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Unit information: Climate Change and International Security in 2020/21

Unit name Climate Change and International Security
Unit code POLIM0004
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Ashley Dodsworth
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This module will explore the implications of climate change for international security, assessing how the destructive transformation of the earth’s resources and environment will impact the current world order. The course will cover the key areas of economic security, energy security and territorial security, as well as the role of climate change in driving conflict and global migration. Students will also explore the international efforts to limit the effects of and adapt to climate change, from international summits and negotiations to specific policies such as emission trading, and assess whether these measures will be enough to secure human life.

The aims of the unit are:

  • to explain the different ways in which climate change threatens international security
  • to explore the measures different actors have taken to try and mitigate this
  • to enable students to develop their skills in critical thinking and writing

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the threat of global climate change and its causes
  • Critically assess the ways in which climate change may create and drive conflict
  • Explain how climate change may affect economic, territorial and energy security as well as the issue of climate migration
  • Critically evaluate the international measures that have been taken to limit and adapt to climate change and suggest strategies for future action

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

25% 1500 article review 75% 4000 word essay

Reading and References

Kate O’Neill, The Environment and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Stephen Gardiner, Simon Caney and Dale Jamison (eds.) Climate Ethics: Essential Readings (Oxford:

Oxford University Press, 2010)

David Ciplet and J. Timmons Roberts, Power in a warming world (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015)

John Volger, Climate Change in World Politics (London: Palgrave Macmillian, 2015)

Simon Dalby, Security and Environmental Change (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009)

David Cromwell and Mark Levene (eds.) Surviving Climate Change: The Struggle to Avert Global

Catastrophe (London: Pluto Press, 2009)