Spring 2024
IGA 455
January 22 - April 26
Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30PM - 2:45PM
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Environmental Politics: Persuasion, Advocacy and Negotiation


In this perilous moment in human history, the world desperately needs leaders with the courage, drive and hardball political skills to fight climate change and help restore the natural world. Environmental leaders must also recognize how marginalized communities suffer disproportionately from pollution and climate change. Leadership is difficult in any enterprise, but it is especially difficult for environmental leaders who face opponents with vastly more power and money. In this course, students will learn three core skills to build power and advance environmental goals:
Persuasion: Use persuasive speaking to inspire action. Build public support through print and digital media. Interpret scientific findings to a skeptical public. Advocacy: Build coalitions, mobilize activists, and lobby elected officials. Drive change through legislation, regulation and private markets. Negotiation: Understand the target point, reservation point, ZOPA, BATNA, interests vs. positions, creating value, and the role of relationships in negotiating complex, multi-party agreements.
Students will develop these skills through negotiation simulations, role plays and case studies – all grounded in academic research, real-world lessons from global environmental leaders, and the instructor’s 30 years of on the ground environmental leadership. The course will explore the perspectives of government officials, NGO activists, business leaders and indigenous people in environmental conflicts.The simulations will include the international climate diplomacy, negotiation of the Paris Climate Agreement, the protection of tropical rainforests in Indonesia, the fight for sacred indigenous lands in South America, and the battle over a toxic waste incinerator in an African American community in the United States. We will also draw lessons from the negotiation of an Energy Bill, and the passage of the Clean Air Act in the United States.
Recommended Prep: Students who have not taken a course in negotiation will be required to attend a half-day review session during the first week of class.

HKS Government
Harvard Kennedy School
Course Level
Interest Area
Law & Policy
Cross Registration