Environmental Science and Law
Unit of study descriptions 2014
AFNR5801 Climate Change: Process, History, Issues
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Peter Franks, Dr Dan Penny Session: Semester 2 Classes: 18 hrs lecture/tutorial, 12 hrs practical/field classes, 9 hrs field trip preparation Assumed knowledge: A basic understanding of climate change processes and issues. Assessment: 2hr exam (40%), tutorials (20%), practical report from field exercise (manuscript format) (40%),
This unit provides students with an overview of current debates and approaches to understanding and quantifying interactions between the biosphere, oceans and atmosphere, as used around the world, and the consequences of those interactions for climate. The unit considers climate change on a variety of timescales.
This unit will include a weekend field trip to Snowy Mountains field sites managed by the University of Sydney where students will be introduced to cutting edge, ongoing climate change research.
A reading list will be provided consisting of selected book chapters, journal articles and other publications
ENVI5501 Environmental Research Project
Credit points: 12 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Jeff Neilson Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Meetings arranged with supervisor. Prerequisites: 24 credit points of study with a distinction average or better Assessment: Written report and continuous assessment (100%)
A valuable opportunity to apply some of the knowledge gained from earlier coursework, ENVI5501 consists of a research project as arranged between you (the student) and an appropriate supervisor. The project topic may contain a field or laboratory component, or may be entirely literature-based, but it must include an integrated analysis of an identified environmental problem. Potential topics range from ecotourism to pollution detection and monitoring, erosion to solar power, environmental law to conservation biology. The topic must be able to be completed within the timeframe of 16 weeks (one semester) of investigation, including the literature survey, sample and data collection, analysis of data and results, and write up of the report. This unit is not conducted by way of a number of contact hours per week for a semester. Instead, the student will work on the project full-time (aside from other study commitments) in a continuous manner for the entire duration (1 semester). This unit of study is only available to students in the Master programs who have completed 24 credit points of study with a distinction average or better. Any student interested in taking ENVI5501 should identify and consult with an appropriate supervisor along with Environmental Science Program Coordinator Dr Jeff Neilson (email@example.com) well before the semester commences.
ENVI5705 Ecological Principles
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Charlotte Taylor Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 3-hour lecture per week. Assessment: Case study, assignment, critical review, presentation (100%)
This unit of study introduces fundamental concepts of modern ecology for environmental scientists through a series of modules focussing on applied questions. Using case studies from Australia, students are exposed to the challenges of doing ecology and how cutting edge research is being applied to environmental management using evidence-based approaches. Meetings and discussions with people working in the field give students an insight into the ways that ecologists address ecological problems and how way they generate an understanding of natural systems. Students have the opportunity to consider different ways of doing science and ways of dealing with different kinds of data, including qualitative, quantitative, anecdotal and experimental approaches
ENVI5707 Energy - Sources, Uses and Alternatives
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Chris Dey Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2-hour lecture, 1-hour seminar per week and field trips. Assumed knowledge: A basic understanding of HSC-level General Mathematics or equivalent. Assessment: Major essay, assignments, tutorial paper and presentation (100%).
The environmental impacts and physical principles of energy generation and use are addressed in this unit of study. Major topics include discussion of the various energy sources, global energy resources, the economics associated with energy conversion, the politics and culture that surround energy conversion and use, and renewable energy technologies. A key aspect of the unit is the fostering of skills for performing simple but useful energy and greenhouse calculations. This unit of study includes several field trips to energy utilities and associated energy sites.
ENVI5708 Introduction to Environmental Chemistry
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Feike Dijkstra Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 2-hour lecture and one practical per week; one field trip Assessment: Presentation (20%), Report (80%).
The aim of the course is to introduce students to the major physical and chemical processes that control the concentration and dispersion of chemical pollutants in natural and impacted environments. The course will demonstrate how to use contaminant data effectively and how to judge the quality of chemical data. This knowledge will be used to design and to assess environmental projects, and to judge the magnitude of impact by human activity on environments and the risk posed by contaminants to ecosystem functioning. The course aims to provide present and future managers employed in environmental professions with the skills to use data with confidence and to make management decisions knowing the risks inherent in variable data quality. A field trip will be undertaken early in the semester.
