units

LAW4532

Faculty of Law

print version

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

Faculty

Law

Offered

Not offered in 2016

Synopsis

Climate change has been described as the defining legal and policy challenge of the 21st century. This unit provides an introduction to the international legal response to this challenge. It examines critically the emergence of climate change as a public policy problem, the relationship between climate science and climate policy, and the negotiation, content and implementation of international legal instruments related to climate change. It will not consider national, sub national or non-governmental approaches to climate change. Topics to be addressed include:

  • the causes and impacts of, and trends in, global climate change;
  • the problem of scientific uncertainty and its implications for international climate change law;
  • the main options for and obstacles to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and the relationship between mitigation and adaptation;
  • the international politics of climate change, including the differing positions, interests and priorities of developed and developing states and the special challenges facing particularly vulnerable states and communities;
  • the negotiation, content and implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, including Joint Implementation, the Clean Development Mechanism, international emissions trading, financial assistance and technology transfer;
  • key issues and developments in the negotiation and implementation of a post-Kyoto international climate change agreement;
  • the role and meaning of the concepts of state sovereignty, common concern of humankind, sustainable development, common but differentiated responsibilities, intra- and inter-generational equity, the precautionary principle, and climate justice in the international climate change legal regime;
  • key issues, options, proposals and rules surrounding the incorporation of land use and forestry into the international climate change regime, including Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD);
  • compliance, enforcement and dispute settlement in the international climate change regime;
  • interactions between the international climate change regime and international regimes related to ozone depletion, biodiversity, law of the sea, human rights, and international trade; and
  • options and prospects for a transition to a carbon-free or low-carbon future.

Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students should be able to:

  • identify the causes and impacts of, and trends in, global climate change;
  • identify and evaluate critically the main options for and obstacles to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and the relationship between mitigation and adaptation;
  • discuss critically the international politics of climate change, including the differing positions, interests and priorities of developed and developing states and the special challenges facing particularly vulnerable states and communities;
  • interpret, apply and evaluate critically the main features of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol;
  • discuss critically the key issues in the negotiation and implementation of a post-Kyoto international climate change agreement, and evaluate critically the main features of any such agreement;
  • explain the concepts of state sovereignty, common concern of humankind, sustainable development, common but differentiated responsibilities, intra- and inter-generational equity, the precautionary principle, climate justice, compliance and enforcement, and apply them to the problem of climate change;
  • explain the major interactions between the international climate change regime and international regimes related to ozone depletion, biodiversity, law of the sea, human rights, and international trade;
  • evaluate critically the options and prospects for a transition to a carbon-free or low-carbon future; and
  • generate new ideas and options by preparing for and participating in role-playing simulations of international climate change negotiations.

Assessment

Evaluation will be by a variety of methods. A substantial portion of the assessment will be based on group work for which each member of a group receives the same mark. Participation: 10%, group assignment (1000 words): 20%; role-playing negotiation exercise (conducted in 3 parts): Part 1: 10%, Part 2: 10%, Part 3: 10%; final exam (2 hours, closed book): 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)