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Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Climate Change and Development

Course Code:
P524
Unit value:

About this Module

This module provides a multi-disciplinary understanding of climate change processes and of their direct and indirect interactions with development. It describes the main climate change processes, scenarios and vulnerabilities, and international and national policy responses. Different sectors’ contributions and sensitivities to climate change (and to mitigation and adaptation responses) are identified, with their implications for policies and outcomes for different economies and for people’s livelihoods within them.

To give prospective students an idea of what to expect from CeDEP's electronic courseware, an example unit has been placed online. Some navigational functionality has been disabled, but all textual and multimedia content appears as it would in a complete module.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the module students will be able

  • to understand the relationships between climate change and development, in particular the major impacts of climate change on development
  • to understand processes and factors affecting the potential impacts and effectiveness of different policy responses to climate change, particularly with regard to their impacts on development
  • to develop independently their understanding of the points above with regard to specific issues in which they have particular interests
  • to apply this understanding to inform policy analysis, design and implementation tasks
  • to update, maintain and develop their understanding of climate change and development as climate science understandings, climate change, policies, and related social conditions change.

Scope and syllabus

This is an introductory module in that it cannot hope to cover all the physical, biological, economic, social and political issues in depth. It aims to provide students with a basic multi-disciplinary understanding of core issues and processes and their interactions with development and with poverty and poverty reduction. 

The module includes:

  • climate science to provide an understanding of the main natural processes involved in climate change, of the main factors affecting it, and of the likely nature and extent of future climate change (and of the basis and uncertainties involved in climate change predictions).
  • the main issues affecting climate change policies and policy processes. This builds on scientific understanding (as above) to identify (a) major policy goals, (b) major difficulties inherent in both the political economy processes and technical policy formulation, and (c) ways forward to address those difficulties.
  • climate change interactions with particular sectors with regard to (a) their contribution to climate change, (b) potential mitigation of contributions, (c) their sensitivity to climate change, and (d) potential adaptation to climate change.
  • implications of climate change and responses for development policies and outcomes for poor people with different livelihoods in different parts of the world.

The module pays attention to issues in both ‘developed’ and ‘emerging’ economies as well as in poor developing economies. Those concerned about climate change and development in poorer economies need to understand how mitigation and adaptation policies in developed economies affect poor people globally in terms not only of their more ‘direct’ impacts (eg on global emissions) but also, and very importantly, in terms of their ‘indirect’ impacts on market and other livelihood / economic opportunities and constrains affecting individuals, communities, national and regional economies. 

An emphasis on development and poverty is also highly relevant to those with more exclusive developed country interests, as global integration means that problems in poorer countries affect richer countries (for example through global climate / ocean processes, through policy demands from emerging economies, through migration pressures). There are also major ethical issues regarding developed economy emissions, national mitigation and adaptation policies, and negotiations in international and regional fora. 

Students will be best equipped to respond to the changing science and environmental and social/ political/economic contexts of climate change by an education in integrative core processes. Learning about these core processes is contextualised with relevant applied explanations and illustrations/ cases.