ENVI5801 Social Science of Environment
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Josephine Gillespie Session: Semester 1 Classes: One hour lecture and one hour seminar per week plus directed reading. Assessment: Essays and seminar participation (100%)
This unit provides both a conceptual and an empirical foundation for the analysis of relationships between society, the environment and natural resources. In our recent past the rapid rate of global environmental change has necessitated a breakdown of traditional disciplinary boundaries in research and social scientists are increasingly called upon to work alongside natural scientists in unraveling the complexities of the human-environmental nexus. Students will examine a number of environmental issues and consider a variety of social science academic perspectives about environmental management.
ENVI5809 Environmental Simulation Modelling
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr David Chapman Session: Semester 2a Classes: Six sessions Assessment: Report (100%)
This unit of study introduces participants to the power of simulation modelling in understanding and predicting behaviour of natural systems. It covers fundamental concepts, logic, and techniques (including sensitivity analysis), and develops skills in application to environmental problems such as catchment management and population dynamics.
ENVI5903 Sustainable Development
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Jeff Neilson and Prof Phil Hirsch Session: Int July Classes: Two pre-departure lectures, 14-day field intensive. Assessment: Essay (100%)
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
This unit of study constitutes an international field-based experience held in Indonesia during the July semester break. It explores the contested notions of sustainable development and sustainability through exposure to real world development dilemmas in one of Asia's most dynamic countries. We explore fundamental issues such as urbanization, resource scarcity and economic globalization. The unit of study involves lectures, in-situ readings and discussion groups, introduction to field methods, stakeholder meetings and experiential learning. Students interested in this unit should confirm their interest to the Unit Coordinator by the end of March of the year the field school will be held. There will be additional costs associated with this unit to cover food, accommodation, local transport and field assistance of about $1200 Students will also be required to arrange their own international travel to the starting point (either Bangkok or Jakarta).
ENVI5904 Methods in Applied Ecology
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Ross Coleman Session: Semester 2 Classes: One 3-hour lecture per week for 8 weeks. Assessment: Tutorials, oral presentations and written reports (100%)
No assessment of potential environmental impacts is possible without relevant information about the ecological consequences. This unit is for those without a quantitative ecology background, to explain the need to quantify and what are relevant measures. Describing and understanding uncertainty will be explained in the context of precautionary principles. Issues about measuring biodiversity and the spatial and temporal problems of ecological systems will be introduced. Field experience will also be available (up to two of six hour sessions) subject to weather, tides and available staffing; please note that these sessions are voluntary.
GEOG5001 Geographic Information Science A
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr David Chapman Session: Semester 1 Classes: Six lectures plus six workshops. Assessment: Report (100%)
This unit of study gives an overview of basic spatial data models, and enables students to understand the use of data from a variety of sources within a geographical information system (GIS). The analysis of spatial data, and its manipulation to address questions appropriate to planning or locational applications, will be addressed, as will the development of thematic maps from diverse data layers.
GEOS5501 Human Rights and the Environment
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Josephine Gillespie Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two hours of class contact per week plus self-directed study Assessment: Major essay (50%), minor essay (30%) and seminars (20%)
The global community is faced with the collision between obligations to protect human rights and the environment. Environmental degradation is on the increase while, simultaneously, we are witnessing a growing demand to meet human rights obligations. Both these phenomena necessitate a re-think of the way human / environment nexus. This unit of study addresses the diverse and complex interaction between human rights and the environment. We examine whether human rights can be secured in degraded or polluted environments. We consider whether the aims of human rights and environmental protection complement or contradict one another. The course deals with the human rights and the environment through a series of lectures seminars.
MARS5007 Coral Reefs and Climate Change
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Jody Webster Session: Semester 1a Classes: University based delivery: Prefield trip tutorials and lectures. Field based delivery: Lectures, seminars and tutorials. Individual consultations to develop concepts in research, independent research and oral presentation. Assessment: Written assignments: essay and project report; oral presentations; seminar and lecture participation (100%).
