SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3F723968
Module Leader Mark Phillipson
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Civil Engineering and Environmental Management
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

This module provides students with a holistic understanding of the crisis posed to the environment and society by the impacts of climate change at both a global and local levels. Environmental professionals require a foundation understanding of the science relating to climate change highlighting the evidence base, key causes and impacts. This is necessary to help contextualise the problem within a challenging policy and governance arena within which the key strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation are framed. The syllabus will be tailored for the UK context in order to provide focus and enhance the relevance and applicability for students, but it retains international consideration and relevance. The module focuses on four strands: -360 1) to establish the evidence base and identification of key impacts focusing on physical sciences, climate modelling, the prediction of impacts, as well as the ability to handle uncertainty 2) to explore the evolution of global and local governance structures shaping climate change policy and reflecting on the challenges faced in achieving consensus 3) to review the options for climate change mitigation available through policy and technology 4) to review the strategies for adaptation in the urban and rural environments thus improving its resilience. These strands will be explored through a cross comparison of different sectors as well as regional/ country variations where relevant


Establishing the evidence base and impacts -360b7 The global carbon cycle and the science of climate change b7 Climate modelling and basic climatology Environmental Governance and Policy -360b7 Legislative drivers and target setting across different governance scales (UN, EU, national and local) b7 Consequences for climate justice Climate Change Mitigation -360b7 Transition towards a low carbon economy b7 Link between Climate Change and Energy Policy b7 Economics of Climate Change (cost of doing nothing, insurance etc) b7 Key sectors for reducing carbon emissions (built environment, transport, energy, agriculture and health) b7 Carbon management -360 o Fiscal policy o Tools at a micro level (carbon footprinting, energy auditing and demand management) o Carbon economics (trading, offsetting and accounting tools) Adaptation and Resilience -360b7 Key impacts of climate change on urban and rural environments (social, economic and environmental) b7 Resilience and Disaster Management -360 o Flooding and flood risk management, and prevention strategies (including SUDS) o Resilient cities (green infrastructure, urban heat island mitigation) o Disaster management

Learning Outcomes

On succesfull completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate knowledge of the global carbon cycle and physical science behind climate change2. Awareness of the role of climate modelling in the observation and prediction of future climate scenarios with a view to assessing likely impacts of climate change at global, national and local levels3. To recognise and contextualise broader debates about environmental governance and policy development related to climate change on a global, national and local level4. The ability to appraise the potential pathways towards a low carbon economy and the implications for different economic sectors (built environment, transport, energy, agriculture, manufacturing etc)5. Demonstrate understanding of the principles of carbon management, and to apply these as part of a context specific mitigation strategy6. Display understanding of the concept of resilience and adaptation and their application in both urban and rural contexts7. Understand the methods used to evaluate the risk of climate change through impact assessments and vulnerability assessments (linking to Flood Risk Management)8 Show the ability to develop and evaluate climate change adaptation strategies in both urban and rural contexts

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be cross disciplinary in its approach drawing on subject specialists from a range of fields (science, policy, engineering, social sciences). The key focus in the module relates to the context of the UK and this allows the team to focus on the particular challenges faced by the UK as it seeks to develop policy which promotes mitigation and adaption. This is a truly global problem and recognition will be provided to this throughout. The module will run for 12 weeks and is split into lectures and seminars with an emphasis on discussion and debate. Case studies form a significant part of this module and these will be used to help explore the practical implications of climate change in real world contexts. Labs/ tutorials will be provided to support the climate science and carbon management elements of the syllabus. This module is also supported by web-based materials (reading, slides, videos, web links), available via the GCUlearn interface.

Indicative Reading

Acevedo M., (2012) Data Analysis and Statistics for Geography, Environmental Science and Engineering. CRC Press, ISBN-13: 978-1439885017 Archer D, (2006) Global Warming, Blackwell Publishing (ISBN10 1405140399) Barnett R, (2005) Environmental Statistics: Methods and Application. John Wiley & Sons Barrat R, (2001) Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling, 1st Edition, Earthscan Publications, ISBN 1853836427 Barry R, Chorley R., (2003) Atmosphere, Weather and Climate, Routledge; 8th ed., ISBN-10: 0415271711 Brown A., Gawith M, Lonsdale K, and Pringle P (2011) Managing adaptation: linking theory and practice, UK Climate Impacts Programme, Oxford. Chiras DD, (2005) Environmental Science, Jones and Bartlett Publishers (ISBN10 0763708607) Dessler AE, (2012) Introduction to Modern Climate Change, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 978-1-107-00189-3 Emmanuel R. (2005) An Urban Approach to Climate Sensitive Buildings, London: E&FN Spon Press, ISBN: 978-0415334105 Hardy, J, T. (2003) Climate Change, Causes, Effects and Solutions, Wiley Publications, London. Helm D, (2005) Climate Change Policy, Oxford University Press Houghton J, (1997) Global Warming - the complete briefing, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press Jackson T, Begg K, Parkinson S, (2000) Flexibility in Climate Policy - making the Kyoto mechanisms work, Earthscan Kerr S, (ed.) 2000 Global Emissions Trading: issues for industrialised countries, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham ISBN 184064415 May PJ, (1996) Environmental Management and Governance: Intergovernmental Approaches to Hazards and Sustainability, Routledge (ISBN 0415144450) Mearns, Robin; Norton, Andrew (2010) Social Dimensions of Climate Change: Equity and Vulnerability in a Warming World, World Bank: Washington Wilson E, Gerard D, (2007) Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Blackwell Vanderheiden, S (2008) Atmospheric Justice: a political theory of climate change, Oxford University Press: Oxford [GCU electronic resource] von Storch H, Zwiers FW, (2002) Statistical Analysis in Climate Research. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 494 pp.

Transferrable Skills

-360b7 Written report skills b7 Appraisal and analysis b7 Critical thinking b7 Evaluation and synthesis of case study material b7 Use a logical approach in solving problems. b7 Be creative and innovative in problem solving. b7 Work with limited or contradictory information. b7 Discussing and debating skills b7 Manage time and other resources. b7 Work independently and in groups.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 6.00
Tutorials (FT) 14.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Practicals (FT) 4.00
Independent Learning (FT) 134.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% A case study report identifying potential impacts and suitable adaptation measures for a context
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Critical essay Reflecting Crabon Management and mitigation in response to Climate Change.