Climate Policy, Justice and Society

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Climate Policy, Justice and Society

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    Atmospheric Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
    Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
    Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
    Non-modular pre-requisites:
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2016/7

    Summary module description:
    This module is about the politics of justice in global climate governance. This involves exploring the policy debates and literature on distributive justice and climate regime with a view to highlighting areas of key development and research.. In addition the module will also attempt to make sense of international climate change governance, but with particular attention to the politics of interstate climate negotiations between the developed and developing countries.

    The module aims to explore the various dimensions of climate change to establish why it is one of the most complex challenges facing humanity. It will trace the evolution of the global climate governance arrangements focusing on the United Nationals Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and explore the politics between the developed and developing countries. The module will examine the various domains of justice implicated in climate change, the different interpretations of justice invoked in climate bargaining and their respective roles in global climate governance.

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    On completion of this module it is expected that a student will be able to:
    Describe the history of international climate agreements and the politics that shaped their evolution,
    Critically analyse the innovations in governance that have characterised the global climate change regime as it sought to respond to and manged key complexities, political imperatives and competing interests,
    Critically evaluate the various dimensions of justice involved in the cliamte regime and their respective roles in climate policy development,
    Critically evaluate the theories and policy approaches to climate governance and international development,
    Demonstrate research skills and a critical engagement with literature.

    Additional outcomes:
    The module also aims to encourage the development of skills of critical reading and oral communication. This will be achieved through students individual reading, research and contribution to seminars.

    Outline content:
    1. Introduction to the study of climate politics and justice: module overview
    2. climate change as a 'super wicked' problem
    3. The politics of climate science and the IPCC
    4. Climate governance at international level
    5. The politics of international climate negotiations
    6. Climate justice and inequality
    7. UK climate policy
    8. Transnational climate governance : NGOs and climate movements
    9. Business, industry and climate change: is corporate social responsibility an oxymoron?
    10. Climate policy: implications for society.
    Global context:
    Climate change is arguably one of the most complex environment-development problems that the global community has to contend with. The precise magnitude of future climate changes and the consequences of these changes are uncertain. The causes and effects are global in nature, therefore the entire global community needs to be engaged in the search for credible solutions. Climate change causing activities are ubiquitous and deeply embedded in everyday living (including breathing), so there are no quick fixes. The impacts of climate change are severe and long-term so delay in action has far reaching consequences. And crucially, there are wide differences in the contributions of different countries to climate change, and their abilities to cope with climate impact. Climate change challenges business-as-usual politics and poses intractable problems for long-standing approaches to economic management, regulation, commerce, ethics, and international co-operation. It is not surprising therefore that the effort to deal with climate change has has thrown up questions about the nature and ethical basis of international political institutions in ways that have never been faced.

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    The module will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and video material.

    Contact hours:
    Lectures 30
    Guided independent study 170
    Total hours by term 200

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written exam 80
    Practical skills assessment 20

    Other information on summative assessment:
    Formative assessment methods:

    Length of examination:
    One and a half hours.

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Coursework and an examination

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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