CEM224-Carbon Management

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Michael Peters

Email: m.d.peters@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
Climate change presents a pressing and complex global challenge, which can be addressed through some combination of adapting human systems to withstand future impacts and mitigating the worst effects of climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. This module concentrates on the role of carbon management for countries, businesses and individuals in responding to the need for climate change mitigation. Attention is given to the level of certainty in climate science and the implications this has for global and local action. Policy tools for achieving carbon reduction and the role of the energy supply system are considered, alongside technological options for carbon sequestration.

To frame the need for carbon management against the scientific understanding of climate change, noting how clear understanding of scientific uncertainty is fundamental in developing appropriate carbon management policy and actions. To explore political, economic and technological responses to climate change, recognising how these are/ can be implemented across a range of scales from global / regional agreements, through national policy approaches, down to actions taken by businesses and individuals.

Assessable learning outcomes:

After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Recognise the uncertainties inherent in climate science and be able to explain the implications of these for energy policy and business strategy.

  • Discuss the issues that policy makers must understand and/ or address, including:

    • choice of adaptation and/ or mitigation actions,

    • equity within and across generations,

    • carbon management a nd economic competitiveness.

  • Explain the thermodynamic limits of fossil fuel power generation, the associated implications for carbon emissions and the role of other technological solutions.

  • Recognise the range of carbon footprinting approaches, together with the role of whole life cycle assessment and be able to assess carbon and energy flows associated with specific processes and projects.

  • Use quantitative information to present arguments about the technical, economic and environmental viability of carbon mitigation strategies

Additional outcomes:

  • Understand climate change, and the natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases

  • Understand the history of international climate negotiations, including UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the meaning and implications of the Kyoto mechanisms.

Outline content:

  • Climate change and its implications

  • Greenhouse gases: global warming potentials, natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks; the carbon cycle; data sources

  • The history of international negotiations and the Kyoto Protocol, together with the Kyoto flexibility mechanisms, their current status and future developments.

  • Emissions Trading Schemes principles

  • Thermodynamic analysis of conventional electricity generation tech nologies.

  • Economics of climate change - adaptation, mitigation and ethical implications.

  • Carbon reduction implications for energy delivery, especially electricity grids.

  • The tools available to policy makers to address carbon management.

  • Carbon footprinting techniques.

  • Carbon Management implications for business.

Global context:
Global climate change and the need for international cooperation in responding to it are fundamental to this module, whilst differing socio-economic priorities are considered.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, seminars, problem based learning, group discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 5
Tutorials 5
Guided independent study: 80
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The summative assessment for this module comprises a written assignment of 5000 words (max). The assignment requires all students to discuss key principles underpinning carbon management and climate change mitigation in a local-level community context. Knowledge and understanding developed through the taught content of the module will be tested in relation to (1) the relevance of community action in relation to tackling the complexities of climate change locally; (2) the difficulties associated with reaching consensus on climate action and carbon management at the international level; and (3) the opportunities and challenges of delivering effective and sustainable carbon management strategies at the local level. Additionally students are given the opportunity to choose from a range of approaches and technologies to carbon management that are covered in the module, explaining what they are, how they would operate practically, potential benefits and the difficulties/barriers to their effective implementation and operation.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
To be reassessed by re-submission of coursework/assignment only. You are required to contact the School to confirm reassessment arrangements.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books:

  2. Specialist equipment or materials:

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:

  4. Printing and binding:

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification:

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 28 April 2020


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