SOS494/598 - Social Dimensions of Climate Change

Course pre-requisites

SOS 110, and SOS 111 (or PUP 190), with C or better

Course overview

This seminar class explores advanced topics in social and political aspects of climate change. We will look at the science of climate change and how the scientific process works, and why it has been so contested in some quarters; the existing and predicted physical, economic and societal impacts of climate change; how vulnerability to climate change is measured and whether societies will be able to adapt to forecasted changes; the ethical and social justice dimensions of acting or not acting on climate change; the international relations strategies for climate change mitigation that have been tried to date, as well as country and sub-national strategies; and the economic costs of action and inaction.

Learning objectives of this course are to: 1) understand basic concepts in the field of climate change and the relationships these have with social issues; 2) identify and be familiar with ongoing debates concerning issues such as impacts, vulnerability and adaptation; and 3) critically analyze solutions and responses to climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Required readings

  • Carey, Mark. (2010). In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers: Climate Change and Andean Society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Schneider, Stephen et al, eds. (2010). Climate Change Science and Policy. Washington DC: Island Press.