• Class Number 7628
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Steven Cork
    • Dr Steven Cork
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
    • Wendy Conway-Lamb
SELT Survey Results

This course introduces students to foundations of and recent developments in international climate change policy. Topics covered include climate change response options, and economic and policy perspectives on the problem of international cooperation; international environmental agreements, especially the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement; international carbon markets and climate finance; cooperation on technology; international dimensions of adaptation to climate change; relationship with other international objectives such as the Sustainable Development Goals; and international governance of climate change action. The course provides a non-technical introduction to some economic thinking on climate change, no prior economics study in needed. The course is interactive and students are encouraged to actively engage.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the main concepts and debates on international climate change policy.
  2. Understand the principles practice of the UN climate change framework, and of a range of issues in international climate change policy.
  3. Critically assess policy proposals and evaluate future developments.

Research-Led Teaching

The substance of the course is aligned with key foci of international collective action, especially under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In most weeks, guest presenters will focus on aspects in international climate change policy and/or economics that they have research interests and/or practical experience in.

Required Resources

A full reading list will be provided on the course webpage on Wattle.

Staff Feedback

Written feedback on individual work (via the course website on Wattle) will be provided for all assessments. Verbal feedback from the convenor can be obtained on request.

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.

Other Information

Note on course delivery format:

In 2022 this course is delivered on each Monday and Thursday throughout Semester 2, beginning on July 25 and finishing on October 27, except for the mid-semester teaching break between 5 and 16 September. Note that the Monday session will be moved to Tuesday in the week beginning October 3 as the Monday is a public holiday (see details below).

The format will be:

  • 1600-1730 Mondays : A one-hour live lecture via Zoom plus formal discussion within the first hour, followed by optional informal dialogue during the final 30 minutes
  • Pre-recorded on-line material to complement the lecture topic in many, but not all, weeks
  • Thursdays 1100-1300: On-line tutorial/ workshop (for those enrolled in the on-line course) expanding on the content of the lecture (if this time is impossible for participants based outside Australia it might be possible to make some alternative arrangements for a small number if you contact the course convenor)
  • Thursdays 1400-1600: Face-to-face tutorial workshop (for those enrolled in the in-person course) expanding on the content of the lecture

Lectures will also be recorded and will be available after the live delivery session.

Students are expected to also prepare by reading and/or watching materials provided before each class session.

Some additional consultation sessions will be offered online.

In each of Weeks 2-11, some students will deliver recorded presentations, which all course participants are expected to view and consider as inputs to the tutorial/ workshop sessions.

