Course information

With the following video clip we want to welcome you and briefly inform you on the course. More detailed information is available in the text below.

(click on the image to start the video)

Course aims
In this course you will focus on how the governance of climate change is itself changing, and becoming more ‘polycentric’ over time. Climate change can be viewed as a global scale collective action problem. For many years, attempts were made to develop a binding global approach to address climate change through international negotiations.  For example, this led to the Kyoto Protocol between national governments in 1997. However, it is increasingly clear that the problem of climate change needs to be addressed in multiple ways, not only by national governments, but also by many other actors including subnational governments, companies, and civil society. This has led to a dispersion of activity and authority among multiple governing authorities, which is what we refer to as 'polycentric governance'.

After this course you will be able to:
-Describe polycentric climate governance with the use of five core propositions.
- Give reasons for viewing climate change through a polycentric governance lens in order to describe current climate actions, to explain changes in climate policies and to support your opinion on the current governance of climate change.
- Critically analyse climate actions within a polycentric setting, such as the cap-and-trade system in Tokyo.

Study load
The study load for this course is 5-8 hours.
This is a short version of the MOOC that will run in September-November 2018 that will cover the full book.

Structure and content
This short course consist of 7 elements: orientation to the course, introduction of climate governance, introduction of polycentric governance, introduction of Elinor Ostrom’s perspective, the first chapter of the textbook on polycentric climate governance, an exercise on a climate action in Tokyo and to conclude an self-test.

Education platform Youlearn
This is an online self-study course, you can find all the course material including the textbook under the heading ‘Course’. The material that you can download is also available under ‘Resources’. Navigation within the course is through the headings and subsections and clicking on ‘next’ to continue. The youlearn platform is also available in Dutch, change the settings into English when you see the words such as ‘volgende’ instead of ‘next’. The site remembers your position and you can continue when you return to the site. You can now start with the course by going to the section ‘Course’.

This course is designed for self-study. If you have any questions, you can contact James Patterson by sending an e-mail to
The course material is developed by Judith Floor, Dave Huitema, James Patterson and Perry Pintar at the Open University in Heerlen, Netherlands, noting that it was funded by the COST Action INOGOV (IS1309) (

Examples of experiences of students
Watch the following videos for a short impression how previous students have experienced the course.
(Click on the image to start the video).



(Link naar Studieaanbod ...)