IR6007 - Politics of Oil and Global Warming

What will I learn on this module?

Two of the most important problems facing humanity are climate change and energy security. In terms of solutions, a number of very different approaches have been suggested that range from the technological to the radical; how we address and solve these problems is therefore political. This module highlights how energy and resource intensive the average Western way of life is and what this means for climate change and energy security; explores the debate about peak oil (i.e. the point at which cheap and easily accessible oil starts to run out) and considers its political implications; investigates how Western foreign policy has been influenced by the desire to access, if not control, energy sources (e.g. Middle Eastern oil); evaluates the debate about climate change and how politicians have, and could, respond; and assesses the debate about energy policy and how politicians have, and could, respond to the twin demands of tackling global warming while ‘keeping the lights on’.

How will I learn on this module?

The learning and teaching strategy will employ a variety of methods that are appropriate for Level 6 students. Directed learning will take the form of taught lectures in which the Module Tutor will set out the main topics, perspectives and debates, thus providing a framework for the student’s independent learning. These will be augmented by student-led seminars – small-group sessions that draw upon the student’s reading, review the existing literature, survey the historical and contemporary debates, and encourage critical thinking.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Via a module handbook with details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides made available on the e-learning portal; feedback during seminar sessions; opportunities to seek personalized support after lectures, seminars and/or specific office appointments.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Understand and critically appraise the relationship between climate change and energy and domestic and foreign policy-making.

2. Appreciate the utility of political science concepts and theories in terms of understanding and analysing these relationships.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Synthesize concepts and theories and apply these to historical and contemporary case studies.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Appreciation of the value of critical thinking.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment
Based upon one 3,500-word essay.

The essay will provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate the extent of their reading, evidence of independent learning and critical thinking. It will also test their ability to synthesis appropriate concepts and theories and apply these to historical and contemporary case studies.

Formative assessment
Generalized feedback will be provided to all students during a special seminar session that focuses upon the essay questions. Individual feedback will be available to students on demand.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code L2L2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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