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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Understanding the Climate Crisis (fusion online) (EFIE11146)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute 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 Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will provide students with a high-level understanding of climate change, its key impacts, and the risks at global, regional, and local scales. It will discuss how these impacts can and are being mitigated and adapted to around the world. The course is designed so that students with little or no previous expertise in environmental sciences will gain a baseline knowledge to integrate into their chosen area of study.
Course description Our planet's climate is changing due to a range of drivers and forces, predominantly human-made. This change is happening quickly and is one of humanity's greatest challenges. Climate change is already affecting every region across the globe, with human influence on the climate contributing to biodiversity loss, observed changes in weather, extreme events, and overconsumption of the planet's material and natural resources. Climate change is also impacting on human health and human settlements (both urban and rural). To begin to tackle this wicked problem, it is important to first understand the mechanisms which drive it.

This course will examine the hazards, vulnerabilities, capacities, and limits of the natural world and human societies in relation to climate change, and the need for both mitigation and adaptation. It will introduce the complexities of implementing mitigation and adaptation solutions to address the climate crisis at a range of scales - from individual businesses and communities to international policy. Students will learn from climate experts and the latest international reports to gain a clearer understanding of climate change. Through case studies and reports, students will also gain a global perspective and discuss the impacts of the climate crisis from the perspectives of gender, race, indigenous communities and class. By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss the intersections of the climate crisis and their chosen programme of study.

The course will provide an overview of how the global climate system operates, addressing questions such as:

- What are the drivers of climate change?
- How do we know climate change is happening?
- How do scientists predict possible climate futures?
- What societal and environmental impacts are of greatest concerns?
- How can information about climate change be communicated to a range of audiences?

Throughout the semester students will take part in scheduled in-class and online discussions and activities. These are designed to help students tackle some of the more challenging topics and provide a space to discuss and debate key concepts.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 12, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 84 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 2
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Formative feedback will be via individual (online) quizzes with sets of questions though out the course to test their understanding of the course material. This will not require revision beyond exposure to the learning and lecture materials.

Summative feedback will be given on the final assessments, as detailed above. This will be via written summary of how the student met the assessment criteria, as well as a marked matrix for the assessment criteria.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principal drivers of climate change and possible climate futures.
  2. Apply knowledge and understanding of projected climate change impacts, risks and resilience - at global, national, and local scales - to their chosen field of study (e.g. Planetary Health, Sustainable Lands and Cities, Circular Economy).
  3. Critique policies on greenhouse gas control and the connections to climate change policies at global and national scales.
  4. Convey, formally and informally, information about climate change to a range of audiences (knowledge exchange).
Reading List
Essential Reading:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2022). AR6 Synthesis Report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group 1 (2021). Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policy Makers.

Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences (2020). Climate Change Evidence and Causes.

Selected chapters from: IPCC (2018). Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C

Corner, A. et al (2020) Engaging the public on climate risks and adaptation: A briefing for UK communicators. Oxford: Climate Outreach.

Recommended/Further Reading (depending on student's main topic of study):

IPCC (2020). Climate change and land: Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.

Siders, AR. (2019) Adaptive capacity to climate change: A synthesis of concepts, methods, and findings in a fragmented field. WIREs Climate Change. 10:e573. []

Robinson, M., Shine, T. Achieving a climate justice pathway to 1.5 °C. Nature Climate Change. Vol. 8, 564 - 569 (2018).

Zhenmin, L., Espinosa, P. (2019). Tackling climate change to accelerate sustainable development. Nature Climate Change. Vol. 9, 494-496

Nalau, J. et al (2015). Is adaptation a local responsibility? Environmental Science & Policy, Vol. 48

Xiaoxu W., et al (2016). Impact of climate change on human infectious diseases: Empirical evidence and human adaptation, Environment International. Vol. 86: 14 - 23.

Kelman, I. (2017). Linking disaster risk reduction, climate change, and the sustainable development goals. Disaster Prevention and Management. Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 254 - 258.

Maarten K. et al (2008). Community level adaptation to climate change: The potential role of participatory community risk assessment, Global Environmental Change, Vol. 18, Issue 1.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

- Develop knowledge analysis skills through readings, lectures, and the production of the assessments (SCQF 1)
- Use skills in interdisciplinary analysis, drawing upon different empirical sources, analytical perspectives and sub-disciplines within climate change studies (SCQF 3)
- Develop generic and cognitive skills through the generation of responses to real world climate problems (SCQF 4)
- Develop high level skills in communication and representation of knowledge across different forms (SCQF 4)
- Learn how to apply their knowledge to the design and completion of a project (SCQF 2)
KeywordsEFI,Level 11,Shared Core,Interdisciplinary,PG,Climate,Climate Crisis
Course organiserMs Toni Freitas
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
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