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Unit information: Climate Emergency in 2021/22

Unit name Climate Emergency
Unit code SPOL30074
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Oscar Berglund
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Addressing the Climate Emergency will get students to grapple with the greatest challenge of our time. After setting out the basic science and the scale of the climate emergency, the unit will proceed to address the political economy of climate change. It will then discuss climate justice as a concept and practice. This will be followed by studying the International Public Policy of climate change and some the actors involved, such as the IPCC. Lastly, the unit will look at how the climate emergency is being contested by social movements and the strategies adopted by these movements.


  • To understand the scale of the climate emergency and climate justice
  • To explore the political economic context of climate change and the obstacles to action
  • To understand how climate change is being addressed, both through political institutions and through protest

Ultimately the unit aims to let students explore how they can contribute to addressing the climate emergency.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe and analyse climate change denialism.
  2. Critically assess how different people, groups, institutions and countries contribute to and are affected by the climate emergency.
  3. Critically evaluate the systemic obstacles to action on climate change
  4. Identify actors seeking to address climate change and evaluate their contribution to addressing the climate emergency.

Teaching Information

This unit will draw on a blended learning approach. Students will engage with asynchronous taught content (including, for example, narrated slides and other teaching and research materials) and will be tasked to complete activities in preparation for synchronous sessions to present and discuss ideas and clarify learning.

Assessment Information

Part 1: Leaflet (600-1,000 words) 25% - Assesses ILOs 1-2

Part 2: Essay (2,000 words) 75% - Assesses ILOs 3-4


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOL30074).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.