ENV101 - Global Warming Concepts

Outline info
Semester
School
Last revision date 2017-11-21 11:11:46.866
Last review date 2017-11-21 11:11:51.594


Subject Title
Global Warming Concepts

Subject Description
Students develop an awareness of the current scientific certainties in global warming versus what is not certain, historical and current political issue related to global awareness, including topics such as the Kyoto agreement, ethical responsibilities of individuals, corporations, and governments, and the conflictions between economic development and the environment. This course provides the opportunity for students to develop greater understanding of social awareness and the relationship between science, technology and an individual's responsibility to society and the environment.

Credit Status
One credit towards the Environmental Management Certificate Program

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases and evidence of climate change.
  2. Discuss the carbon cycle and its relationship with climate change.
  3. Debate current political issues affecting actions to reduce green house gas emissions considering Canada's obligations under international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol.
  4. Discuss the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s current state of knowledge on climate change potential impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
  5. Determine the amount of CO2 you are responsible for emitting into the atmosphere through your daily activities, and ways you can reduce your green house gas emissions.
  6. Discuss local adaptation methods to climate change predictions.
  7. Assess the economic, social and environmental costs of green house gas reductions versus the global economy.
  8. Apply your knowledge of anthropogenic climate change and evaluate the level of ethical responsibility you and your peers accept for the welfare and continued existence of life on Earth.
  9. Describe twelve sustainable (alternative) energies and briefly explain their applications and how each can contribute to mitigating climate change. 

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on http://library.senecacollege.ca for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

Discrimination/Harassment
All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at student.conduct@senecacollege.ca.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

Prerequisite(s)
None

Topic Outline

  • Scientific method
  • Greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases
  • Scientific evidence of climate change - historical and current
  • Carbon cycle
  • Natural environmental and geological causes for climate change
  • Scientific evidence of human influence on climate change
  • Effects of climate change on health, economics, agriculture, social and habitat
  • Current political issues affecting national action on climate change
  • Ethical issues - personal, societal and National
  • International agreements such as Kyoto Agreement
  • Economics of action versus inaction - Stern Report
  • Feedback loops
  • Role of individual in reducing greenhouse gases
  • Mitigation and local adaptation
  • Alternative sustainable energies

Subtopics:

Section A
  1. Research and discuss the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases and evidence of climate change.
  2. Define climate and weather.
  3. Research and discuss past and current climate determining significant changes and influences.
  4. Research and discuss the greenhouse effects of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour.
  5. Apply the scientific method to evaluating evidence of the greenhouse effect and climate change.
  6. Research and discuss anthropogenic influences and causes for the major greenhouse gases.
  7. Name three positive and negative anthropogenic radioactive forgings and three natural anthropogenic forgings.

Section B
  1. Discuss the carbon cycle and its relationship with climate change.
  2. Discuss how plants and animals influence CO2 in the atmosphere.
  3. Research and discuss the historical relationship of CO2 and climate change.
  4. Describe why scientists are concerned about the current rate of climate change.
  5. Name and describe the five primary reservoirs for carbon on earth.
  6. Briefly describe the Earth's carbon cycle.
  7. Debate the effects of climate change on the function of major carbon sinks and potential feedback loops.
  8. Debate current political issues affecting actions to reduce green house gas emissions considering Canada’s obligations under international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol.

Section C
  1. Research and debate Canada's obligations under the Kyoto protocol, how it might affect industry, society, environment, Federal and Provincial governments and present personal views on the issues.
  2. Research the current Federal government's position on climate change action and discuss the Canadian public's commitment to meeting Kyoto.
  3. Discuss the moral issues related to global warming and the Canadian government’s current position, considering a national and international perspective.
  4. Research carbon taxes and carbon emissions cap and trade. Review current federal and provincial government positions and present personal views on the issues.

Section D
  1. Discuss the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s current state of knowledge on climate change—potential impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
  2. Locate on the Internet the IPCC Working Group II
  3. Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
  4. Discuss the major elements of the IPCC Working Group II report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
  5. Discuss how natural systems have been affected by climate change.
  6. Determine the IPPC's position on the possibility that the observed effects could have been caused by natural variability of temperature or by natural systems.
  7. Determine specific information concerning future impacts of climate change on freshwater, the ecosystems, global food production, coastal systems and low lying areas, and human health in major areas throughout the world.
  8. Determine the adaptation necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions, and state five barriers to implementation of adaptation strategies.

Section E
  1. Determine the amount of CO2 you are responsible for emitting into the atmosphere through your daily activities, and ways you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Use the Environment Canada website to determine your personal carbon footprint.
  3. Use the Earthcare Sudbury home audit site to determine your personal home carbon emissions and to determine how you can reduce their emissions.
  4. Research the Internet and determine five ways you can reduce your personal transportation carbon emissions.

Section F
  1. Research and discuss local adaptation methods to climate change predictions.
  2. Students will research the Natural Resources Canada website on Climate Change, Impacts and Adaptation and will prepare a three page report on a topic listed below considering the following: What are the major issues? What should citizens, politicians and industries/ businesses leaders in your community do to prepare for and adapt to climate change?
  3. Topic 1 – Health Care
  4. Topic #2 – Food security / agriculture
  5. Topic 3 – Infrastructure
  6. Topic 4 – Air quality
  7. Topic 5 – Tourism
  8. Topic 6 – Residential buildings (homes)

Section G
  1. Assess the economic, social and environmental costs of green house gas reductions versus the global economy. Students will research the Stern Report on The
  2. Economics of Climate Change and write a two to three page report answering the following questions:
  3. Should the world proceed with the recommendation made by Nicholas Stern and the IPCC with the resulting effect on the economy of a 1% drop in the GDP?
  4. Should the world hold off any action to curb the emission of green house gases until climate scientist can tell us that climate change is definitely caused by human activity?
  5. Are there other options?

Section H
  1. Apply your knowledge of anthropogenic climate change and evaluate the level of ethical responsibility you and your peers accept for the welfare and continued existence of life on Earth.
  2. Students will prepare a 2 to 3 page written or electronic media report on the issue of ethics and global climate change. The report will be based on interviews with people in their community.

Section I
  1. Research and describe twelve sustainable (alternative) energies and briefly explain their applications and how each can contribute to mitigating climate change.
  2. Students will research one of the twelve sustainable energies and write a one-page report on the pros and cons of that energy.

Mode of Instruction
On-line
This subject is delivered online. This may involve the use of digital materials and/or a text, group discussions, interaction with your instructor and online activities.

Prescribed Texts
You will need to rent or purchase a copy of the movie, An Inconvenient Truth (available at http://www.climatecrisis.net/) by Al Gore and be able to view the movie on a DVD player or on your computer. The movie can be purchased on line or rented from a video rental store.
Publisher: Paramount Classics

Reference Material
None.

Required Supplies
Computer with Internet access

Microsoft Word and DVD Player

Access to the movie: An Inconvenient Truth 

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
OR
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online (http://www.senecacollege.ca/academic-policy) or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.


Modes of Evaluation
Attendance 20%

Research Reports 30%

Tests 20%

Assignments 30%


PLEASE RETAIN THIS SUBJECT OUTLINE FOR POSSIBLE FUTURE USE IN SUPPORT OF CREDIT APPLICATIONS AT OTHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.

Approved by: Sharon Estok