This unit provides an in - depth understanding of the key geological, oceanographic, biological and economic factors effecting global climate change and coral reef response, with specific reference to the Great Barrier Reef. Predictions of worst and best case scenarios for the future of coral reef systems are discussed in the context of the latest science, and in light of how this science should underpin future management strategies and policy. Learning activities will include a series of background lectures and research seminars, and tutorials on the development of a major research project. A major aspect of this unit is an independent research project conducted under the supervision of the course instructors. The unit concludes with a series of oral presentations based on student research. Assessment tasks will consist of an essay, a research seminar, and a research project report and presentation. This is a field intensive course held at either One Tree Island or Heron Island or Orpheus Island Research Stations. This unit will be run over 6-8 days and there will be an additional course fee for transport, food and accommodation, expected to be about $700 (ex. travel to and from Gladstone/Townsville).
RESP5001 Integrated Environmental Practice
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof D Dragovich Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: Four 4-hour lectures and two 4-hour laboratory classes per semester Assessment: One research proposal, One literature review and one oral presentation (100%)
This unit will provide an opportunity for students to synthesize and draw conclusions from their coursework experience and learning, and to enable them to revise and/or develop the necessary skills for engaging with environmental research as part of their intellectual and/or professional growth. The unit focuses on skills in cross-disciplinary problem identification and the use of integrated analysis to address environmental challenges. Other skills include critical reading and critical writing, undertaking a literature review, understanding how research is conducted and published, library search techniques, use of referencing systems like EndNote, and matters relating to intellectual property and authorship.
WILD5001 Australasian Wildlife: Introduction
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Mathew Crowther Session: Int August Classes: Intensively taught unit, the remainder of the unit will involve personal study and project activity. See the Wildlife Health and Population Management website for dates. Assessment: Assessments for each unit may include practical work, field studies, student presentations and written reports (100%)
This unit of study provides an introduction to the wildlife of Australasia, an overview of the present status of that wildlife, and an understanding of both conservation problems and management solutions. Issues in wildlife management are exemplified using a broad range of vertebrate species occupying different environments. Emphasis is placed on providing students with a coordinated and interdisciplinary approach to wildlife health and management, and on developing expertise in recognising and solving a broad range of problems in field populations. The unit integrates lectures, practical work and supervised study, and offers students the opportunity to work through real-world wildlife conservation problems relevant to their individual backgrounds.
WILD5002 Australasian Wildlife: Field Studies
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Mathew Crowther Session: Int Sept Classes: Intensively taught unit. See the Wildlife Health and Population Management website for dates. Assessment: Assessments for each unit may include practical work, field studies, student presentations and written reports (100%)
This unit of study provides a first-hand introduction to the wildlife of Australasia, a practical overview of the present status of that wildlife, and an understanding of both conservation problems and management solutions. Issues in wildlife management are exemplified using sampling and diagnostic methods on a broad range of vertebrate species occupying different environments. The unit follows on from WILD5001 and provides practical experience via a five day field trip at the university farm "Arthursleigh" near Marulan NSW.
LAWS6043 Environmental Impact Assessment Law
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Ms Nicola Franklin, Mr Jeff Smith Session: Int May Classes: May 23, 24 & 30, 31 (9-5) Assessment: 4000wd essay (50%) and take-home exam (50%)
This unit has three fundamental aims. The first is to provide a sound analysis of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures in NSW and at the Commonwealth level. The second aim is to develop a critical understanding of EIA as a distinctive regulatory device by examining its historical, ethical and political dimensions as well as relevant aspects of legal theory. The third and ultimate aim is to combine these doctrinal and theoretical forms of knowledge so we can suggest possible improvements to the current practice of EIA in Australia.
LAWS6044 Environmental Law and Policy
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Adj Prof Gerry Bates, Mr Jeff Smith Session: Int August,Int March Classes: S103 (Group A): Mar 14, 15 & 28, 29 (9-5), S108 (Group B): Aug 8, 9 & 15, 16 (9-5) Assumed knowledge: LAWS6252 or law degree from a common law jurisdiction Assessment: 5000wd essay (60%) and take-home exam (40%)
Note: Environmental Law students must complete LAWS6252 and this core unit prior to enrolling in other law elective units.
The aim of the unit is to introduce students to overarching themes in environmental law and policy as a foundation to their more detailed studies for the Environmental Law Program. This is an overview unit addressing a number of environmental issues at various levels of analysis; such as policy making, implementation of policy and dispute resolution. The concept of ecologically sustainable development and its implications for environmental law and policy is a continuing theme. The unit is designed to develop multi-dimensional thinking about environmental issues and the strategies needed to address them. The unit provides a broad background of the political and economic issues in so far as they are related to the legal issues involved.
