The UNSW Peak carbon: climate change and energy policy (GEOS2241) course provides insight into one of the most important policy changes confronting Australia and the world today: climate change. This course will give you an understanding of the fundamentals of the relationship between energy policy and climate change at both the domestic and international level.

In 2016, Australia joined over 170 countries in signing the Paris Agreement – a pledge to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Australia has agreed that by 2030, it will reach an emission reduction of 26-28% from levels in 2005. Currently, we’re off track to meet that target.

What can we do differently and how will we need to implement these changes?

This course will cover the ethics and international inequality around climate impacts and energy policy, consumption capitalism and the circular economy. We will explore zero and negative carbon technologies and new ways to store energy. We will focus on the transport and building sectors to see what we can do differently, and via an analysis of subsidies, cost curves and employment policies understand what we must do domestically to make significant change fast.

Course breakdown

Each week, you’ll attend a three-hour active seminar-style class with a one-hour tutorial. 

Course learning outcomes include:

  1. Outline the key drivers of the climate system, interactions between climate system components and how the use of energy affects our climate system.
  2. Critically analyse relevant material from a range of scientific and public information sources.
  3. Describe the scientific method, the peer review process.
  4. Evaluate examples of energy and climate policy strategies.
  5. Work effectively as part of a problem-solving team.

Conditions for enrolment 

To be eligible for this course, you’ll need to have completed 30 units of credit (UoC) at level one.

Career opportunities

In studying Climate Change and Energy Policy, career opportunities open in the following areas:

  • Government Policymaker
  • Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Researcher
  • Energy Policy Analysis for Government or NGO

From this course, you can also further your study in honours or conduct postgraduate research in climate change, impacts and adaptation work.

You can also broaden your horizons within the field of Environment and explore study in renewable energy, natural resource management, sustainable development and much more.

What our graduates say

“The course has a lot of interactive activities and videos that explain the concepts. The online reading and resources are very insightful and relevant to the course structure.”

- Peak Carbon course graduate.

Find out more

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Donna Green.


T: +61 2 9385 8956