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Environmental Politics GV591 2016-17 Second Essay This essay is worth 50% of your final mark. Please submit your assignment as a doublespaced Word file, placing your name at the top of the document. The word limit for undergraduate and postgraduate (MA) students is 3,000 and 4,000 words, respectively. Longer documents will not be accepted. The essay should convey an understanding of the readings and contents covered in the module, and should show that the student can relate the material to external resources. The students are expected to provide accurate citations of external research sources at the end of their essay. To compile external references, please refer to the Harvard Reference Style: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/assets/harvard_quick_guide_tcm44-47797.pdf. Submission is done through FASER. The due date is December 21st at 9:45 am. Late submissions will yield a mark of zero. This is individual work: plagiarizing is an offense and will not be tolerated. Plagiarized work will be brought to scrutiny and could mean that the student will fail his/her degree. The following page lists a number of illustrative research questions that students may use to elaborate their essay. These are only suggestions: addressing a variation of a question is also acceptable. If a student wishes to deviate from these questions, s/he is encouraged to get in touch with the instructor at and discuss an alternative question. 1 GV591 Environmental Politics – Essay 2 Research Questions 1. A large literature in political science is interested in variations of democracy. This literature often debates what type of democracy is most effective to provide public goods such as environmental protection. For example, some people argue that representative democracy (e.g. based on parliaments) is more effective than participatory democracy (e.g. based on referenda), and vice versa. Discuss which type of democracy would be most effective to address a complex environmental challenge such as climate change. Then provide empirical evidence in support of your argument. 2. It is usually assumed that, like other liberal left-wing parties, green parties are interested in preserving the environment due to postmaterialist values centered on pro-globalization, integrationist ideologies. However, some say that green parties are often at odds with globalization and integration, as they would rather focus on regionalist and sometimes nationalist issues. Discuss your position on this debate and provide empirical evidence in support of your argument. 3. The Environmental Kutznets Curve (EKC) theory postulates an inverted U-shaped relationship between pollution and income. However, it is unclear if this relationship is explained by the progress of economic development of a society, or if it is explained by the democratic institutions that emerge as a society develops. Discuss your position on this debate and provide empirical evidence in support of your argument. 4. The Environmental Kutznets Curve (EKC) theory implies that when individuals reach a certain threshold of income, they will be more prone to care about environmental issues. This suggests that economic inequality may be conducive to more environmental degradation. However, some scholars argue that the demand for environmental protection does not increase with the poorer people in the society becoming richer, but with the tendency of people with higher income having higher preference for environmental quality. Discuss your position on this debate and provide empirical evidence in support of your argument.
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