LAWS6045 Environmental Planning Law
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Andrew Edgar Session: Int August Classes: Aug 22, 23 & 29, 30 (9-5) Assessment: class participation (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%)
This unit examines the legal and institutional structures for land-use regulation and the resolution of land-use conflicts. The focus is on environmental planning, development control and environmental impact assessment. The unit will examine the design of environmental planning systems, the various types of development assessment systems, the opportunities for public involvement in decision-making processes, and the role of courts and tribunals in resolving land-use disputes.
LAWS6047 Law of the Sea
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Assoc Prof Tim Stephens Session: Int June Classes: May 29, 30 & Jun 5, 6 (9-5) Assessment: 5000wd essay (60%) and take-home exam (40%)
The oceans cover two-thirds of the world's surface, and are vital to international commerce, are a store of important living and non-living resources, and provide indispensable environmental services including stabilising the global climate system. This unit reviews the major areas of the law of the sea as it has developed over the centuries. The unit takes as its focus the 'constitution' of the oceans, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and also considers a range of other international conventions and agreements, and current state practice. Each of the major maritime zones is assessed, and there is also a detailed review of several sectoral issues, including the protection of the marine environment, fisheries, navigational rights and freedoms, and military uses of the oceans. Where appropriate, reference will be made throughout the unit to relevant Australian law and practice, and to other state practice in the Asia Pacific Region.
LAWS6061 International Environmental Law
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Rosemary Lyster, Ms Kate Owens Session: Int May Classes: May 7-10 (9-5) Assessment: 2500wd problem-based assignment (30%) and 5500wd essay (70%)
Note: Students seeking further study in international environmental law may undertake LAWS6922 Advanced International Environmental Law.
This unit aims to provide students with an overview of the development of international environmental law throughout the twentieth century. Attention will primarily be devoted to the international law and policy responses to global and regional environmental and resource management issues. Basic principles will be discussed prior to taking a sectoral approach in looking at the application of international environmental law in specific issue areas. The unit includes material on implementation of international environmental law in the Asia Pacific region. Relevant Australian laws and initiatives will be referred to from time to time. The focus is on law and policy that has been applied to deal with environmental problems in an international and transboundary context.
LAWS6163 Energy and Climate Law
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Rosemary Lyster Session: Int October Classes: Sep 26, 27 & 29, 30 (9-5) Prohibitions: LAWS6863 Assessment: class participation (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%)
Note: The unit replaced LAWS6163 International & Australian Climate Law (formerly Energy Law).
This unit adopts an inter-disciplinary and integrative approach to understanding the dynamics of one of the most pressing global environmental concerns ecologically sustainable energy use. Working loosely within the framework of the Climate Change Convention, the unit relies on the perspectives of scientists, lawyers and economists to develop an integrated approach to sustainable energy use. The unit identifies current patterns of energy use in Australia and examines Australia's response to the Climate Change Convention. It also analyses the strengths and weaknesses of various political, legal and economic mechanisms for influencing the choice of energy use. The initiatives of the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments, as well as local councils, to promote sustainable energy use and to combat global warming are scrutinised.
LAWS6191 Water Law and Climate Change
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Rosemary Lyster Session: Int November Classes: Oct 24, 25 & 31 & Nov 1 (9-5) Assessment: class participation (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%)
Note: This unit replaced LAWS6191 Water Law
This unit of study situates the management of Australia's water resources within an International Law context including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, International Water Law principles and an internationally recognised human right to water. The unit examines the ecologically sustainable management of water resources in the context of climate change, with Australia being the driest inhabited continent. According to the Garnaut Climate Change Review, climate change could halve the productive capacity of the Murray Darling Basin, which produces one third of Australia's food supply, by 2050. In May 2012, the Murray Darling Basin Authority released the controversial Draft Basin Plan which proposes to allocate more water for the environment. At the same time, the Council of Australian Governments is pursuing a decade long process of water reform to establish a national water trading market by 2014. Consequently, the unit examines water resource management from the interdisciplinary perspectives of law, science and within the context of broader economic reform and the National Competition Policy framework. The corporatisation of water utilities and competition in the water service market is also discussed. Key legislation covered are the Water Act 2007 (Cth) and the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW).
