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Overview

The intensifying impact of climate change, and the necessity for further evolution of the international regime, coupled with the lack of agreement around a legally binding outcome so close to the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2012), heightens the crucial role of international negotiations, especially for small and developing states.

At the November/December 2011 climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, attention will once again focus on the process of building a global climate change architecture. Diplomats and scientists will be at the forefront of negotiations both during the meeting and in the months leading to the conference.

In addition, the relationship between science and political decision-making in the area of climate change will be increasingly important in the upcoming period, following questions regarding the credibility of climate science and the 2010 review of the structure of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Other initiatives, such as the Global Framework for Climate Services (initiated in 2009) emphasise the need to better integrate climate information and decision-making processes. Recent initiatives to use geo-engineering climate solutions have added to the controversy surrounding the role of science in climate change policy.

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Application deadline: 
TBA
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TBA
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n/a
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0
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Certificate

…a very constructive learning process.
 

Radmila Bursac
Course participant
Course details

The intensifying impact of climate change, and the necessity for further evolution of the international regime, coupled with the lack of agreement around a legally binding outcome so close to the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2012), heightens the crucial role of international negotiations, especially for small and developing states.

At the November/December 2011 climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, attention will once again focus on the process of building a global climate change architecture. Diplomats and scientists will be at the forefront of negotiations both during the meeting and in the months leading to the conference.

In addition, the relationship between science and political decision-making in the area of climate change will be increasingly important in the upcoming period, following questions regarding the credibility of climate science and the 2010 review of the structure of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Other initiatives, such as the Global Framework for Climate Services (initiated in 2009) emphasise the need to better integrate climate information and decision-making processes. Recent initiatives to use geo-engineering climate solutions have added to the controversy surrounding the role of science in climate change policy.

Climate change will be important in a wide array of policy fields and within a diverse range of global and regional negotiation processes. Today officials involved in fields such as energy, trade, human rights, telecommunications and health also need knowledge about climate change issues.

This course brings together participants from diverse backgrounds to build skills and acquire the knowledge to engage effectively in climate change negotiations and policy processes. At an introductory level, the course will provide a broad overview of climate change issues, equipping participants to represent and promote the interests of their own countries in the global climate change policy process.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding and the ability to participate in current diplomatic and policy processes in the field of climate change.
  • Employ current scientific and policy-related climate change terminology.
  • Identify those international institutional climate change frameworks where their national interests may be most effectively promoted.
  • Identify appropriate partners for climate change policy initiatives.
  • Recognise opportunities where global initiatives and processes can contribute to local development needs.
  • Propose or contribute to an effective national approach for participation in global climate change processes.

In addition, the course will broaden participants’ general understanding of climate change and the global policy response to climate change. In this regard, by the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the climate change phenomenon and the impact of climate change on human society, including different views and schools of thought regarding climate change.
  • Identify and describe the interests of the main players in the climate change policy process.
  • Identify the various international legal documents and institutional frameworks dealing with climate change.
  • Explain the local relevance of global/regional climate change initiatives.

Excerpt from course materials

One of the most frequently debated, and most controversial, questions in climate change diplomacy is the cause of climate change. The question is an important one because identifying the specific causes of climate change leads us to specific policy responses and choices.

Sceptics argue that climate change is mainly a natural phenomenon, and the most radical sceptics suggest that we cannot, and should not, interfere with natural climate change. These views either deny any relevance of anthropogenic causes, minimise their importance, or argue that climate change is so complex that it is difficult to identify specific anthropogenic causes. Climate change sceptics tend to oppose policy action in the field of climate change …

Today, it is clearly established that both natural and anthropogenic factors contribute to climate change. However, many related issues remain unresolved, including the extent of the impact of those two factors and their interplay. Resolving those issues will remain high on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and consequently, important in climate change diplomacy. In our cognitive toolkit, an understanding of the current debate on causes of climate change plays an important part in developing effective argumentation and persuasion.

