Climate Policy, Justice and Society
University of Reading
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits6
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units8
Hours & Credits
Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Coursework and an examination
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