LAWS6314 Coastal and Marine Law
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Assoc Prof Tim Stephens Session: Int October Classes: Oct 10, 11 & 17, 18 (9-5) Assessment: 4000wd essay (40%) and take-home exam (60%)
This unit examines legal and policy frameworks for the management of coastal and marine areas in Australia. Topics addressed include the characteristics of Australian coastal and marine environments, the constitutional framework for the management of offshore areas, the regulation of marine pollution, marine parks and reserves, fisheries management, the regulation of offshore oil and gas resource extraction, and the management of climate change impacts on coastal and marine areas.
Rachel Baird and Donald R Rothwell (eds), Australian Coastal and Marine Law (Federation Press, 2011)
LAWS6320 Climate Disaster Law
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Rosemary Lyster, Assoc Prof T Stephens, Prof Kurt Deketelaere Session: Int July Classes: Jul 7, 8 & 10, 11. Please visit the Sydney Law School in Europe website http://sydney.edu.au/law/fstudent/coursework/LLM/index.shtml Assessment: 8000-10,000wd essay (100%)
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Recent extreme weather events and disasters around the world have resulted in loss of life, property, infrastructure and livelihoods and have severely disrupted the normal functioning of the societies which they have impacted. Worldwide insured losses alone from weather-related disasters have risen from US$5.1 billion per year between 1970-1989 to US$27 billion annually over the past two decades. International climate change negotiations have, over the past five years, delivered outcomes that are entirely inadequate to meet the goal set by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of keeping the rise in average global temperatures below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures. This unit of study adopts a climate justice approach to assess the respective roles and responsibilities of government and insurers to avoid, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and compensate for, the risks of climate disasters. The questions of avoidance and recovery will rely heavily on traditional Environmental Law mechanisms such as environmental planning and assessment and pollution and waste regimes, as well as the protection of biodiversity. The unit will also assess the viability of tort law and strict liability regimes for hazardous activities to compensate those who are impacted by climate disasters. The strict liability regimes include: global oil pollution spills, hazardous chemicals, asbestos and nuclear disasters. The unit will be taught by an esteemed international team of climate lawyers and individuals with experience in the insurance industry.
The objectives of this unit of study are to: Understand the science presented in two recent scientific reports, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2012 Special Report Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX), published in 2012, and the Australian Climate Commission's (CCC) 2013 The Critical Decade: Extreme Weather, (Extreme Weather Report, Understand the foundations of climate justice in the context of climate disasters, Understand the relevance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the loss and damage mechanism, and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, The role of governments in enacting climate disaster risk reduction laws including: The role of Environmental and Planning Assessment Law and Building Codes in attempting to prevent climate disasters, Pollution, waste and contamination laws in the post-disaster phases, Biodiversity Law that is expected to protect species from the impacts of climate change and disasters, as well as promote ecosystems as disaster prevention measures, Governance arrangements between levels of government during and post the disaster, Compensatory regimes including those provided by government and the private sector through ex-post disaster relief, insurance and the capital markets; and The strengths and weaknesses of tort and strict liability regimes for compensating the victims of disaster.
LAWS6936 Carbon Trading, Derivatives and Taxation
Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof R Lyster (Coordinator), Ms Celeste Black, Assoc Prof Tim Stephens Session: Int May Classes: May 14-17 (9-5) Assessment: take-home exam (100%)
This unit of study is designed to appeal to students across a broad range of postgraduate programs and expands on existing offerings in the area of Climate Law. The unit will cover four discrete topics on each day of the four day intensive: International Climate Law (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, post-2012 negotiations) and domestic Climate Law (measures effecting a price on carbon and other relevant environmental markets); understanding how to trade carbon and other certificates on a variety of environmental markets; understanding the relevant carbon and other derivative markets; and understanding the taxation implications of participating in carbon and other environmental markets. The unit assumes a basic knowledge of environmental law. The unit brings together experts within the Sydney Law School, including environmental and taxation lawyers, and experts in carbon trading and derivative markets in private practice.