Sustainability and Climate Change


Sustainability is a complex issue that must be dealt with in a multi-dimensional way, by scientific, political, economic, socio-cultural, moral and ethical approaches. Many environmental problems transcend national borders and require global solutions. In this context, this seminar has three main objectives: 1) To demonstrate the complexity of the concept of sustainability, showing the evolution of the concept, explore its different perspectives and their implications; 2) To explore the current major global sustainability challenges; 3) To be a space for students to do research on scientific bibliographic sources, to train the argumentation and debate of controversial topics without trivial solutions.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paula Inês Cosme Teixeira


Weekly - 2

Total - 210

Teaching language





Dauvergne, P. (2010). The Problem of Consumption. Global Environmental Politics, 10 (2): 1-10. Dryzek, J.S. (2012). The Politics of the Earth - Environmental Discourses. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. Hoff, H. (2011). Understanding the Nexus. Background Paper for the Bonn 2011 Conference: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm. Kidd, C.V. (1992). The Evolution of Sustainability. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 5(1): 1-26. Sneddon, C., Howarth, R.B., Norgaard, R.B. (2006). Sustainable development in a post-Brundtland world. Ecological Economics, 57: 253-268. Steffen, W., Richardson, K., Rockström, J. et al (2015). Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 37 (6223): 1259855. Urhammer, E., Røpke, I. (2013). Macroeconomic narratives in a world of crises: an analysis of stories about solving the system crisis. Ecological Economics 96: 62-70.

Teaching method

Various teaching methods are applied within the scope of expository methods and guided discovery learning.

Evaluation method

Evaluation method - Final essay (60%), In-class participation(40%)

Subject matter

1) Introduction to the seminar: program and evaluation 2) Brief history of the evolution of the concept of sustainability 3) Sustainability discourses and visions4) Global Sustainability Challenges I: Water-Food-Energy nexus 5) Global sustainability challenges II: Climate change 6) Debate I: Who has the greatest responsibility for action against climate change? 7) Global sustainability challenges III: Globalization, technology and consumption 8) Debate II: What should be the priority in short-term international political action? 9) Workshop: Integration of seminar concepts 10) Presentation and discussion of final essay projects


Programs where the course is taught: