Climate Affairs

Subject 625-634 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2 hour lecture and one 2 hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Professor Ian Simmonds
Subject Overview:

This subject is highly relevant to one of the most important environmental issues facing the world today. It will cover the basics of climate science, including climate change and climate variability, extremes, and climate prediction, followed by an analysis of climate impacts on society, ecosystems and economies. What we need to know about the climate system in order to make sound decisions, and how we know, will be analysed. The rationale of climate policy and law at the national level (eg National Greenhouse Strategy) and international level (e.g., UN conventions) will be discussed. The relevance to societies, people and the environment will be covered under the umbrella topic of climate ethics, including issues such as potential winners and losers from climate change, intergenerational equity and instruments of protection. The subject will include team based activities and projects.

Planned Learning Outcomes are:

  • Understand climate as a complex system;
  • Describe components and causes;
  • An appreciation of how we know;
  • Ability to critique climate change papers in journals such as Scientific American, New Scientist and Nature;
  • Ability to describe fundamentals of Greenhouse effect and enhanced Greenhouse effect;
  • Ability to judge media reports;
  • Ability to analyse the chain of uncertainty and formulate scenarios;
  • Broad understanding of impacts;
  • Understanding of philosophy, ethics and the international issues of climate change;
  • Ability to appreciate different cultural styles and their solution preferences;
  • Capacity to debate policy options;
  • Knowledge of where and how to source information

Practical work and team based activities will be key parts of the subject and the assessment process.

Assessment is expected to be based approximately on the following:

  • Review paper (2500 words) and presentation in class 25%
  • Team project (output delivered in class) 40%
  • Practical assignment(s) 35%
Prescribed Texts: To be advised.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: This subject should develop the following generic skills:
  • The ability to describe an earth system (the climate system) in scientific terms;
  • Reasoning and decision making using uncertain (probabilistic) information;
  • The capacity to analyse climate-related national and international policy and treaties, and their relevance to societies, people and the environment; and
  • Ability to apply underpinning knowledge and scientific reasoning to environmental problem solving, including collaborative problem solving, and to environmental negotiation.
Links to further information:

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