Global Environmental Change

Module code: GY3355

Module co-ordinator: Professor Susan Page

Global changes in the physical geography of the planet are leading to increasingly visible environmental, economic and social effects. In this module you will study the wide ranging impacts of global environmental change on the atmosphere, biosphere, the human population and economy in different regions of the world.

We will focus on climate change impacts, looking at the most important impacts of contemporary and predicted future climatic changes on different regions of the world. Global environmental change includes human-induced climate change and its range of likely impacts. We will also consider interactions with land use change, pollution and other variability in environmental conditions.

We will look at how the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) models future climate changes, and how vulnerability to climate change is assessed and addressed. We will also discuss appropriate mitigation and adaptation options. 

The lectures and seminars will include sessions providing you with specific training on how to:

  • Read and understand IPCC assessment reports from the IPCC.
  • Write a policy report on climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation measures for a particular region of your choice.
  • Write a popular science article on an aspect of global environmental/climate change (this lecture is delivered by a professional science writer)

Topics covered

  • The changing climate system
  • The greenhouse effect and role of humans in the climate system
  • Climate modelling and prediction
  • Climate change impact assessment
  • The meaning and relevance of vulnerability assessment
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation options
  • Studies of climate change focusing on specific geographical regions and ecosystems  (e.g. Europe, the UK, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, the boreal zone, and city environments)


  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Guest lectures
  • Practical


  • Policy report, 3,000 words (75%)
  • Popular science article, 1,000 words, (25%)