Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Global Energy Politics POLITIC4168

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The world faces a triple energy challenge - our reliance on fossil fuels is environmentally unsustainable; rapid economic development is resulting in steep increases in energy consumption; and both finite resources and major changes in our energy systems are giving rise to concerns about energy security. In this course we will examine the global politics of addressing this so-called 'energy trilemma', focusing on the dilemmas and trade-offs involved in addressing this challenge and the role of political power in efforts to preserve or transform key aspects of our national, regional and global energy systems.


This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





Briefing Report (30%) - 1500 words

Essay or Policy Report - student has a choice about the means of assessment (60%) - 3000 words

Participation (10%)


Adjustments and/or alternative modes of assessment will be available for students with disabilities that hinder attendance and/or public speaking.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No


Course Aims

This course has two central aims. First, it aims to help participants develop a working knowledge of global energy politics - how national energy systems are interlinked with each other and the complex political and policy challenges involved in ensuring secure, sustainable and affordable access to sufficient energy supplies for all. Participants will develop a working knowledge of the political economy of energy, and the role of frames and narratives in shaping energy politics and policy. Second, it provides participants with a framework for thinking both pragmatically and critically about the politics of energy. This will involve both the analysis of trade-offs, and how (geo-) political power operates in how energy is produced, transported and consumed around the globe.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate a working knowledge of the political economy and geography of different sources of energy, and how these have developed over time;

■ Apply relevant concepts and theories to analyse the complex interactions between political, economic, environmental and technical aspects of energy systems;

■ Interpret a range of quantitative and qualitative data and social research findings regarding national, regional and international energy systems;

■ Analyse the dilemmas and trade-offs involved in energy politics;

■ Critically evaluate the role of power in shaping energy policy and politics;

■ Advance reasoned, factually supported and critically aware arguments.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.