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ACE8049 : Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jeremy Robert Franks
  • Lecturer: Mr John Gowing, Dr Julia Cooper
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module examines the implications of global warming on global farming systems, and considers possible adaptation and mitigation strategies for farming systems worldwide. It aims to:

* Provide an overview of the science of global warming and its impacts on climate change.
* Discuss and review predicted future global climates.
* Review global, European and UK greenhouse gas (GHG) policies on climate change (including the Kyoto Protocol, and subsequent meetings and agreements).
* Review the potential impacts the predicted climates on UK adaptation and mitigation policies and strategies.
* Extend the analysis of potential impacts around the world using case studies.
* To introduce life-cycle analysis and examine its importance in systems based approach to mitigating GHG emissions from farming and the food chain.
* To consider the role of natural carbon sequestration reducing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

Outline Of Syllabus

The lectures are structured to enable students to submit a written assignment covering possible adaptation and mitigation strategies that could be used to reduce and response to climate change in a country or region chosen by each student.

Lt 1. The science of global warming and climate change.(Note, each lecture/seminar/computer class is 2 hours).

Lt 2. Kyoto Protocol. Its principles, aims and achievements of this "cap and trade" agreement. Subsequent global, European and UK agreements on mitigating GHG emissions.

Lt 3. Presenting future UK climates: coping with uncertainty.

Lt 4. Student workshop. Working in groups, students will be asked to construct a power point presentation showing the predicted climate in a country/region of the world.

Lt 5. Student presentation. The groups will present their powerpoint presentations, showing future climates in selected countries/regions.

Lt 6. On-farm adaptation strategies for UK farms

Lt 7. Sources of GHG from the UK, and the contribution of farming to those emissions. UK GHG mitigation policy, and its implications for the UK's agriculture sector. Consideration of possible on-farm mitigation strategies to deliver these mitigation targets, and selecting between mitigation options using a Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC).

Lt 8. GHG footprint of conventional and organic farming systems.

Lt 9. Phenology: impact of climate change on wildlife populations due to changing synchronicity of lifecycle events.

Lt 10. An introduction to life-cycle analysis, and its importance in farming and food systems analysis: the case of biofuels.

Lt 11. Computer class to allow students to calculate their own "carbon" footprint using specific on-line calculators.

Lt 12. Carbon sequestration. The role of natural carbon cycles, technologies and markets for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Lt 13. Computer class to allow students to use on-line "carbon" calculators to calculate the carbon footprint of an organic and a conventionally farmed farm.

Lt 14. The "demand side". The importance of diet and mechanisms for influencing consumers' food consumption.

Lt 15. Student presentations. Students will make a presentation based on their extended essay. They will have chosen a country or region, and will establish the predicted climate for that area. In addition, students will outline (with examples) possible adaptation and mitigation strategies for a selected crop/livestock species, and consider the barriers to the uptake of these options and strategies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion14:004:00Preparation for student presentation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Time required to complete the computer based exercises
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation for individual presentation based on the student's asessed extended essay.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching110:0010:00Students assessed presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Use of on-line computer tools to calculate individual and farm carbon footprints
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study116:0016:00follow up lecture material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0021:00research and reading beyond the taught material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used to combine science, policy and land use in ways that convey the complex web of human-nature interactions which students will have to be able to integrate into a coherent system in order to obtain the necessary understanding of the many likely ramifications of global warming on climate systems and on farming and food systems.

Lectures allow the opportunity to emphasis the importance of adopting a systems approach to understand the complex issues involved in estimating global warming and in designing mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The computer sessions give students hands-on opportunities to test subject specific and key skills, and engage in real-to-life problem solving behaviour. This will give students a practical understanding of the business impacts of adopting alternative farm management adaptation and mitigation actions.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M70Students write an essay on a topic of their own choice: it must show a combination of 'science, policy and action'. (2500 words)
Computer assessment2M10Students are asked to calculate and compare their carbon footprint for the previous 12 months as estimated by on-line calculators.
Computer assessment2M10Students are asked to compute the carbon footprint of a farm using two on-line calculators and to critically analyse the results.
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Students are required to make an oral presentation based on their chosen essay topic
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assignment will allow students to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the interactions between science, policy and action through submitting a written essay and by making an oral presentations based on that essay.

Assessments will also text their understanding of life-cycle assessment and mitigation options available by estimating carbon footprints, establishing the need to adopt a systems approach to understand the wide-ranging impacts global heating may have on farming and food systems. It will examine the ability of students to connect information across the natural and social sciences, and their ability to assess the likely outcome of policy initiatives under specific circumstances.

The computer class is designed to assess the student’s use and understanding of software used to measure nutrient management and the carbon foot- and hoof-print of a farm business. These models will become increasingly used across all businesses –not just farming and food businesses-in the coming years and so equip students with commercially valuable skills.

Reading Lists