Climate change and development


This module provides a multi-disciplinary understanding of climate change processes and of their direct and indirect interactions with development.

It describes the main climate change processes, scenarios and vulnerabilities, and international and national policy responses. Different sectors’ contributions and sensitivities to climate change (and to mitigation and adaptation responses) are identified, with their implications for policies and outcomes for different economies and for people’s livelihoods within them.

This is an introductory postgraduate module. It aims to provide students with a basic multi-disciplinary understanding of core issues and processes, and their interactions with development and with poverty and poverty reduction.

Topics covered

  • Climate Change and Development Challenges and brief policy history
  • Concepts and responses to climate change problems
  • Climate Science
  • Climate Change Impacts and Ways Forward for Development
  • Policy Challenges and Ethics
  • Economics and policy implications
  • Mitigation Policies and Development
  • Adaptation Policies in Development
  • Impacts and adaptation in Agriculture, Engery and Transport.
  • Impacts in Industry, Water and Settlements
  • Mitigation and Adaption in Industry, Water and Settlements
  • Disasters, Health and Lifestyle.

Learning outcomes

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Detail and assess critically the relationships between climate change and development, in particular the major impacts of climate change on development and of development on climate change.
  • Review critically processes and factors affecting the potential impacts and effectiveness of different policy responses to climate change, particularly with regard to their impacts on development.
  • Develop independently their understanding of the points above with regard to specific issues in which they have particular interests.
  • Apply this understanding to policy analysis, design and implementation tasks.
  • Update and develop their critical understanding of climate change and development as climate science understanding, climate change, policies and related social conditions change, and maintain this understanding through knowledge and critical appreciation of key data and other information sources.


  • a two-hour written examination worth 50%
  • a 3000-word examined assignment worth 40%
  • seminar participation worth 10%.

Essential reading

A sample of essential reading:

  • Tanner, T. & Horn-Phathanothai, L. (2014) Climate Change and Development. Oxon, Routledge.
  • IPCC. (2013) Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K.
  • Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp.