Global Challenges: Sustainability or Natural Hazards or Earth Systems Science.
Climate change represents one of the most pressing issues currently facing human societies. This course introduces students to the key scientific issues that surround the climate change debate, the spatial patterns of both physical and human dimensions of climate change, and marginally touches on a wider social and political context as this has important bearings upon both the scientific debate, policy responses and options to master the challenges of climate change. Topics covered in this course will be:
The climate system and climatic characteristics
Main factors contributing to natural climate change, methods of climate reconstruction for geologic (106) and Quaternary timescales (103 years)
Climate change over the past 11000 years: sources of evidence, impact on human civilizations, feedbacks
Just a hoax? Causes of anthropogenic forcings of the climate system and evidence
Projected impact of climate change on the environment and human societies (weather extremes, biodiversity and biome distribution, land use, agriculture, water and food security in select world regions)
Ethics and climate change: mitigation versus adaptation, and: who should pay the bill?
Students will learn what is driving climate change across a range of temporal and spatial scales, and how drivers of climate change interact with other earth cycles and human societies:
Students can describe the interconnectedness of and feedbacks between the main controls of climate change, environmental earth processes and human systems
Students can distinguish long-term and short-term perspectives on natural climate change
Students can critically reflect on projected impacts of climate change on the environment and human societies
Students can lay out ethical and political issues associated with climate change.
Furthermore, by focusing on evaluating scientific journal articles students develop skills and competence in the critically evaluating data, scientific arguments, and arguments brought up by different political and economic interest groups practiced giving a insightful presentation.
Once available, timetables will be published here.
Mode of instruction
This course will center on lecturing, reading and discussing scientific sources to further the understanding of the past to recent history, drivers and effects as well as projections of future climate change. Each week the group will read one or two papers or chapters and discuss its contents. Weekly sessions will introduce a facet of the climate change debate by means of lecturing and/or in-class discussions, followed by more in-depth discussions in th subsequent session.
Depending on the number of students, each or paired students will delve into a topic of interest by means of editing a review paper (2500 words, 4000 words if pairing) that is related to climate change. Students will be responsible for identifying and reading thoroughly, at least 6 to 10 scientific papers dealing with the selected topic. Each paper shall be based on an annotated bibliography (one or two paragraphs long per paper/source). The review paper is due in Week 4 and basic to in-class presentation followed by a structured discussion led by students (starting from Week 4).
Assessment 1: In-class participation, weight 15% (indiv.)
Assessment 2: Lab (see attachment), weight 26% (student pairs), deadline: week 2
Assessment 3: Fact sheet (1 page) and short presentation non a climate topic, weight 15% (indiv.), deadline: week 3/4
Assessment 4: Review and report paper, weight 26% (student pairs), deadline: week 4/5
Assessment 5: In-class presentation, weight 18% (student pairs), ongoing weeks 5 - 7
Grading of student pairs: Students will be given the opportunity to reflect on their teamwork in order individually adjust a grade for individually variable contributions.
There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.
There will be no required textbook for the course. Required readings will draw on material from various sources and posted on BB. Basic readings are the IPCC assessment reports (free downloads):
IPCC, 2013. Climate Change 2013 – The Physical Science Basis. IPCC Working Group I contribution to AR5. Stocker, T.F., Qin, D., Plattner, G.-K., Tignor, M., Allen, S. K., Boschung, J., Nauels, A., Xia, Y., Bex, V., Midgley, P.M. (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK), in press. [http://www.climatechange2013.org/]
IPCC, 2014. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, XXX pp. [http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/]
IPCC, 2014. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Barros, V.R., C.B. Field, D.J. Dokken, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, XXX pp. [http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/]
IPCC, 2014. Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. [http://mitigation2014.org/]
Metz, B., 2010. Controlling Climate Change. CUP, Cambridge (UK).
European Environment Agency, 2012. Climate Change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012. EEA Report 12/2012, Copenhagen, 300 pp.
This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students will be notified of the reading required to arrive prepared to the first class via BlackBoard in the week before the course starts.