Skip to main content

Climate change and environmental hazards

Module information>

Academic Direction
Birkbeck, University of London
Modes of Study

Climate change is a multifaceted issue, with relevance across a wide range of economic sectors and policy areas.

This module develops students’ knowledge about the science and policy related to climate change and examines the hazards related to a changing climate. Climate change is the most pressing environmental issue facing societies and understanding the processes underpinning climate change and its effects will support efforts towards management and mitigation.

Students will critically evaluate scientific scenarios of future climate and associated hazards and impacts, assess the effectiveness of different policy approaches, and determine suitable responses to the climate change challenge and environmental hazards. The module explores key debates and ideas from a range of viewpoints, considering science, policy, social and economic perspectives.

Topics covered

Main topics of the module include: 

  • The climate system, greenhouse gases: impacts, concentrations, changes
  • Evidence for past climate changes and the science of climate reconstruction. Working with data on climate, how do climate models work?
  • Evidence for recent human-induced changes and debates about climate scepticism
  • The science behind sea level rise – where and how should we live in the future?
  • Storms, floods, fires and droughts – unequal impacts of environmental hazards
  • Ocean currents and climate: hurricanes, cyclones, El Niño events and marine ecosystems
  • Mitigation: setting targets, negative emissions and geoengineering and implications for organisations
  • international political climate change institutions, climate justice and local knowledges and solutions

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:  

  • apply academic concepts and theories, evaluate evidence for climate change, and the complex drivers and consequences of climate change and environmental hazards for different societal groups.
  • critically analyse the connections between climate change and environmental hazards through an analysis of attribution science.
  • assess the effectiveness and equity of climate change goals and policies at global, regional and local levels and over time, and evaluate trade-offs between sustainability goals using a ‘nexus’ approach.
  • evaluate existing debates and concepts in climate change and climate change mitigation, adaptation and management.
  • apply critical thinking to evaluate research relating to science and social science aspects of climate change, environmental hazards and their management.
  • develop quantitative data analysis skills through climate modelling simulations. 


  • Initial online test (25%) (Multiple-choice questions)
  • Final policy report (75%) 

Entry requirements

To qualify to register for a stand-alone individual module, applicants will need a bachelor’s degree or Aegrotat (certificate) from an institution acceptable to the University.