GY427      Half Unit
Climate Change: Science, Economics and Policy

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Simon Dietz


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change. This course is available on the MSc in Environment and Development and MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

A comprehensive guide to the issue of climate change, from fundamental concepts in climate science, through estimating the future impacts of climate change on economies and societies, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by using economic instruments such as carbon trading. Interdisciplinary, but with an emphasis on economic analysis, albeit taught in a non-technical style.


22 hours of lectures and 7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will write one essay (unassessed), on which they will receive written feedback. The essay serves as a mock exam, there is no word limit, but students should time themselves to write it in 50 minutes.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be provided to support each course component.

The following texts will be particularly useful:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014). Climate Change 2014: Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Maslin, M. (2008). Global Warming: a Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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



Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.6
Merit 37.3
Pass 41.1
Fail 7

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2015/16: 69

Average class size 2015/16: 17

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills