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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Climate Policy and Investment (CMSE11487)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course aims to explore climate change policy at local, national, and international levels. This will include briefly examining the science of climate change; the connection between GHG emissions, climate impacts and the real economy; the theory underpinning the policy response to climate change on mitigation and adaptation; the principal policy and regulatory tools currently in use; as well as the principal connections between policy and the investment environment needed to meet long-term climate goals. The course will also introduce students to the writing of 'policy briefs' - a critical tool and skill set needed for professionals working with the policy community.
Course description Academic Description

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the principal concepts upon which climate change policy is based. It will look at how the dominant theoretical approach used to understand climate change problem (i.e. as global common pool resources challenge) influences the framing of the policy problem as well as the type of frameworks and policy instruments used. The course will explore the connection between economy, society and greenhouse gas emissions to give students the knowledge and skills needed identify across all sectors how emissions can be reduced and resiliency increased. Finally, the course will focus on the connection between the policy choices made - and the investment environment that drives both the demand for investment and supply of capital across climate related infrastructure and economic value chains.

The course develops the key concepts, critical understanding and hard skills for identifying what policy solutions are appropriate across countries, sectors and technologies as well as between mitigation and adaptation goals. Students will develop their abilities to construct convincing and precise arguments through a policy brief writing exercise that will take place in two stages across the course. Students will be provided with examples and applied case studies.

The course will run in parallel to the Fundamentals of Project Finance and Carbon Accounting courses in the first half of Semester 1. It will complement these courses by providing the knowledge of fundamental concepts around climate change and the policy response. It will also provide insights and critical understanding that will then be built upon in the second half of Semester 1 in the Carbon Pricing and International Climate Finance courses that will each in turn go into more detail on specific areas of public policy, investment and finance. The course will also provide background knowledge that will be used in Semester 2, particularly in the Climate Change & Investment course.

Outline Content

1. Overview of the science of climate change
2. The connection between climate change and the real economy (both causes and impacts)
3. Introduction to climate policy, or the management of open access common pool resources
4. The types of policy mechanisms used to address climate change
5. Climate Change and the international policy response (UNFCCC, international negotiations, the Paris Agreement)
6. Climate Change policy at the national level
7. The scale of investment challenge and the need for both public and private investment and finance
8. Climate change policy and the investment environment

Student Learning Experience

The course will be taught through weekly lectures and will generally include a case study, group exercise or other interactive discussion component. The course will also include a small number of guest speakers, to provide useful real-world insights alongside the more theoretical aspects of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 1 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 83 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay (Individual) 100% - Assesses LO1, LO2, LO3
Feedback The Course Organiser will provide formative verbal feedback to the students each week during course sessions, based on the weekly in-class exercises or discussions. The course may include a small number of short quizzes to ensure student comprehension of key concepts and the literature. Detailed feedback will be given on the policy brief exercise.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain and critically evaluate the current state of climate change science and key climate change policy initiatives, discussing the relationship between climate change science, policy and economics.
  2. Analyse the international climate change framework, and discuss the relationship between international agreements and regional, national and local action.
  3. Analyse the relationships between climate change policy and the climate-related finance and investment environment.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List

Sprinz, Detlef F. 2009. 'Long-Term Environmental Policy: Definition, Knowledge, Future Research'. Global Environmental Politics 9 (3): 1-8. https://doi.orSg/10.1162/glep.2009.9.3.1.

Hovi, Jon, Detlef F. Sprinz, and Arild Underdal. 2009. 'Implementing Long-Term Climate Policy: Time Inconsistency, Domestic Politics, International Anarchy'. Global Environmental Politics 9 (3): 20-39.

Stern, N. (2007) The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at:

IPCC (2013) IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Available at:

NCE. 'Better Growth, Better Climate'. The Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate, 2014.

OECD (2017) Investing In Climate, Investing In Growth.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should have:
- A critical understanding of the connection between climate change, the economy and the need for public policy
- The relative strengths and weaknesses of different climate policy instruments for mitigation and adaptation
- A critical understanding of the underpinning of climate change policy at different levels of governance
- Detailed knowledge of the connection between public policy and investment environments in relation to climate change.

Practice: Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Identify and assess the key issues surrounding a policy challenge and the pathway to achieve a given policy outcome
- Critically evaluate the policy challenges in a given jurisdictional context.
- Develop clear and convincing arguments communicated through a concise policy brief.

Cognitive Skills
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Critically evaluate climate change and environmental science and policy issues
- Think analytically about the financial and strategic implications of climate policy for economic actors
- Critically evaluate alternative policy approaches to climate change and environmental issues, and conceptualise key strategic considerations.

Subject Specific Skills:
After completing this course, students should be able to:
-Analyse new developments in climate change science and policy, and evaluate the implications for economic and governmental actor
- Explain the source and nature of uncertainties in climate change science, and wider environmental implications
- Identify the implications for climate policy and comprehend, speak and write the language of climate change and environmental science and policy.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Communicate technical, conceptual and critical information clearly and concisely.
- Write clear and precise policy recommendations.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with Others
After completing this course, students should be able to:
- Structure and manage their own time to produce a clear policy brief.
- Take on board external feedback on their policy brief and integrate this into a revised final version.
- Cooperate with others from different professional, educational and cultural backgrounds.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Ian Cochran
Tel: (0131 6)50 9295
Course secretaryMs Rhiannon Pilkington
Tel: (0131 6)50 8072
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