Content of the Climate Course

Understand climate science in six chapters

Our Climate Course is interdisciplinary and includes scientific basics, models and scenarios as well as social issues such as dealing with climate impacts, adaptation measures and solution strategies. A comprehensive treatment allows you to grasp the complex issue of climate change.

The course is structured in six chapters, each presenting a different issue of climate change. Every chapter consists of short video-lectures given by key speakers from our member institutions. Further video lectures by renowned climate scientists and experts on each specific field provide an overall understanding. Work assignments, discussions, quizzes, practical examples and further information complement the lectures.

One great advantage of online courses is that you can decide how much time you want to invest and which topics are most relevant to you – because climate change needs diverse perspectives and solutions.

What you will learn

  • understand the core principles of the climate system and the increasing human impact on the climate system
  • become aware of the causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change, and identify action strategies on both levels, the individual and the societal level
  • get to know the scientific method of working and arguing
  • distinguish between interest-oriented information and science-based knowledge

  • Length and effort

    Climate Course Quiz © DKK/WWF
    • self-paced and flexible

    • 5 hours of video lectures, 30 to 50 hours to complete the course

    • no specific prior knowledge needed
  • Document your knowledge

    Climate Course Badge © DKK/WWF
    • receive an official and free certificate after completion

    • earn open badges for your professional social media profiles

Chapter 1: climate system and climate change

with Prof. Dr Mojib Latif from GEOMAR in Kiel you will learn to

Prof. Dr Mojib Latif © GEOMAR, J. Steffen
  • define weather, climate, the climate system
  • differ natural and anthropogenic influences on the climate system
  • get to know sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions – especially fossil fuels– and factors that influence emission trends and underlying causes such as lifestyle or growth
  • identify needs and constraints of the value chain

Chapter 2: climate models and scenarios

with Prof. Dr Jochem Marotzke from MPI for Meteorology in Hamburg you will learn to

  • describe why we need climate models and how they work
  • differntiate the main climate scenarios for the 21st century and the climate change in various scenarios
  • identify the 2 degrees Celsius target as a political target and ways to reach it
  • explain the carbon budget and the relation to climate
  • describe the role and function of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC

Chapter 3: climate history

with Prof. Dr Michael Schulz from MARUM in Bremen you will learn to

Prof. Dr Michael Schulz
  • explain the importance of reconstructing the climate of the past, of the pleistocene and holocene, and the role of drill cores
  • identify the anthropogenic impact in younger climate history and the role of CO2 increase
  • indicate the cause of glacial and interglacial periods
  • recognise the correlation between CO2 concentration and global temperature
  • describe the relation between climate change and cultural history

Chapter 4: impacts of climate change

with Prof. Dr Hermann Lotze-Campen from PIK in Potsdam you will learn to

  • describe the impacts of climate change on nature and society, on our personal environment – particularly the specific challenges in urban areas – and the impacts of climate change on oceans
  • describe the concept and implication of the risk definition by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC
  • list the risks of sudden and irreversible changes and describe the urgency to act
  • explain the increase of extreme events
  • describe the special role of urban climate in both adapting to climate change and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions

Chapter 5: climate change as a societal challenge

with Prof. Dr Anita Engels from CliSAP in Hamburg you will learn to

  • explain the significance of humans' influence on climate for our society and the challenges for society
  • list approaches for more climate protection
  • describe the adaptation to climate impacts and its limitations
  • explain the relation between resource conflicts, migration and climate change

Chapter 6: climate change in politics and economy

with Prof. Dr Gernot Klepper from IfW in Kiel you will learn to

Prof. Gernot Klepper © Institut für Weltwirtschaft
  • describe the issues of international climate politics and economy
  • tell the main achievements of international climate politics
  • list the history of climate negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conferences
  • explain the reasons why we must limit global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and possible strategies towards a zero emission economy, for example through energy transition

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