directions of Russian environmental policy (energy, nuclear wastes, forestry, environmental control, biodiversity, human health, etc.). Each group is given a package of documents on the topic. They are to reveal main tendencies for the last 5-10 years and make critical analysis of these trends.6’s7Groups of students (4-5 persons) are to apply the concept of issue attention cycle to different environmental problems. Each group is given a specific problem: radioactive pollution, dioxins, genetically modified organisms, etc. They are also to propose how to raise public awareness in specific environmental fields and what can be done towards this detection in St.Petersburg.

Summarizing lecture Federation Discussion:

Students are given hand-outs with documents on Kyoto Protocol. They are asked to divide into two groups. One group is asked to prepare argumentation for Protocol implementation, the other arguments against the Protocol. The discussion is facilitated by the lecturer.

Environmental assessment in countries in transition. Ed. by E. Bellinger et al. CEU Press, 2000.

. 1992. R. Gray, J. Bebbington, D. Walters. Accounting for the environment. Paul Chapman Publishing, 1993.

T. Tietenberg. Environmental economics and policy. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1998.

Ed. by A. Elisarov and I. Smeliansky.

C. Park. Environment. Principles and application. Routledge, 1997.

Methods of environmental impact assessment. Ed. by P.Morris, R. Therrivel. UCL Press, 2000.

enterprises to diminish their wastes. Manual for citizens. Moscow.

Khotuliova, M.V. et al. 1996. How to organize public environmental review. Recommendations for public organisations. Moscow.

Environmental information in Russia. Samara, 1998.

Vinichenko, V.N. et al. 1998. Environmental information and principles of work with it. Moscow.

B. Recommended


2000, the Committee decided to implement a program on environmental monitoring.

Consumption Patterns

Phase-out of Leaded Petrol

Economic Instruments

Environmental Monitoring

Policy Integration

Energy Conservation  

Public Participation

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