Also in each of 2-11, some students will post reflections on the lecture in a Discussion Forum, which all course participants are expected to engage with as inputs to the tutorial/ workshop sessions.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Week beginning 25 July: Science underpinnings and emissions trajectories. The science of climate change, why climate action is now an emergency, emissions trajectories In all weeks: Live lecture (Zoom) plus discussion (Mondays); supplementary pre-recorded presentations; on-line or in-person tutorials/ workshops expanding on topics covered in the lecture (Thursdays)*. *If timing of on-line tutorial sessions are impossible, alternative arrangements might be possible for a limited number of students
2 Week beginning 1 August: Collective action. Why addressing climate change is a collective action problem; The origins, structure and functions of the UNFCCC and associated bodies. Weeks 2-4 focus on international policy and institutional processes. Assessable student presentations and reflections contribute to tutorial dialogue in Weeks 2-11.
3 Week beginning 8 August: The Paris Agreement – origins, purpose and progress to date
4 Week beginning 15 August: International negotiation processes – challenges and opportunities. Ways in which issues are negotiated within and between Conferences of Parties, and an insider’s perspective on how power imbalances are managed
5 Week beginning 22 August: Ambition: NDCs and the first global stocktake. Focussing on the "ambitions" of nations, and especially the first global stocktake of Nationally Determined Contributions to addressing climate change Weeks 5-11 focus on implementation of international agreements under a series of headings corresponding with key priorities identified by countries and organisations.
6 Week beginning 29 August: Governance for climate action. There are many different aspects of climate action that require the existence of appropriate institutions and functional connections between those institutions. First essay assessment due on 4 September, reflecting on the topics covered in Weeks 1-5.
7 Week beginning 19 September: International financing for climate action under the UNFCCC processes. The mid-semester teaching break is 5-16 September
8 Week beginning 26 September: Loss and Damage. Review how this became an issue, what progress has been made to address it and the ongoing requirements to implement solutions.
9 Week beginning 3 October: The potential contributions of technologies: international trade in zero carbon energy. Note that the lecture will be on Tuesday October 4 at 1200, as October 3 is a public holiday in Canberra.
10 Week beginning 10 October: Adaptation and resilience. Apart from addressing past loss and damage, a key focus of collective action in 2022 and beyond is building the capacity of all people around the world to prepare for and respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change.
11 Week beginning 17 October: Border carbon adjustments and other trade measures for addressing climate change. In this week, we will consider measures being used outside the UNFCCC processes to encourage climate action.
12 Week beginning 24 October: Review of the topics covered and a deeper consideration of some key issues that have arisen during the course. This week will be an opportunity to review the course, address any issues not covered or not examined in sufficient depth and to try out ideas that you might be presenting in your final assessment essay (Due 4 November and bringing together topics covered in Weeks 6-12).

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Student presentations 15 % * * 1, 2, 3
Reflection 10 % * * 1, 2, 3
Essay 1 30 % 04/09/2022 19/09/2022 1, 2, 3
Essay 2 45 % 04/11/2022 20/11/2022 1, 2, 3

* 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 ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Student presentations

Each student will be required to produce a 3-4 minute video presentation on a topic of their choice, together with a one-page summary of the presentation. This will be delivered in a chosen week between Weeks 2 and 11, inclusive. There will be only a limited number of presentations each week and students will be able to book a week on the Wattle page from Week 1.

The topic should relate to the theme of the week in which it is presented. In practice, this is not a restrictive requirement as the topic could relate to any the issues covered in any of the 12 weeks of the course but the presentation should relate that topic in some way to the theme that we focus on in the week of the presentation. For example, you might be especially interested in emissions pathways but you miss the chance to book your presentation for the week in which the lecture focusses on pathways and are only able to get a booking for the week in which geoengineering is a focus. Your challenges will be to relate geoengineering with emissions pathways. This could be done, for example, by exploring how geoengineering solutions have been considered as ways to reduce the effects of emissions on climate and which types of geoengineering might need to be considered under different emissions pathways.

The video should be submitted by 0900 (Canberra time) on the Monday of the week in which it will be presented. This will allow other course participants to view your presentation as part of their preparation for the tutorials later in the week and perhaps even to have viewed it before the lecture.

There probably won’t be time to re-present your commentary in the tutorials but there might be time for a one-minute summary of a key point and you will be expected and encouraged to bring ideas from that commentary into the dialogue in the tutorial that you attend.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3


As well as preparing a presentation for one week between Weeks 2 and 11, you will be required to provide a 250 word reflection on the main lecture in a different week between Weeks 2 and 11. 

You will be required to post that reflection in the Discussion Forum on Wattle by 1200 on the day after the lecture (i.e., Tuesday). (Note: Week 9 might be an exception, as the lecture might be rescheduled to Tuesday October 4 because October 3 is a public holiday. In this case, the reflection will be due by 0900 on the Wednesday).

Other participants will be encouraged to engage in dialogue about your reflections in the Discussion Forum and that dialogue will be considered as an input to dialogue in the tutorials. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 04/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 19/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Essay 1

In this essay you are asked to pull together threads from the first 5 weeks of the course. The submission date is set as the end of the first term so that the essays can be assessed and you can receive feedback early in the second term.

