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Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Climate Change and Ecological Footprinting

Course summary

Course code: ENVI1132
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Course Coordinator(s): Linda Nicolaides / Peter Burt



The aims of this course are to:

• provide an understanding of the concept of climate change, its underlying processes and implications;
• allow students to gain understanding and appreciation of uncertainties in climate change forecasting, and the implications of these;
• provide knowledge of the technological processes contributing to climate change and ways in which such change can be mitigated;
• allow students to reflect upon sustainability of the supply chain – food mile or fair miles;
• critically assess the business of carbon trading and the global food chain, and,
• provide an understanding of the role of food miles and their impacts on climate change processes.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully a student will be able to:

1 reflect on the significance of current thinking underlying climate change processes, the uncertainties and the understanding behind them;
2 reflect on the implications of future climate change scenarios, and their uncertainties, for the natural and social environments;
3 apply the knowledge required to calculate carbon footprints and reflect on the implications of these;
4 critically assess the range of alternative technologies and approaches available to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (and other substances invoked in climate change processes) and, consequently, carbon footprints;
5 evaluate integrated ecosystems as indicators for supply chain sustainability;
6 formulate and implement innovative action plans for mitigating climate change.

Indicative content

• Definitions and concepts of climate change;
• Overview of the history of climate change , in geological and human history;
• Evidence for current climate change, and future climate change scenarios;
• The role of industry and anthropogenic processes in contributing to climate change;
• ‘Green’ technology, its problems and approaches;
• The impact that climate change will have on the global food chain;
• Methodologies used to calculate cost of food production and food miles;
• Ecological value added by applying an integrated ecosystem as an indicator for sustainability;
• Food product environmental impact.

Teaching and learning activity

• Lectures on the theoretical topics covering the subject matter, including study materials and case studies;
• Seminars and interactive sessions exploring issues of climate change and food miles;
• Practical activities based upon case studies;
• Visits to food local food producers and processors.


Essay -50% weighting, 50% pass mark.
Essay addressing topical issues of climate change and ecological Footprinting impacts. 3,000 words. Learning outcomes 2, 3 & 5.

Examination - 50% weighting, 50% pass mark.
Essays; problem questions (decision-making) - 2 hours. Learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 & 6.

Students are not required to pass all components in order to pass the course.

Formative Assessment - In-class discussion of case study material and issues arising from lectures