International Climate Change Law & Policy
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Alison Mawhinney
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 that contribute to developing the global response to climate change.
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 decisions from annual UN climate negotiations will form the backbone of this module. 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.
This module will examine the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the implications of that treaty in context. Topics covered may 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, development, 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; International environmental law and climate change; climate change-related litigation; the regulation of geoengineering; enforcement issues
BU Marking Criteria for B- to B+ (60-69%) in the Regulations for Taught Programmes: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/regulations/regulations/reg01.php.en
BU Marking Criteria for C- to C+ (50-59%) in the Regulations for Taught Programmes: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/regulations/regulations/reg01.php.en
BU Marking Criteria for A- to A* (70%+) in the Regulations for Taught Programmes: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/regulations/regulations/reg01.php.en
Critically analyse and evaluate the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement and parallel associated legal frameworks and processes that contribute to the global response to climate change
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.
Develop a sophisticated critical analysis of key concepts and processes such as climate change mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, the UNFCCC negotiations, and parallel legal frameworks and processes.
Develop the ability to communicate informed opinions and ideas on climate change to both experts and non-experts alike through written and spoken expression.
Critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the Framework Convention on Climate Change as an effective response to climate change.
Students will be required to produce an essay that critically analyses a topic within the field of international climate change law and policy.
Students will be required to produce a newspaper-style article which explains complex terms and issues in international climate change law and policy to a non-expert audience.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Private study either alone or within study groups - students will be given significant direction and advice by module leader with respect to private study topics and objectives.
The module will consist of 5 x 2 hour seminar teaching blocks and 4 x 3 hour seminar teaching blocks to allow appropriate additional time for discussion, debate and activity on key topics. Essential preparatory readings and materials will be notified to students in advance of seminars. For each seminar, students will be expected to have prepared essential reading together with any special assignments given for that particular class. The instructor will consolidate initial foundational understandings acquired from preparatory study with lecturing and explanation of complex issues of theory, law and practice and will also contextualise topics by using real life examples and case studies. Audiovisual materials may be used to enhance the learning experience. Students will be expected to be able to engage in dialogue and discussion about substantive issues for each seminar, and be actively engaged in activities that will enhance their understanding.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- write sustained critical expositions of any given area of the legal subjects studied and present the findings clearly, logically and coherently;
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 and consideration will be given to the cost of the textbook when decisions about recommending such a book are made.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/sxl-4052.html
Climate change law modules are frequently focused on the laws that apply to a particular jurisdiction (US, UK, EU) and the available textbooks largely mirror this emphasis. The module proposed for instruction in Bangor University is quite an innovative treatment of the topic. As such, no single textbook covers all aspects of the topics proposed for inclusion on this module. However, given the globally diverse student body that applies for the LL.M programme at Bangor Law School, and given the focus of the LL.M programmes as a whole on the international sphere, the international (as opposed to region-specific) focus of this proposed climate change module is appropriate. If an appropriate textbook becomes available at any time, it will be considered for recommendation as a core text.
Recommended reading lists will be drawn up and revised annually from sources available to students via Bangor University’s Library Catalogue and publicly available authoritative sources (such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reports).
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- M1AF: LLM International Commercial and Business Law year 1 (LLM/ICBL)
- M1AT: LLM International Criminal Law & Intl Human Rights Law year 1 (LLM/ICLHR)
- M1AO: LLM International Intellectual Property Law year 1 (LLM/IIPL)
- M1AI: LLM International Law year 1 (LLM/IL)
- M1AC: LLM Laws year 1 (LLM/LAW)
- M1AM: LLM Law and Criminology year 1 (LLM/LC)
- M1AR: LLM Maritime Law year 1 (LLM/MLAW)
- L3BE: MA Criminology and Law year 1 (MA/CAL)