Course outline

  1. Introduction to climate change diplomacy: description of climate change; definitions, causes and effects; evolution of global discussion on climate change.
  2. Climate change – a cognitive toolkit: a conceptual framework for approaching climate change issues; natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change; scientific uncertainty and the precautionary principle; equity versus efficiency; perfect versus “good enough” solutions; analogies; statistics; temporal aspects; developmental aspects.
  3. National state actors in climate change diplomacy: survey and classification of the main actors in climate change diplomacy; states; ad hoc coalitions and groupings; positions of the main players.
  4. Non-state actors in climate change diplomacy: the role of the media; the scientific community; non-governmental organisations; industry and the fossil fuel lobby; international organisations.
  5. Climate change – legal and policy instruments: international legal documents (Rio conference, UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Accord); international policy documents (IPCC reports, Global Framework on Climate Services); soft law – policy studies and other important documents (Stern review).
  6. Climate change – levels of activity: global level (UN World Summits, global institutions); regional activities; national activities; sub-national activities; individual lifestyle choices.
  7. Strategies, policies (and some technologies): adaptation; economic development; mitigation; changing human behaviour (economic and non-economic instruments); alternative energy sources; geo-engineering.
  8. The road ahead: Copenhagen negotiations, road to Durban (2011); criticism of the Kyoto Protocol; analysis of what a future framework should look like; alternative proposals for a post-Kyoto architecture.

Note: Climate change diplomacy was originally developed in 2008; this is its fourth year of delivery. Over 150 participants have attended the course over the last three years. Each group of participants has contributed to the development of course materials and the improvement of the course methodology.

Reviews

This course is quite unique - different to other courses:  it requires a serious academic work and an additional ingredient: passion for environment.Those who possess both will benefit enormously; for both components having been transmitted by the lecturers tangibly to the cyber classroom. Regardless whether this course is for your personal interests or is work-related - a multitude of issues makes the experience a very constructive learning process.

Radmila Bursac
Judge's Associate, Supreme Court - Melbourne, Australia
August 2010
Who should apply

Diplomats, civil servants, scientists, academics, and media representatives involved in climate change research processes and negotiations.

Prerequisites

Applicants must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR three years of work experience in a relevant field.
  • Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments of up to 2500 words in length).
  • Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).
Fees
  • €650 per participant

Note: Full scholarships will be provided for qualified applicants representing developing states, with priority given to small developing states. Scholarship support is provided by the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How to apply

Please apply online for this course. If you are requesting a scholarship, please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. These are required documents and your application will not be considered without them. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in climate change diplomacy.
  • Why you feel you should be selected to participate in this course: how your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Late applications will be considered only if places remain in the course.

In case of enquiries, please contact us at climate@diplomacy.edu


Cancellation Policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.

Print course info
Course details:

The intensifying impact of climate change, and the necessity for further evolution of the international regime, coupled with the lack of agreement around a legally binding outcome so close to the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2012), heightens the crucial role of international negotiations, especially for small and developing states.

At the November/December 2011 climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, attention will once again focus on the process of building a global climate change architecture. Diplomats and scientists will be at the forefront of negotiations both during the meeting and in the months leading to the conference.

In addition, the relationship between science and political decision-making in the area of climate change will be increasingly important in the upcoming period, following questions regarding the credibility of climate science and the 2010 review of the structure of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Other initiatives, such as the Global Framework for Climate Services (initiated in 2009) emphasise the need to better integrate climate information and decision-making processes. Recent initiatives to use geo-engineering climate solutions have added to the controversy surrounding the role of science in climate change policy.

Climate change will be important in a wide array of policy fields and within a diverse range of global and regional negotiation processes. Today officials involved in fields such as energy, trade, human rights, telecommunications and health also need knowledge about climate change issues.

This course brings together participants from diverse backgrounds to build skills and acquire the knowledge to engage effectively in climate change negotiations and policy processes. At an introductory level, the course will provide a broad overview of climate change issues, equipping participants to represent and promote the interests of their own countries in the global climate change policy process.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding and the ability to participate in current diplomatic and policy processes in the field of climate change.
  • Employ current scientific and policy-related climate change terminology.
  • Identify those international institutional climate change frameworks where their national interests may be most effectively promoted.
  • Identify appropriate partners for climate change policy initiatives.
  • Recognise opportunities where global initiatives and processes can contribute to local development needs.
  • Propose or contribute to an effective national approach for participation in global climate change processes.

