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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Climate Change Measurement (online) (PGGE11220)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe primary aim of this course is to provide participants with high-level understanding of key environmental accounting techniques, specifically carbon footprinting and ecosystem service valuation. Key methodologies will be introduced during lectures and students will be required to demonstrate their understanding through applied assessments. This knowledge will prepare students for research and future careers in the areas of carbon accounting and environmental economics. This course also aims to prepare students for effective group work.
Course description This course focuses on the two main ways to measure climate change impacts:

Carbon Footprinting and Auditing: this course will discuss the history of footprinting and eco-labelling and the various schemes which exist internationally. Students will be introduced to the various footprinting and labelling methodologies and how consistency and reliability is maintained through auditing. This course will cover product and corporate carbon footprinting in detail. Students will come away from the course with specific skills in the calculative practices associated with carbon accounting.

Ecosystem services are defined as the benefits that humans received from nature. Flows of ecosystem services are likely to be strongly affected by climate change. This part of the course explores the ways in which ecosystem services and changes in levels of services can be valued, measured and monetized by society, across the spectrum from aesthetic to extractive values. Both theoretical and practical applications of ecosystem valuation are explored through case studies of policies and projects. Real-world examples of ecosystem services being valued are presented, and current policy responses are examined including payments for ecosystem services projects, biodiversity offsets, certification schemes and REDD+. This part of the course encourages you to think creatively and critically about ecosystem services concepts and their use in varied valuation exercises.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework:
- Carbon Audit Report (50%)
- Ecosystem Services report (50%)

Assessment deadlines:

Carbon Audit Report (50%) - deadline Monday, week 5
Ecosystem Services report (50%) - deadline Monday, week 10
Feedback Written feedback on both summative assignments will be provided within 3 weeks of submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the range of measurement, calculation, reporting and auditing requirements, as well as the main drivers for carbon accounting, and have an appreciation for how they may change over time;
  2. Demonstrate an appreciation of the ethical questions raised by carbon accounting, and the risks associated with different accounting practices;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the role that ecosystems play in terms of underpinning critical services for human wellbeing;
  4. Develop the capacity to apply non-monetary and monetary assessment to various ecosystem services and learn to analyse the challenges to managing ecosystem services from an ecological, social and economic perspective; and,
  5. Work effectively in a group.
Learning Resources
World Resources Institute (WRI)/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (2004) The Greenhouse Gas
Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.

British Standards Institution (BSI) (2011) PAS2050:2011. Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services, British Standards Institution, London.

UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) The UK National Ecosystem Assessment Technical Report. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge.

WBCD (2011): Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Services Valuation. World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of this course, students should be able to:
- critically evaluate carbon accounting and ecosystem services statements;
- critically evaluate alternative approaches to carbon accounting and ecosystem services
- cooperate with others from different professional, educational and cultural backgrounds to produce group analysis and information relevant to academia, businesses and policy makers
KeywordsCarbon Footprinting,Ecosystem Valuation,Carbon Labelling,Greenhouse Gas Emissions,Carbon Account
Course organiserDr James Paterson
Course secretaryMs Heather Penman
Tel: (0131 6)50
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