Aberystwyth and Climate Change

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you”, says world famous primatologist Jane Goodall.

Here at Aberystwyth University we recognise this, and have accordingly developed a number of degrees specifically to ensure students understand and can help develop solutions for the biggest challenge facing the planet and its people today, Climate Change.

This isn’t just a challenge for scientists, so we have developed a wide range of Climate Change-related degrees across diverse subject areas, spanning the Arts/Humanities and the Sciences:

Climate Change Courses

Climate Change Courses

Biology and Climate Change: looking at the how humans have brought about change to the processes underlying climate change, and the impact of climate change on biodiversity at the level of species, habitat and ecosystem.
BSc Biology and Climate Change FC71*
BSc Biology and Climate Change (with integrated year in industry) FC72*
BSc Biology and Climate Change with foundation year FC7F*

Business and Climate Change: preparing future business leaders to tackle climate change impacts through the development of meaningful corporate social responsibility strategies and practices, by imparting both a knowledge of the relevant science and encouraging the skills to lead a successful sustainable business. 
BSc Business and Climate Change FN71*

Economics and Climate Change: combining a knowledge of the science underpinning climate change, combined with a range of economic tools to allow understanding and development of policies and incentives supporting the move to a carbon neutral economy.
BSc Economics and Climate Change FL71

English Studies and Climate Change: combining a knowledge of climate science with a critical understanding of the debates surrounding the subject, and investigation of how climate change and environmental degradation have been communicated in literature from the nineteenth century to the present day. 
BA English Studies and Climate Change FQ73

International Relations and Climate Change: the global climate emergency can only be tackled if it secures co-operation from the local to national, regional and global level, so this innovative degree looks at how states and societies manage the planet’s resources and ecological systems, and how they can develop effective societal and political solutions to the issue. 
BA International Relations and Climate Change (BA, 3 years)
BA International Relations and Climate Change (with integrated year in industry) (BA, 4 years)

*Welsh medium provision available in these schemes

These new schemes complement and extend Aberystwyth University’s long-established sector-leading provision in environmental change in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, and in the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences including human and physical geography as well as environmental science, environmental earth science and sociology throughout which climate change is a fundamental theme.

In partnership with Channel Talent, world class Aberystwyth academics have been running live webinars discussing Climate Change in regard to their subject area. Recordings of these discussions are also kept on these pages.

Previous Episodes

International Relations: Climate Change & Political Ideologies


In this Politics webinar for school and college students and teachers, Professor Milja Kurki  from Aberystwyth University asks How do we Tackle Climate Change and What do Political Ideologies Have to do With It?’

Climate change and related ecological challenges present some fundamental challenges to politics on the planet: local, national and global. But how can climate change be tackled when states and communities often focus on securing their own survival and prosperity, at the expense of others’? And what is the relevance of ‘political ideologies’ in addressing the cutting edge challenges of climate change?

In this session, Milja shows how both classical and more recently developed political ideologies are highly relevant to today’s climate debates and demonstrates how they are tied up with bringing about change – if very different kinds of change!


Business: Exploring The Reciprocal Relationship Of Business And Climate Change

Business: Exploring The Reciprocal Relationship Of Business And Climate Change With Professor Andrew Thomas, Dr Ian Harris & Mr Tim Gillison From Aberystwyth University

In this Business webinar for school and college students and teachers, Professor Andrew Thomas, Dr Ian Harris, and Mr Tim Gillison, from Aberystwyth Business School introduce: Exploring the Reciprocal Relationship of Business and Climate Change?

Typically evaluated in business theory as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) the reciprocal impacts of business and climate change are becoming significantly expanded; predicated by new generations of consumers and the greater awareness they bring of the effects consumption has on the environment and climate change, and ultimately “their future”. The developed world for the last 50 years has seen the age of the corporate, organisations designed to maximise profit for their investors with few checks and balances on their behaviour and the consequences of their actions. However, climate change and related ecological challenges present new and fundamental challenges to business: local, national and global. But how can climate change be tackled when business communities typically focus on securing their survival and prosperity, at the expense of others? And what is the relevance of ‘ethical business ideologies’ in addressing the cutting edge challenges of climate change? An introductory session that supports Level 3 Business specification content such as Business Management and Leadership, Choosing Strategic Direction, Operations and Marketing Decision Making.

This Webinar sets a baseline for the innovative Business and Climate Change (BSc) Degree being delivered by Aberystwyth University from September 2020 In this session, Andrew, Ian and Tim introduce perspectives that outline the opportunities and the challenges of this new normal!

Biology: The Impacts Of Climate Change On Biodiversity

Biology: The Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity with Dr Jim Provan and Dr Gemma Beatty.

One of the great ironies of the challenges facing the planet in this era of climate change is that of the countless species that inhabit the Earth. It is the actions of just one of these species that could have profound impacts on the vast majority of the others.

What will these impacts be?  In the face of climate change, species can either adapt to new conditions, migrate to more suitable habitats, or – ultimately – become extinct.  This webinar will explore the threats faced by the entire spectrum of biodiversity in our rapidly changing world, and the capacity of different species to respond to these threats.

Geography: Sustainability Issues Facing the Planet

In this interactive lecture for school/college students and teachers, Professor Mark Whitehead will outline the key sustainability issues facing the planet and the challenges that exist when trying to secure a more sustainable future for humanity.

The session will reflect on population growth, energy use, food and water supply, and climate change. It will also consider the different ways in which we can think about and measure sustainability. Students will be asked regular questions during the session and will be expected to complete a short five minute exercise related to Sustainable Development Goals.

The key session objectives are:

  • To outline the key sustainability challenges facing the planet
  • The define what sustainability means
  • To explore the strengths and weakness of the different methods that exist to measure sustainability
  • To introduce the idea of donut economics.


Economics: Externalities and Policy Response

In this Economics webinar  for school and college students and teachers, Professor Mike Christie from Aberystwyth University’s Business School will discuss: Externalities and policy response

When firms make decisions about what, and how much, to produce, they tend to only consider their private costs and benefits, thus maximising their profits. Similarly, when an individual consumes a good, they also focus on their private costs and benefits to maximise their utility. In both cases, their decisions tend to ignore external costs and benefits. For example, if John flies to Rome for a weekend break, he will consider the costs of his flight and accommodation and weighs these up against the benefits he receives from the vacation. However, his decision will not include the externality costs of the carbon emitted while flying and the subsequent impacts of climate change. An externality is thus the cost or benefit that affects a third party who did not choose to incur that cost or benefit. In John’s case, the externality is the climate change impacts of the emitted carbon. Externalities are often the root cause of many environmental problems including climate change.

In this webinar, we will draw on economic theory to discuss: (i) the externality impacts of climate change, and (ii) the national / international policy responses to tackle climate change. Policy responses discussed will include: the Stern Review on the Economics of climate change, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

This webinar is targeted to support AS / A (Level 3) Economic specifications, including Market failure, Externalities, Government intervention, Policy instruments and Global economics. This Webinar sets a baseline for the innovative, new BSc Economics and Climate Change degree, which will be offered by Aberystwyth University from September 2020. 

English Studies: Climate Change

In this webinar for school/college students and teachers, Dr Neal Alexander from Aberystwyth University explores the following matters:

  • Imagining climate change
  • Language and the politics of climate change
  • Literature and the Anthropocene
  • Causes and effects: some literary examples
  • Literature and the non-human

This entertaining yet challenging interactive session aims:

  1. To enhance students’ awareness of the ways in which literature can influence and direct the ways in which we think and talk about climate change
  2. To encourage students to reflect critically upon the dominant vocabularies, images, and metaphors in the media and popular discourse.                                                                             
  3. To raise some key ethical, political, and aesthetic questions concerning the representation of climate change, its causes, and its effects.

Physics: Climate Change

In this interactive lecture, physicists (Dr Rachel Cross & Dr Huw Morgan) from Aberystwyth University will discuss how we are working on issues linked to climate change. Students will be asked regular questions during the session and are free to asks questions throughout.

Physics touches many aspects of our everyday life in ways you may not realise; from the study of the very small in materials physics to the very large in space physics. In this session we will consider the different careers using physics and some of the ways physics is being used to investigate the realities of climate change.

The session will discuss the fundamental physics behind some of the effects of climate change being observed, how we use space weather observations, and the research into renewable energy sources, such as solar, to meet our rising energy demands in a sustainable way.

The key topics discussed in this session are:

  • Careers in physics
  • Fundamental physics of climate change – Newton’s Cooling Law
  • Space weather and climate change
  • Renewable energy sources – Solar