• Class Number 7572
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr James Mortensen
    • Dr James Mortensen
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

Climate change is one of the most defining - and contested - issues of the 21st century. While catastrophic weather events such as fires, cyclones, and droughts increasingly tax state capacity, the political, economic and social consequences pose potentially grave risks for state stability and global order. This course examines climate change and environmental security from a national security lens, examining the potential for conflict, confrontation and cooperation. Students will closely examine the securitisation and politicisation of climate change issues, the flow on effects for national security, and policy options for adaptation. Scholars and policy practitioners from NSC, the Crawford School and the wider policy community will provide deep insights into the science, economics and policy of climate change and environmental security.  Throughout, this course examines the challenges faced by scientists, security scholars, and practitioners to influence policy in the post-truth age.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific basis of climate change and its main drivers including anthropogenic factors
  2. Analyse the potential impacts of climate change for national security along a range of political, economic, social and ecological lines
  3. Explain the transformation in energy systems that will be required to mitigate climate change.
  4. Compare national security strategies, governance mechanisms and policy options in relation to climate change and environmental security
  5. Develop and communicate ideas, analysis and argument related to climate and environmental security for scholarly and professional audiences.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 What are we talking about? Climate and security
2 Natural disasters
3 Water, and the lack thereof
4 Fire, heat and smoke
5 Australia’s oceans Short Essay due end of week 5
6 Fragility, finance and security
7 Hotspots and flashpoints – global issues
8 Strategy, the military, and the environment
9 Scarcity and excess
10 Emissions; diplomacy Research essays due end of week 10
11 Systematics and risk– the future of climate
12 The future role of government Final assessment due in exam period (14/11)

Tutorial Registration

Not Required

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short Essay 20 % 29/08/2021 08/09/2021 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Research Essay 50 % 17/10/2021 03/11/2021 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
FInal Assessment 30 % 14/11/2021 02/12/2021 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There are no participation requirements for this course

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 29/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 08/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Short Essay

Due: Week 5

Length: 1,200 - 1,500

Weighting: 20%

You will choose one question from a list distributed in week one. Each question will pertain to environmental issues facing Australia covered in the first five weeks. Use of course readings is encouraged, however please note that as per the marking rubric, to achieve the highest possible result, students will need to demonstrate initiative through engagement with wider sources. Like the first assessment, evidence of systemic thinking is required, however unlike the first assessment, this paper will also be marked on engagement with the specific subject matter, and is required to be written in referenced, essay format.


Students may request permission to do a question of their own choosing, however it will be subject to approval. While the questions (and course material) largely focus on Australia, students may instead focus on another country if they choose; in this case, they should make themselves known to the convenor.




Is constructed in a way that enhances the argument made, methodology is thoughtful, clear and followed by the text

Clearly and persuasively makes a novel and insightful argument

Lucid, easily readable and well-presented text, clearly worded and articulate, free from obvious typos or formatting errors

Judiciously referenced, uses a wide variety of reputable sources, critically analyses evidence to support wider claims


Is constructed in a way that makes the argument clear, methodology is suitable and followed by the text

Clearly makes an argument

Well written text presented clearly, few typos or formatting errors

Well referenced, uses a variety of reputable sources, some good analysis of evidence


Is constructed in a way that attempts to make the argument clear, methodology is suitable and is largely followed by the text

Attempts to make a clear argument

Understandable text, basic presentation, a handful of textual or format errors

Adequately referenced, uses a variety of sources, displays some awareness of suitability of sources chosen


Is constructed in a way that attempts to make the argument, methodology attempts to be coherent but is not always followed by the text

Attempts to make an appreciable argument

Sometimes confusing textual style, inconsistent formatting, somewhat regular textual or formatting errors

Minimal referencing, few sources chosen beyond course material, little critical engagement with sources


Claims to have a structure but is largely incoherent, methodology consistently ill-applied or absent

Claims to make an argument that is not appreciably attempted, or makes no argument at all

Confusing textual style, poor formatting, regular errors in text

Barely referenced, heavily reliant on a small number of sources, no critical engagement with sources used

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 17/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 03/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research Essay

Due: Week 10

Length: 3,000

Weighting: 50%       

You will choose a single question of a list distributed in week one. Responses should be clear in their aims; they should have a concise statement of the intent of the piece, have clear and consistent relevance to the question, and make concrete claims as to the importance of the answer to the question addressed. Students will be expected to demonstrate independent research and critical engagement with their chosen material. Additionally, analytical rigour will be assessed in line with the rubric and students are encouraged to both think deeply on their approach, and to express that approach clearly in the text.


Students may request permission to write on a question of their own design, however permission will be granted on the basis of; 1) the question relating to a concept or technology relevant to the course, and 2) on the basis of the question being clear and concise.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 14/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

FInal Assessment

Due: 14 November

Length: 800 - 1,000

Weighting: 30%

Students will be tasked with recommending/arguing for a particular course of action in regards to the environment and national security; this may be something taken from the course material, or an issue found elsewhere. Students will be assessed on the quality of their analysis and their clarity and relevance of their justifications, more so than form or content. The written portion itself does not need to conform to a specific essay or report format, and can instead be framed as a short opinion piece or policy paper if students choose.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr James Mortensen
02 6125 0585

Research Interests

Dr James Mortensen

By Appointment
Dr James Mortensen
02 6125 0585

Research Interests

Dr James Mortensen

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions