Energy and Climate Change

Course Code: MEC5090Z

Convenor: Dr Debbie Sparks (Energy, Environment and Climate Change Group at ERC),

Course dates: tbc (possibly second semester in 2014)

Course Objectives

The course is designed to familiarise students with issues concerning energy and climate change mitigation. It introduces science, history, politics and economics of climate change, and focuses on how these relate to energy policy. Students will also develop a detailed understanding of greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector, and the potential for mitigation, and will learn some practical, quantitative tools for the analysis of energy and climate change issues. On completion of the course, students will have an understanding of the complex challenge of climate change and a range of dimensions in seeking a solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa and globally.

Key elements of the course content include the following

  • Climate change: The basics of impacts and adaptation
  • The international response to climate change
  • Economics of climate change
  • The context of addressing mitigation in South Africa
  • Analysis of GHGs
  • Carbon markets
  • Mitigation options and potential – electricity supply, liquid fuel and transport, energy efficiency and DSM, long-term mitigation scenarios for South Africa, economics and regulatory instruments
  • International support – technology transfer, international finance, low carbon economy and society
  • Poverty and climate change
  • Business and climate change
  • Renewable energy and climate change mitigation

In 2013 the course consisted of a series of tutorials, a carbon accounting exercise, a set of readings, a one-week intensive course, a course presentation, two short papers, an exam and a long paper.

Course Assessment

  • 20% for examination
  • 10% for two short papers
  • 10% for participation/course project
  • 60% for examinable long paper