Liao, Janet


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International Relations and Energy and Natural Resources (CP52008)

The main purpose of this module is to help the students to understand the international environments and the interaction between international relations (IR) and energy and natural resources industry. This module, together with The Politics of the Environment and Climate Change, is being introduced in order to provide an important political element to the LLM, MSc and MBA Programmes, in addition to their respective specializations.

There are two main elements involved in the module: one is a set of key IR theories (e.g. Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Geopolitics, etc.) and the other is a group of case-studies in relation to international relations and energy related disputes, such as Sino-Japanese dispute in the East China Sea, the Iran Nuclear Crisis, the EU energy security policy, the US energy policy, the Geopolitics and Central Asian natural resources, and Resources and African development. In each session, one of the theories will be introduced and be illustrated by a case-study, in order to help enhance students’ understanding of both the theory and the empirical case. The teaching is to be done interactively, and the students are strongly encouraged to participate in the 3-hour teaching session.

Certain group work tasks will be assigned to the students who attend the module, and they will be expected to report back to the class in the following session. This is aimed to help the students understand the key theoretical concepts, and to provide them an opportunity to share their own thinking and knowledge to their fellow students. This has been applied the first time in the teaching in 2007 and welcomed by the students in general. Some of the reading materials will be posted on the VLE by the course instructor, as they will not necessarily be available from the library.

The module will be taught at Semester 2.1 in eight sessions and the assessment comprises two elements: group presentation and dissemination (40%), and a 2,500-3,000-words research paper (60%).
The Political Economy of the Environment and Climate Change (CP52061)

This module is a Core component of CEPMLP’s new MSc in Climate Change Economics and Policy, whilst the students from MBA and LLM Programmes are also welcome. It attempts to address the politics of the environment and climate change in the context of global politics. The key issues under discussion include the core characteristics of climate change related problems, the theories that explain the climate change policy-making, the power and institutions behind the policy-making, and the implications of the policy pursued so far by the major economies.

This module employs the Two-Levels Game as the theoretical framework, to illustrate the international and domestic constraints that face the national government in dealing with climate change related issues. Meanwhile, it will introduce the global climate governance architecture (such as the Kyoto Regime and the Post-Kyoto Negotiations), as well as the policy concerns at national level of the major economies (including the EU (and the UK), the United States, China and Japan). It hopes to enhance students’ understanding of the political dimension of the environment and climate change governance.

The module will also be taught at Semester 2.1, and eight sessions will be conducted which cover both the global climate change governance, and the policy collaboration/conflicts of the major players in climate change. The reading materials will be made available either through the library system, or be posted on the VLE by the course instructor. There are two parts in the assessment: classroom presentation and dissemination (40%) and a 2,500-3,000-words research paper (60%).



Janet Xuanli Liao is Reder in International Relations and Energy security Studies, at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) of the University of Dundee. She obtained a PhD in International Relations from the University of Hong Kong. She also held B.A. and M.A. in History from Peking University, China, and studied M.A. in International Relations at the International University of Japan.

Her current research interests include think tanks and China’s foreign policy decision-making, China’s energy diplomacy (including China-Central Asia-Russia, China and Middle East, etc.), the relationship between Chinese NOCs and the government, Sino-Japanese political/energy relations (including the East China Sea dispute), China’s climate change policy, and climate change governance.

Dr Liao is the Director of the PhD Programme at the Division of Energy, Environment and Society, within the School of Humanity, Social Sciences and Law. She teaches two modules for Masters’ students. One is on “International Relations and Energy and Natural Resources”, and the other is on “The Political Economy of Environment and Climate Change”. Dr Liao has been invited to deliver presentations at numerous conferences and workshops organized by government think tanks, International Organizations and academic institutions. She was invited as Visiting Professor at the International University of Japan in 2011, and at the Xian Jiaotong University in 2017. She also served as visiting researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London), the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (Tokyo), and the Institute for Security & Development Policy (Sweden). Between 2008 and 2012, Dr Liao was appointed Honorary Professor at the China Institute of Boundary Studies, Wuhan University in China.



Dr Liao’s current research interests include China's foreign policy decision-making, China’s energy diplomacy (including China-Central Asia-Russia, China and Middle East, etc.), relationship between Chinese NOCs and the government, Sino-Japanese political/energy relations (including the East China Sea dispute), and China’s climate change policy and the global climate governance.

Dr Liao is the team leader of the ESRC-DFID sponsored project on "Chinese National Oil Companies and the Economic Development of African Oil Producers." It is a joint-project between the CEPMLP team and the Open University team, together with partners from China and African states. The research project amounted for nearly one million pounds and will last for three years from June 2016. We have so far held a number of team meetings and field trips in China, an have organized an advisory expert meeting at the Dundee of Dundee in April 2016.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • JZ International relations
  • SIno-Japanese Relations
  • Chinese Energy Diplomacy
  • Climate Change Politics
  • Think Tanks


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