Visions and Values in Politics

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Assessment Task Two – Major Essay

Research and write a fully referenced argumentative essay on one of the following topics:
1. ‘From Stockholm to the Rio Earth Summit and then to Rio + 20, Earth summitry has been
an abject failure. There is nothing to be achieved from yet another summit’. Critically
evaluate this claim.
2. ‘The ecological crisis transcends class and wealth divisions’. Critically evaluate this claim.
3. Given the difficulty of reaching binding agreements in the international multilateral
climate change negotiations, should some other framework for emissions reductions be
developed, such as a ‘unilateral agreement between the biggest emitting countries?
4. Critically evaluate the fairness and effectiveness of any one of the following: (a)
international carbon trading; (b) the Clean Development Mechanism; (c) voluntary carbon
markets; or (d) REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation).
5. ‘An emissions trading scheme is a better policy instrument than a carbon tax in tackling
climate change.’ Critically evaluate this claim.
6. Does the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) ensure that Australia will reduce
Are national greenhouse gas emissions commensurate with our international obligations?
7. ‘The precautionary principle is too risk-averse to guide environmental policymaking. It
should be abandoned in favor of cost-benefit analysis based on sound science.’ Critically
evaluate this claim.
8. Should ecological security replace sustainable development as the organizing principle of
global environmental governance?
9. ‘Framing environmental problems as a security risk is itself a risky business.’ Critically
evaluate this statement.
10. Will the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement prevent dangerous global warming? In your
response, develop a framework for measuring the effectiveness of international climate
agreements that takes into account both emissions reductions and global justice perspectives.
11. Does the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement mean that it
will be ineffective for reducing global emissions?
12. ‘The system of sovereign states has proved that it is incapable of addressing the ecological
crisis. We need a new architecture of global environmental governance.’ Critically evaluate
this claim.
13. ‘The failures of environmental multilateralism demonstrate the need for a World
Environment Organisation.’ Critically evaluate this claim.

Your essay must include:

▪ Your name and student number – not included in the word count
▪ The essay topic you are writing on stated clearly on the first page – not included
in the word count
▪ An introductory paragraph that outlines the research question your essay answers,
why this is an important question to ask, and a brief summary of your overall
argument
▪ At least three major arguments that draw upon the resources you have consulted.
▪ A concluding paragraph or paragraphs that bring together the main strains of your
argument into a clearly stated overall answer to the essay question.
▪ A correctly formatted reference list containing at least 20 academic sources that
you have cited to formulate your argument.

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