University of Canberra
ANU academic programs

ANU offers a wide range of courses covering a broad spectrum of climate-related topics – Earth System science, climate law, international climate policy, climate and fire, and many others including integrative degree structures such as the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (Sustainability) and The Green Information Communications Technology Strategies (Green ICT) course that teaches students how they can help reduce carbon emissions when using computers and telecommunications equipment.

The Climat Chnage Institute facilitates and supports a number of education activities such as the Department of Climate Change Short course and Master Degree courses, such as the Master of Climate Change. This degree offers students unique breadth and diversity in addressing the many dimensions of climate change through access to world-leading experts in climate science and policy.

The Climate Change Institute facilitates other creative approaches to education on climate change – for example, the participation of ANU students as observers at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the parties in Bali (2007) and Copenhagen (2009).

Master of Climate Change Program

From 2009, the Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the ANU are drawing on the depth of expertise across the University to offer the Master of Climate Change graduate program.

This program offers students unique breadth and diversity in addressing the multiple dimensions of the climate change problem through access to world leading experts in climate change science and policy.

Students can tailor the degree to their individual interests and skills, and study within a variety of fields including:

  • Climate change science
  • Climate change impacts and vulnerability in, amongst others, water resources, biodiversity, natural resource management, human health and urban systems
  • Non-fossil fuel energy technologies and policies
  • Integrated approaches to risk and vulnerability assessment
  • The economics of climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Legal dimensions of climate change; and
  • Politics, policy and governance perspectives on climate change.

Graduates will be prepared for careers in climate change risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation strategy development, and regional, national and international policy formulation.

The program meets ANU strategic and operational goals to be a leading research and teaching institution in the climate change arena, both in Australia and globally.

Department of Climate Change Short Course

During 2009, the CCI ran a short course on an introduction to the science and implications of climate change, and to policy development and emerging strategies to address our vulnerability to climate change. 

The short course consists of three themes:

  • Theme 1: What is climate change, and why is it important?

Australia’s climate and its variability are examined in the context of the global climate system, providing a background for investigating the nature, causes and detection of climate change, both natural and human-caused (anthropogenic).  Recent trends in climate and the impacts of extreme events (e.g. tropical storms, droughts) are a focus for analyzing perceptions of climate change.  Future climate scenarios for Australia and the associated impacts on a number of key sectors are considered, e.g. human health, biodiversity, water, agriculture and urban systems.

  • Theme 2: How are the vulnerabilities and risks associated with climate change shaping the policy response?

Global and Australian vulnerabilities to climate change, and the associated risks, are examined in the context of climate change impacts and future scenarios.  Concern for the security of key sectors in Australia lies behind current developments in domestic climate change policy.  The evolution of climate change policy and the role of science-policy interaction, both internationally and in Australia, are examined using examples including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.

  • Theme 3: What are the economic and legal considerations associated with climate change policy, and how are societies responding to climate change?

Current policy strategies developing to address the need for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change include a range of economic instruments and legal frameworks.  Several economic strategies are discussed, including carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes, against the background of current and proposed mitigation targets.  The relationship between emerging policy based on the need for adaptation and mitigation and the legal structures required to facilitate implementation and response is also considered.  Societal responses to climate change are discussed.

Student Activities

Young Scholars Conference

In keeping with CCI’s mission of supporting climate change education, the Institute convened a young scholars conference on the ANU campus between 19 and 22 July 2010. The conference brought together young scholars from the physical, natural and social sciences/humanities working on aspects of climate change; provided an opportunity for students to showcase their research through selected presentation and poster sessions; enabled young scholars from around the world to engage with key Australian based scholars working on various aspects of climate change; exposed young scholars to representatives of the climate change policy community; and provided young scholars with a forum to enhance their networking opportunities and career paths.

UNFCCC field trips

Following the participation of a cohort of ANU students at the UNFCCC COP-13 meeting in Bali in 2007 supported by the Climate Change Institute’s predecessor, the Institute continued the tradition of strong involvement by the ANU community in international climate negotiations through the participation of more than 50 ANU students and staff at the pivotal COP-15 meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009. The ANU contingent included students from the Fenner School’s undergraduate course on climate science and policy, a number of PhD scholars, and several of the University’s academic staff; the delegation was led by CCI Executive Director Will Steffen.

A highlight of the event was the opportunity for ANU students to witness the complex and contentious negotiations first-hand, and to have access to daily briefings from the official Australian and other delegations. The plethora of side events and booths inside the Bella Centre, venue for the COP-15, as well as the chaotic demonstrations in the wintry weather outside of the Centre, gave students a broad range of experiences associated with such an important international event. The ANU booth, organised with IARU partners Yale University and the University of Copenhagen, received considerable attention through the conference as a focal point for the ANU delegation.