In addition, the course will broaden participants’ general understanding of climate change and the global policy response to climate change. In this regard, by the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the climate change phenomenon and the impact of climate change on human society, including different views and schools of thought regarding climate change.
  • Identify and describe the interests of the main players in the climate change policy process.
  • Identify the various international legal documents and institutional frameworks dealing with climate change.
  • Explain the local relevance of global/regional climate change initiatives.

Excerpt from course materials

One of the most frequently debated, and most controversial, questions in climate change diplomacy is the cause of climate change. The question is an important one because identifying the specific causes of climate change leads us to specific policy responses and choices.

Sceptics argue that climate change is mainly a natural phenomenon, and the most radical sceptics suggest that we cannot, and should not, interfere with natural climate change. These views either deny any relevance of anthropogenic causes, minimise their importance, or argue that climate change is so complex that it is difficult to identify specific anthropogenic causes. Climate change sceptics tend to oppose policy action in the field of climate change …

Today, it is clearly established that both natural and anthropogenic factors contribute to climate change. However, many related issues remain unresolved, including the extent of the impact of those two factors and their interplay. Resolving those issues will remain high on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and consequently, important in climate change diplomacy. In our cognitive toolkit, an understanding of the current debate on causes of climate change plays an important part in developing effective argumentation and persuasion.

Course outline

  1. Introduction to climate change diplomacy: description of climate change; definitions, causes and effects; evolution of global discussion on climate change.
  2. Climate change – a cognitive toolkit: a conceptual framework for approaching climate change issues; natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change; scientific uncertainty and the precautionary principle; equity versus efficiency; perfect versus “good enough” solutions; analogies; statistics; temporal aspects; developmental aspects.
  3. National state actors in climate change diplomacy: survey and classification of the main actors in climate change diplomacy; states; ad hoc coalitions and groupings; positions of the main players.
  4. Non-state actors in climate change diplomacy: the role of the media; the scientific community; non-governmental organisations; industry and the fossil fuel lobby; international organisations.
  5. Climate change – legal and policy instruments: international legal documents (Rio conference, UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen Accord); international policy documents (IPCC reports, Global Framework on Climate Services); soft law – policy studies and other important documents (Stern review).
  6. Climate change – levels of activity: global level (UN World Summits, global institutions); regional activities; national activities; sub-national activities; individual lifestyle choices.
  7. Strategies, policies (and some technologies): adaptation; economic development; mitigation; changing human behaviour (economic and non-economic instruments); alternative energy sources; geo-engineering.
  8. The road ahead: Copenhagen negotiations, road to Durban (2011); criticism of the Kyoto Protocol; analysis of what a future framework should look like; alternative proposals for a post-Kyoto architecture.

Note: Climate change diplomacy was originally developed in 2008; this is its fourth year of delivery. Over 150 participants have attended the course over the last three years. Each group of participants has contributed to the development of course materials and the improvement of the course methodology.

Who should apply:

Diplomats, civil servants, scientists, academics, and media representatives involved in climate change research processes and negotiations.

Methodology:

This course is conducted entirely online over a period of ten weeks. Reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. Courses are based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction. Each week, participants read the provided lecture text, adding questions, comments and references in the form of hypertext entries. Tutors and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the lecture text. During the week, participants complete additional online activities (e.g. further discussion via blogs or forums, quizzes, group tasks, simulations or short assignments). At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic.

To complete the course successfully, participants must also write one essay assignment. Participants who meet course requirements will receive a certificate at the end of the course.

This course requires a minimum of five to seven hours of study time per week.

Prerequisites:

Applicants must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR three years of work experience in a relevant field.
  • Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments of up to 2500 words in length).
  • Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).
Fees:
  • €650 per participant

Note: Full scholarships will be provided for qualified applicants representing developing states, with priority given to small developing states. Scholarship support is provided by the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How to apply:

Please apply online for this course. If you are requesting a scholarship, please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. These are required documents and your application will not be considered without them. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in climate change diplomacy.
  • Why you feel you should be selected to participate in this course: how your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Late applications will be considered only if places remain in the course.

In case of enquiries, please contact us at climate@diplomacy.edu


Cancellation Policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.

Contact admissions

DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)

Anutruf, Ground Floor

Hriereb Street

Msida, MSD 1675, Malta

Tel: +356 21 333 323; Fax: +356 21 315 574

admissions@diplomacy.edu

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