The Politics of Climate Change - GEOG5005

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


This module looks at the politics of the global climate crisis at the international, national and local level. Whether it is global climate change governance, national or local climate adaptation policy making and plans, or individual attitudes and behaviour, we need to understand what motivates actors and how a combination of motivations and structure translate into climate action in various contexts and societies. This module provides you with the tools to explain the politics of the global climate crisis at the international, national and local level. The module draws on a variety of debates from political science, international relations, human geography and urban studies. In addition to an overview of key policy documents driving the discourse, we will explore interdisciplinary theorisations across the social and natural sciences that help rethink the arguments in renewed ways. This includes the critical role of cities and an understanding of how key concepts such as the Anthropocene and adaptation and mitigation shape the global climate emergency agenda.


Contact hours

Private Study: 128 hours
Contact Hours: 22 hours
Total: 150 hours


Compulsory to the following courses:
• BA in Environmental Social Sciences

Optional to the following courses:
• BSc in Human Geography
• BSc in Wildlife Conservation
• BA in Politics and International Relations

Also available as an elective module and to short term credit students.

Method of assessment

Essay (2000 words) (50%)
Essay 2 (2000 words) (50%)

Reassessment instrument: Like for Like

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Understand the emergence, operation, and effectiveness of international institutions and how they impact the politics of climate change.
2 Evaluate the key drivers of the climate change debate in the context of globalisation.
3 Understand the broader theoretical and methodological overview of the 'climate change' discourse from a social sciences perspective allowing for new viewpoints to emerge.
4 Re-evaluate critically the 'climate emergency' discourse and the extent to which it relates to political debates at local and global scales.
5 Critically analyse adaptation and mitigations plans and policies.
6 Understand and critically evaluate the key driver of international and domestic processes related to the politics of climate change.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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