GY427      Half Unit
Climate Change: Science, Economics and Policy

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr James Rising


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change. This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation and Master of Public Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. Priority will be given to students on the MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change followed by students on the MSc in Environment and Development and MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation. Students on the MPA will only be offered a place if spaces are available. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator.

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 summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.1
Merit 38.7
Pass 36
Fail 8.1

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2017/18: 87

Average class size 2017/18: 14

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Lecture capture used 2017/18: 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

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 69%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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