Course code EDS355

EDS355 Climate Change and Development

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Showing course contents for the educational year starting in 2020 .

Course responsible: Siri Ellen Hallstrøm Eriksen
Teachers: Marianne Mosberg, Ola Tveitereid Westengen
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in autumn parallel, .
Course frequency: Annually.
First time: 2008V
Course contents:

NB! Course not offered in spring 2020 - next time in autumn 2020.

Objectives of course

Climate change is one of the defining development challenges in the 21st century. In this course, students will learn about the characteristics, challenges and opportunities with respect to a complex climate-development relationship. The course introduces students to a range of topics related to the causes of, and socio-political responses to anthropogenic climate change. Both natural and social science aspects are touched upon, making it an interdisciplinary course suited for students from a variety of programme fields. After the course, students will be able to discuss, and have a grounded understanding of the relationship between science, policy, and practice with emphasis on climate change mitigation, adaptation and possible transformative pathways to sustainability. Besides lectures on theoretical subjects, case studies and seminars will allow for practical illustration of issues and active student involvement.

Course contents

  • Understanding climate change, sources and development linkages: Different approaches to understanding climate change - society linkages: Interaction between climate change, poverty and livelihoods. Multiple stressors and tipping points; sources of and growth in emissions; carbon & methane cycles and carbon sequestration; nitrogen transformation and N2O emissions from the soil; adapting agriculture to climate change.
  • Issues and Responses to Climate Change: Theoretical and thematic elaboration on following issues: Political dimensions of climate change adaptation; Renewable energy and policy; Food security in a changing climate; Biofuels; Ethics of climate change; Water and climate change; Humanitarian policy and practice, disaster risk reduction and sustainable adaptation; Adaptation and Resilience; forestry sector & REDD+; carbon footprint and life cycle assessment. Case studies from different parts of the world and seminar debates illustrate and supplement lectures.

3. Transformation and Climate Change: In this section larger questions about a transformation to sustainability are discussed: Transformation - in theory and in practice; the low emission society and its political measures; International climate negotiations; Seminars and other interactive methods involve students actively.

Learning outcome:

Learning outcomes


The student is able to understand and critically analyse the relationship between climate change and development, has an overview of the main socio-environmental mechanisms of change and how these are related to societal development, Sustainability and well-being.

Student seminars:

The student is able to put critical thinking about the links between climate change and development into practice and to perform a critical evaluation of an example of climate change action (adaptation or mitigation) within a sector or societal sphere.

The student is able to present such a critical evaluation  written and orally.

The student is able to work collaboratively with others across different cultures and scientific backgrounds.

Term paper:

The student is able to critically explore an independently choosen topic related to climate change and societal development (with respect to the course content) in-depth and convey this in writing. The student is able to find and understand academic references that are relevant to the exploration of the aforementioned topics, formulate focused research questions and sound academic arguments  in a structured, academic way while using standardized guidelines for academic writing.

Learning activities:

4 hours lectures/seminars per week & term paper

Selected lectures & student seminars are mandatory

Teaching support:

Teaching support

Lectures: Course readings (refer to course syllabus) and lecture notes. Further course readings will be added prior to course start. Lecture notes are provided after each lecture.

Student seminars: 1 session of 2 hours is set aside for students to prepare in groups for the student seminars under supervision of the course responsible.

Term paper: When selecting a topic for the term paper, each student can contact the course responsible to discuss possible topics individually with him/her. After approval of the topics, one session of 2 hours is set aside where students can work in class on their term papers under supervision of the course responsible. After submission, each student receives a page of feedback on his/her term paper and can contact the course responsible for more feedback.


Leichenko and O’Brien (2019) Climate and Society

Full reading list (selected articles, reports and book chapters) is made available on Canvas

A Bachelor degree or equivalent in a relevant field
Recommended prerequisites:
EDS260 or equivalent.
Mandatory activity:
Attendance of selected lectures and student seminars is mandatory.

Term paper graded A-F (40%).

Written exam graded A-F (60%).

Please note that passing the term paper is a requirement for being eligible for a grade on this course

Nominal workload:
300 hours.
Entrance requirements:
Must have obtained a Bachelor degree or equivalent in a relevant field
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
4 hours lectures per week. Term paper. Group work in relation to student seminars.
Internal and external examiner grade the exams.
Allowed examination aids: C3 Alle typer kalkulatorer, alle andre hjelpemidler - inkludert digitale
Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / F