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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Law of Climate Change (LAWS11301)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis module explores the law concerning climate change with particular focus on its sources, principles and processes. It critically questions the role of law in enabling humanity's responses to such a unique global challenge.

This is an area of regulation that has developed most influentially in the realm of public international law in the form of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol, as well as the 2015 Paris Agreement. More than twenty years since the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992, the international legal regime of climate change has branched off into numerous issue areas and related processes for the implementation of climate change mitigation (reducing greenhouse gasses emissions) and adaptation measures.

At the same time, this 'international climate change regime' interacts with other issues areas of public international law (e.g. human rights and international trade regulation), as well as with regional (primarily under European Union law), national and sub-national regimes.

Throughout the module, you will critically debate the rationales for past and current regulatory approaches under the international climate change regime. You will also learn how the interactions with other regimes can favour or hamper progress in climate change action from states and other actors, including individuals.

Law of Climate Change is avowedly inter-disciplinary, drawing on insights from economics, ethics, international relations theory and the physical sciences. A feature of this course is its close relationship to fundamental research that is undertaken across the University.
Course description Week 1: The international climate change regime and its sources
Week 2: UNFCCC & the Kyoto Protocol: principles and institutions
Week 3: The Conference of the Parties decisions and the roadmap to Paris 2015
Week 4: The 2015 Paris Agreement
Week 5: Legal aspects of climate finance
Week 6: The 'climate & trade' nexus
Week 7: Climate change ligation and human rights
Week 8: Geoengineering & carbon capture and storage
Week 9: The European Union's climate change regime
Week 10: Integrating approaches to climate change regulation and the role of national laws
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the online learning team at
Additional Costs Students must have regular and reliable access to the internet
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of up to 4,000 words (60%); one individual assignment (20%); portfolio of contributions made to weekly online discussions throughout the semester (20%).

Requirements for all course assessments will be outlined to students within the individual courses at the start of each semester.
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to obtain formative feedback over the course of the semester. The feedback provided will assist students in their preparation for the summative assessment.

Details of the School's feedback policy will be available at the start of the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Construct a comprehensive knowledge of the sources, processes and key issues of the international climate change regime, including its current negotiations
  2. Develop a critical understanding of principles and foundational obligations of the international climate change regime
  3. Draw critical linkages between the law as a tool for addressing climate change and other relevant disciplines
  4. Understand the complex relationships between emerging climate change mitigation technologies their regulation
  5. Build a coherent vision of the interactions between the international climate change regime and other regimes under international, regional and national laws
Reading List
A detailed list of key resources will be available at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop their skills and abilities in:

1. Research and enquiry, through e.g. selecting and deploying appropriate research techniques;
2. Personal and intellectual autonomy, e.g. developing the ability to independently assess the relevance and importance of primary and secondary sources;
3. Communication, e.g. skills in summarising and communicating information and ideas effectively in written form;
4. Personal effectiveness, e.g. working constructively as a member of an online community;
5. Students will also develop their technical/practical skills, throughout the course, e.g. in articulating, evidencing and sustaining a line of argument, and engaging in a convincing critique of another's arguments.
Special Arrangements This course is taught by online learning.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online learning.
KeywordsClimate change,international law,carbon mitigation,climate change adaptation
Course organiserMr David Rossati
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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