Skip to main contentSkip Navigation or Skip to Content

GEOG 3991: Global Climate Change and Regional Impacts

This seminar course involves in-depth analysis in environmental studies, including receptive but critical examination of issues from various perspectives. You will study how natural processes and human activity alter the composition of the ocean and atmosphere and trigger climate change at different temporal and spatial scales, globally and regionally. As a basis for critical thinking and seminar discussion, you will develop knowledge of: systems and energy flow, and atmospheric and ocean circulation; methodologies, records, and indicators of climate change; and the consequences of human activity within the context of natural climate change and the environment's capacity to absorb anthropogenic impacts.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing the work in this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify natural and anthropogenic influences on the climate system at various time scales.
  • Outline the evidence and techniques used for reconstructing past climate and measuring present climate and consider some of the limitations of climate model projections.
  • Describe some of the observed and anticipated effects of climate change on human and natural systems and demonstrate a general understanding of regional differences in vulnerability.
  • Discuss potential ecological, social, and economic impacts of climate change in British Columbia and the various responses being considered.
  • Identify and discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Kyoto Protocol and Canada's perspective on the Protocol while considering some of the key forces driving greenhouse gas emissions and the concept of equity.
  • Discuss various mitigation measures aimed at reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and identify the advantages and disadvantages of selected carbon-free energy technologies.
  • Address climate-change issues with critical thinking, integrating new insights from different perspectives obtained through various means such as information searches, critical reading, and online discussion.
  • Make balanced judgments about the causes and impacts of climate change and analyze specific issues related to climate change.
  • Identify and describe your own attitudes toward climate change and recommend ways in which individuals, industry, and government can take action to beneficially address the challenges of future climate change.

Course topics

The course is divided into four modules, which are further divided into topics of study:

Module 1: Introduction to the Science of Climate Change

  • Topic 1: Introduction to the Science of Climate Change
  • Topic 2: Tipping Points and Abrupt Climate Change

Module 2: Vulnerability of Human and Natural Systems

  • Topic 1: Human Vulnerability
  • Topic 2: The Arctic and the Traditional Way of Life
  • Topic 3: Flora and Fauna

Module 3: Regional Impacts of Climate Change

  • Topic 1: Overview of a Changing Climate
  • Topic 2: Impacts on the Natural Environment and Humans
  • Topic 3: The Importance of Adaptation

Module 4: International Response, Future Challenges, and Individual Responsibility

  • Topic 1: Beyond the Kyoto Protocol
  • Topic 2: Mitigation Measures
  • Topic 3: What Can You Do?

Required text and materials

GEOG 3991 does not have a required textbook.

The required readings are listed at the start of each course module, and you can link to the readings as HTML files or PDFs. You can print the readings, download them to your computer, or read on-screen in your browser.Note: If you have any questions about course textbooks or other materials, please contact Enrolment Services at or 1.800.663.9711 (toll-free in Canada), 250.852.7000 (Kamloops, BC), and 1.250.852.7000 (International).

You will also be consulting a variety of web resources throughout the course. We have provided links in the course modules to full-text electronic versions of these required readings.


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50 % on the final mandatory project examination and 50 % overall. It is recommended that students complete all assignments in order to achieve the learning outcomes of the course. The total mark will be determined on the following basis:

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 15%
Assignment 4 15%
Discussions 20%
Final Project * (includes 5% for proposal) 30%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

Search To Top