GY427      Half Unit
Climate Change: Science, Economics and Policy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Simon Dietz


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change. This course is available on the 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 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.

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.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.

This course is delivered through interactive lectures across Michaelmas Term.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas.

Formative coursework

Students will carry out regular assignments.

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.



Take-home assessment (100%) in the period between MT and LT.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 21.7
Merit 35.5
Pass 37.3
Fail 5.4

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2019/20: 106

Average class size 2019/20: 18

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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