Specialisation streams: Climate Change
Climate Change

This stream will provide students with - an understanding of the causes of climate change globally and within the Caribbean; knowledge of current climate trends and projections for the Caribbean; an appreciation of potential impacts of climate change on natural and socio-economic systems in the region; knowledge of adaptive and mitigative measures available to buffer the impacts; an understanding of the regional and international policy framework within which climate change is addressed; and with the negotiation skills required to make significant contributions at regional and international climate change meetings and Conventions.

The four specialisation courses offered in this stream are:

ENVT 6130 Climate Dynamics and Modelling

This course develops knowledge and skills for modelling and simulating climate and interpreting the results from climate models. It demonstrates the contribution and relevance of interdisciplinary research and policy considerations as inputs to climate modelling.

Topics include: constituents, structure and primary atmospheric processes; weather, climate and climate variability; climate driving forces, including greenhouse gases and their effects; anthropogenic aerosols and volcanic eruptions; ultraviolet radiation, ozone and CFCs; global energy balance including oceanic circulation; numerical modelling and climate models; scaling issues and limitations of General Circulation Models; climate sensitivity; monitoring, observation and modelling of past climates and trends; global warming, hurricanes and El NiƱo Southern Oscillation (ENSO); future climate trends and changes. (Go to Programme Overview)

ENVT 6131 Policy Response to Climate Change

This course evaluates a broad suite of policy approaches to GHG reduction and climate stabilization, in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Kyoto Protocol. It develops knowledge and skills for policy formulation, and for strengthening negotiating capacity to protect regional interests in the global climate change debate.

Topics include: the international policy response; UNFCCC, Berlin Mandate and Kyoto Protocol as instruments for atmospheric stabilization; policy approaches of developed and developing countries; negotiating positions of major UN Groups: European Union (EU), Japan-United States-Canada-Australia-New Zealand (JUSCANZ), Group of 77 and China (G77), Environmental Integrity Group (EIG), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS); application of key negotiating tenets, including the precautionary principle and common but differentiated responsibilities; exploring elements of a CARICOM negotiating position. (Go to Programme Overview)

ENVT 6132 Vulnerability to Climate Change and Impact Assessment

This course will adopt a problem-solving approach to climate impacts and vulnerability assessments in the Caribbean. It will draw on lessons from the hazard and disaster management community, the UNEP Country Studies, IPCC Common Methodology, and other methodologies and studies appropriate to the circumstances of the Caribbean and Small Island Developing States.

From these an integrated approach to assessing impacts, vulnerability and adaptation will be developed. Themes will include: variability, extreme events (e.g. hurricanes, storm surge, droughts, floods) and their link to climate change; methods and tools in climate impact assessment; use of scenarios in vulnerability and impact assessments; impact of projected climate change and sea-level rise on key socio-economic sectors in the Caribbean; types and treatment of uncertainty; risk assessment and management; decision making based on outputs from vulnerability and risk assessments. (Go to Programme Overview)

ENVT 6133 Climate Change Impacts: Mitigation and Adaptation

This course will examine current trends and approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Methodologies, broad strategies and specific options will be discussed and their efficacy at the global, regional and local scales will be evaluated.

Among the topics to be discussed are: objectives of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol and their implications for mitigation and adaptation in the Caribbean; costs and benefits of emissions reductions; economic instruments for promoting mitigation including taxes, insurance schemes and tradable emission permits; carbon sequestration in soils and vegetation; types of adaptation – autonomous, anticipatory and planned; constraints to the implementation of adaptation options and strategies; timing of adaptation; technologies for energy efficiency and their application to the Caribbean: small hydro, solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind, ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), and no-carbon fuels; equity issues and their implications for adaptation in small vulnerable states. (Go to Programme Overview)