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Module SXL-4052:
Int. Climate Change Law & Pol.

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Tara Smith

Overall aims and purpose

Through this module students will gain a thorough understanding of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and associated parallel legal frameworks and policies at the international level.

The framework of laws that govern global approaches to climate change are complex, and yet they are becoming more and more relevant to many diverse sectors of the economy and society. Moreover the environment, human rights, development and humanitarian relief agendas more generally are also all affected by annual decisions that are made under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The purpose of this module is to develop students’ capacity to interpret, apply and advise upon international law associated with climate change in a variety of different professional settings with confidence and authority.

The three legally binding instruments - the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement - and annual UN climate negotiations will form the backbone of this module. The module is run in Semester 2 each year to ensure that students learn from the most up-to-date state of play as agreed upon at the Conference of Parties held the previous December. The successes and failures of negotiations such as those that took place in Copenhagen in 2009 and Paris in 2015 will be discussed throughout the module. By the end of the course, students will have a deep and sophisticated understanding of international climate change law and policy that is highly valued and sought-after in the global marketplace.

The module aims to be responsive to the requirements of students from a variety of legal and non-legal backgrounds.

Course content

This module will examine the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the implications of that treaty in context. Topics covered will include: sustainable development and the origins of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; Evidence-based law-making and the science driving international climate change policy responses; Climate change mitigation from Kyoto to Paris and beyond; Climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction & humanitarian relief; Loss and damage associated with the negative effects of climate change Human rights, migration and climate change; Intergenerational equity & climate justice; Climate change, conflict and security; National implementation of the UN framework Convention on Climate Change laws; International environmental law and climate change; Enforcement issues

Assessment Criteria

good

Displays accomplished ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing good quality skills to conduct research. Good work in this module will demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at, or informed by thinking at, the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student's own research. It shows an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where, appropriate, propose hypotheses.

threshold

Displays ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing appropriate skills to conduct research. Work at threshold quality demonstrates an adequate knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, some of which is informed by thinking at the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a developing understanding of techniques applicable to the student's own research. It shows an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced by the work indicates that the student can evaluate scholarship in the field.

excellent

Displays mastery of a complex and specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing advanced skills to conduct research. Excellent work in this module will contain the qualities recognized in good work, but will show them in a more consistent way, and at all points. It will demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at the forefront of this academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student's own research or to advanced scholarship. It shows throughout an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can critically evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline, and do so in a consistent manner. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where, appropriate, propose hypotheses.

Learning outcomes

  1. Critically analyse and evaluate the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and parallel associated legal frameworks and processes.

  2. Apply advanced research skills and methods to evaluate relevant primary and secondary sources, applying them in a focused and balanced way and using correct research methodology.

  3. Develop a sophisticated critical analysis of key concepts and processes such as climate change mitigation, adaptation, finance, loss and damage, UNFCCC negotiations, parallel legal frameworks and processes.

  4. Develop the ability to communicate informed opinions and ideas on climate change to both experts and non-experts alike through written and spoken expression.

  5. Critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the Framework Convention on Climate Change as an effective response to climate change.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 75
Newspaper-style Article 25

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 180
Lecture

The module will consist of 10 x 2 hour teaching blocks. Essential preparatory readings will be notified to students in advance of class. For each session, students will be expected to have prepared essential reading together with any special assignments given for that particular class. Most of the readings that are set will come from sources available in the Library Catalogue. The instructor will consolidate that initial foundational understanding with lecturing and explanation of complex issues of theory, law and practice and contextualise the teaching in discussions using real life examples from the UN climate negotiations. Audio-visual materials may be used to enhance the learning experience both in class and in the students own independent learning time. Students will be expected to be able to engage in dialogue about substantive issues for each class, and be actively engaged in class activities. Depending on numbers in the class, presentations or group work may also be incorporated as teaching strategies.

20

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • demonstrate the ability to work with others in a team to achieve reasoned, critical, comparative perspectives upon legal questions.
  • present reasoned, critical, comparative responses to the views of others on legal subjects within a Welsh, United Kingdom, European and/or global context;
  • present to others from a specialist or non-specialist background, reasoned, critical, comparative presentations relating to legal subjects within a Welsh, United Kingdom, European and/or global context;
  • Students will acquire an understanding of advanced legal theories and jurisprudence concerning the development of Public Procurement Law at Global, European Union and national levels (UK and Ireland)
  • Students will acquire critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, informed by the latest academic literature, legislation and case law.
  • Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of basic principles, advanced level theories and explore the many traditional and contemporary challenges in International Law. They will receive a balanced education in the relevant law, theory, politics and practice.
  • write sustained critical expositions of any given area of the legal subjects studied and present the findings clearly, logically and coherently;
  • Students will be taught through a range of methods, balancing theory and practice, and aiming at developing critical thinkers able to respond to the intellectual and professional challenges facing contemporary International Lawyers.
  • Students will develop to become critical thinkers able to respond to the intellectual and professional challenges facing contemporary international lawyers.

Resources

Resource implications for students

No financial outlay is envisaged at present. If a suitable core textbook becomes available, students will be recommended to purchase that.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: