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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PIED5580M Climate Security

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Sébastien Nobert

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Climate change is increasingly being linked to ideas of ‘emergency’ and ‘crisis’ and framed as a question of ‘security’. This module takes up how and why this is happening and examines what happens to climate politics when it becomes ‘securitized’ in different ways. Contemporary debates about climate security will be put into historical context relating them to older notions of environmental scarcity as a driver of conflict, and we examine how traditional security concerns now feed into climate debates and vice versa. It then looks forwards, considering the advantages and dangers of including climate in the exceptional framework of ‘security’ in an age of geopolitical tension and increasingly massive human impacts on Earth systems (‘Anthropocene’ security).


This module explores the diverse ways in which climate change is being thought of and tackled in terms of ‘security’, including through practices and problematics of national and international security, human security and ecological security. At the end of the module students are expected to be able to analyse and understand the history of, and affordances and dangers involved in, diverse ways in which logics of security and climate may mutually affect each other.

Learning outcomes
1. Gain familiarity with traditional concepts of security focused on states or sovereignty.
2. Develop critical awareness of historical strands of thought relating to how environmental factors affect human conflicts.
3. Understand how diverse discourses of climate security suggest different threats to different referent objects (such as state security, human welfare or natural systems).
4. Consider which actors and solutions are empowered and promoted through different climate security-framings.
5. At the end of the module students should be able to compare and evaluate the political implications of different ways of pursuing climate security.

Skills outcomes
Ability to comprehend how language and the history of key concepts influence societal processes, understanding in particular the origins of the concept of security how it is being imported into climate politics.
Ability to apply theory to produce analysis of contemporary problems and communicate specific arguments legibly for wider audiences.
Ability to grasp and apply Securitization Theory to assess competing policy framings relating to climate change.


Subjects to be covered may include but are not limited to: historical ideas about environmental scarcity and conflict, core ideas and examples of modern climate conflict studies, and Securitization Theory applying this to climate change; before moving on to security dimensions of climate mitigation/adaptation and strategies for direct intervention to secure the climate. Finally closely related notions of global catastrophic risk, extinction and ‘The Anthropocene security’ are considered in relation to climate change.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1 x 1000 words formative essay preparing final essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment1 x 1000 Op-ed Report On Climate Security (End of Term)20.00
Essay1 x 3000 Word Essay (End of Term)80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

1 x 1000 words formative essay preparing final essay.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/07/2023 16:16:41


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