Note: This will require you to plan and manage your time during the first term.

Hint: It would be a good idea to be drafting your essay as the course proceeds rather than leave it until Week 6.

In this essay, you will be required to provide an argument for what topics should be given priority attention at COP27. The agenda for COP27 might or might not be publicly available by the time of submission, but, regardless, you should not simply repeat that agenda or another agenda from the media. Your essay should draw on all aspects of the first 5 weeks to provide an analysis of why you think certain issues are especially important in 2022 and how those issues have reached the point they are at now. This will require you to demonstrate understanding of why international collective action has become necessary, why and how the UNFCCC has emerged as the main vehicle for that action, how needs and demands differ from country to country and region to region, and how the UNFCCC process presents opportunities and/or posed challenges for achieving national and international objectives. 

The essay will be assessed on the basis of how well understanding of the first 5 weeks’ topics is demonstrated, the logic behind the priorities recommended and the clarity of writing. It is not expected that you will agree with opinions expressed by presenters or the course convenor or tutor. You will be aware by this point in the course that many different perspectives about priorities exist globally. The keys to a good essay will be how critically a particular perspective is analysed and how well you have woven together the topics explored in the first 5 weeks.

Clearly, 1500 words is not much to write about all of the above, so you will need to practice your ability to present your ideas succinctly and to focus on the key points you want to make while still explaining the logic behind those points convincingly.

Length: 1500 words excluding references (+/-10%). 

Due date: 4 September 2022, 2200 Canberra time.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 04/11/2022
Return of Assessment: 20/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Essay 2

Rather than hold an exam (which past students have told us they dislike and don’t regard as an effective way to assess understanding of the course’s content), Essay 2 will challenge you to bring together the whole course, but especially the content of Weeks 6-12. 

Like Essay 1, the challenge will be to present some sound critical analysis in a limited number of words (i.e., 2500).

Weeks 6-11 will focus on the big challenges of COP27 and beyond: implementation of the Paris Agreement and subsequent commitments made by both state and non-state actors. 

Your task in Essay 2 will be to focus in depth on one aspect of implementation and to consider what opportunities and challenges exist for this aspect. 

You will be required to consider the potential trade-offs and/or synergies between the aspect you focus on and other aspects of implementation. For example, if you focus on strengthening adaptation and resilience you might consider how, for at least some countries, there might be trade-offs between arguing for compensation for last loss and damage and funding for future adaptation and resilience or their might also be ways in which these two aspects might support one another. 

Your focus is on the UNFCCC and associated process, but that should include the potential roles of both state and non-state actors.

The essay will be assessed on the basis of how well understanding of the content of Weeks 6-12 has been demonstrated when arriving at your focus, the logic behind the explanations and arguments that you offer, and the clarity of writing. 

Like Essay 1, it is not expected that you will agree with opinions expressed by presenters or the course convenor or tutor. Your original opinions are welcome but should be backed up with sound critical thinking and analysis.


·       It would be a good idea to be building Essay 2 as the second term progresses, rather than leaving it until Week 12 and the week after that

·       As the term progresses, you could try out ideas via dialogue in the tutorials and/or via the Discussion Forum

·       Week 12 is not a week to be ignored – it is an opportunity to further hone your thinking and generate some dialogue on issues that you think we have overlooked or not covered in sufficient detail

Length: 2500 words excluding references (+/-10%). 

Due date: 4 November 2022, 2200 Canberra time.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

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 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.

Returning Assignments

All assessments are submitted via the course website on Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions 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 Steven Cork

Research Interests

Impacts of possible climate change trajectories on human wellbeing; foresight (futures-thinking); ecosystem services; environmental communication

Dr Steven Cork

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Steven Cork

Research Interests

Dr Steven Cork

By Appointment
By Appointment
Wendy Conway-Lamb

Research Interests

Wendy Conway-Lamb

By Appointment

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