• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Resource Management and Environmental Science, Policy Studies

Global environmental change, and particularly climate change, as a result of human activities is now generally accepted as reality. ‘Global warming’ is the term currently used to describe a wide range of climatic processes and impacts in the global system that are affected by anthropogenic activities.


This course provides an introduction to climate change science, impacts and policy implications. The fundamentals are provided in an overview of climate change science, focussing on the atmospheric processes that drive climatic variability and change, and the roles of the terrestrial biosphere and the oceans in the global carbon cycle. The likely impacts of global warming on ecosystems and human activities are also considered, including biodiversity, system buffering and resilience, and regional inequality and vulnerability. Finally, possible response strategies are investigated, focussing on international environmental treaties, international and Australian policy approaches to global warming, and management and adaptation strategies.


Practical work and tutorials are directed towards an understanding of the carbon intensity of energy use, and science-policy interaction in the area of climate change.


Contributors to the course may include staff of the Fenner School of Environment and Society, the Research School of Biology, the Research School of Earth Sciences, the College of Asia and the Pacific, the College of Arts and Social Sciences, the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, the Faculties of Law and Engineering, and representatives of various government departments, industry and business groups and research organisations.


Honours Pathway Option

Subject to the approval of the course convenor; students taking this option must attend a series of tutorials to discuss analyses of specific reading material, in the context of the science-policy interaction theme of the course.  Each student will prepare a 500-word briefing paper for and facilitate discussion at one tutorial; this will account for 10% of overall assessment (the class tests will count 20%).  All other assessment and requirements remain the same. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. evaluate current understandings of the science of climate change, including future climate scenario development
2. evaluate information about current and future impacts of climate change on biophysical and social systems, and vulnerability to climate change
3. evaluate a range of response strategies to climate change, including international and Australian adaptation and mitigation policy approaches
4. debate future climate change policy, in the context of the international climate change negotiations. 

Other Information

Biennial course.  Not offered in 2014. Next offered in 2015

Indicative Assessment

Students who fail to submit work by the due date or fail to participate in classes, practicals and tutorials may be excluded from examination.  Assessment will be based on:

  • Three class tests (30%) (LO 1, 2, 3)
  • Practical report on a selected topic relevant to local climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies (30%) (LO 1, 2, 3)
  • Major report and debate focussing on issues of national interest and equity in international climate change policy negotiations (40%)  (LO 1, 2, 3, 4)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


65 contact hours, comprising lectures, practicals and workshops/tutorials; approximately 65 non-contact hours.  Offered 2011; next offered 2013.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 72 units towards a degree

Preliminary Reading

IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, eds Pachauri, RK and Reisinger, A., Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, 104 pp.
(see http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/contents.html)




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $1650
2004 $1926
2005 $2298
2006 $2520
2007 $2520
2008 $2916
2009 $2916
2010 $2916
2011 $2946
2012 $2946
2013 $2946
2014 $2946
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3390
2004 $3450
2005 $3450
2006 $3618
2007 $3618
2008 $3618
2009 $3618
2010 $3750
2011 $3756
2012 $3756
2013 $3756
2014 $3762
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3262 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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