• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, International Relations, Policy Studies, Climate
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Frank Mills
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

Climate change is arguably the greatest existential risk that humanity has ever faced. This course explores the increasing impetus from scientific research and academia, the potential and need for sustainable global development, and why, despite this, international and domestic climate action is often limited. 

An overview is provided of the fundamentals of climate change science, including the astrophysical, atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial processes that drive and amplify natural climatic variability and anthropogenic climate change. 

Current and likely future impacts of global warming on ecosystems and human activities are considered, including biodiversity, human health, regional inequality, and vulnerability. 

We explore communication, denialism, ethics, and the roles of academia and scientific research. This culminates in an in-class discussion of climate change with climate deniers. 

Key principles of International Relations and examples from the realpolitik of international treaties are used to investigate actual and potential societal response strategies. International and Australian climate policies, key actors, and international processes are analysed to assess actual and potential unilateral, private, and collective action. The culmination of the course is a mock treaty negotiation for "The Canberra Agreement" under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

Contributors to the course include experts from across the ANU and representatives of various government departments, industry, business, and community groups, and research organisations.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but have separate seminars and are assessed separately.

Please direct all enquiries and correspondence to envs3020-convener@anu.edu.au

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. evaluate and critique current understandings of the science and uncertainties of climate change, as well as the vulnerabilities of and potential impacts on biophysical and social systems;
  2. engage effectively with denialism, skepticism, and other forms of disagreement;
  3. devise, evaluate, and critique a range of response strategies to climate change, including international and Australian climate policies;
  4. debate and innovate future climate change policy in the context of international climate change negotiations, with application to their professional experience.

Other Information

If you do not meet the requisites for this course, it may be possible to receive a permission code. If you are prompted for a permission code on ISIS, please request one online via the following form

Indicative Assessment

  1. Two quizzes (10) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Reflective Op-Ed on climate change science communication (20) [LO 1,2]
  3. Briefing paper on national circumstances and interests for climate change policy negotiation (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Country submission to Canberra Agreement negotiations (5) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  5. Personal reflection on contribution to and learning from Canberra Agreement negotiations (5) [LO 2,4]
  6. Report and presentation (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  7. Major report (30) [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.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 2-3 x 1 hour lectures, 1 x 2-4 hour workshop plus 1 x 1 hour seminar per week
  • The number of lectures per week will decrease during the term and the length of the workshop will increase.
  • Approximately 50-60 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, workshops, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with ENVS3020.

Prescribed Texts

Please refer to the course WATTLE site.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2023 $4560
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
6341 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 In Person View
7578 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 Online View

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