Study Abroad and Exchanges



GEO3132 : Climate Change Debate: Science, Politics and Public Views (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Anthropogenic global warming and climate change since 20th century is among the most discussed topics today, but abundant misleading information of the internet age and the disconnection of general public from highly specialised scientists have been leading to chaotic swings of trust and distrust. In order to re-establish the fragile balance between physical and emotional implications of the climate change, invisible barriers between physical and human geographers need to be removed with courage by understanding both aspects. As the first step to achieve this far-fetching goal, this module is designed to
-       Introduce basic scientific methodologies behind climate change investigations
-       Highlight the pitfalls and misuse of scientific and statistical data
-       Scientifically examine varieties of evidences discussed in the non-scientific community
-       Introduce the complex decision making process related to climate change policy.
-       Appreciate different views on the issues around climate change discussions.
-       Understand how general public perceive the scientific climate information.

Outline Of Syllabus

N.B. Not necessarily in the following order.

1. Debating Climate Science

The physical science of climate change

Scientific understanding of climate change
Spatial and temporal scales in climate change
Metaphors: hockey stick and tipping point
Climate Sceptics: misuse of science and statistics

Technology, adaptation and decision making

Geo-engineering and space technologies
Climate impacts on water, energy and food
Ecology and evolution
Known unknowns and unknown unknowns

Public understandings of science

Climate change and the media
Climate change in popular culture
The concept of danger in climate science and geopolitics

2. Debating climate change and development

Capitalism, climate change, development

The global problem of climate change
Climate action and finance (emissions trading and reduction, clean development, REDD, etc.)
Climate capitalism, green development
The concept of opportunity in business and government

NGOs, climate change and development

People not polar bears
Vulnerability and uneven development
Climate poverty, climate justice
Community-based adaptation
People’s resilience
Island states

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion62:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:00Included critical movie evaluation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Climate science exercises
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops61:006:00Formative assessments of debates
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1152:00152:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

In order to develop critical evaluation of climate discussions in the public, students need to learn basic knowledge of science as well as inter-personal communication skills. Debates are efficient methods to expose the limitation of knowledge and to develop inter-personal communication skills simultaneously. A completion of computer-based exercises of scientific knowledge without time-restriction will complement the debating exercises to establish further confidence in the fundamental knowledge that is needed to join more advanced discussions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502,000 words
Essay2M502,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In order to establish scientific background.

Essays test the students' ability to explore subjects in depth, demanding critical reading and writing skills and an ability to gather and synthesise material and to formulate a rigorous argument.

Reading Lists