Climate Change

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Course Date: 11 August 2014 to 09 September 2014

Price: free

Course Summary

Climate change is the biggest global challenge the human race has ever faced. Our insatiable demand for energy from fossil fuels is changing the atmosphere, and in turn changing our climate. Climate change is already affecting the physical surface of the earth, the environment that provides our life support, our food supply, economy and society. These changes will accelerate over the next few decades In this course you will explore the impacts of climate change; why we should care about them, the science that underpins our understanding and how we can fix the problem before it’s too late.

Course Instructors

Prof. Lesley Hughes

Prof. Lesley Hughes is an ecologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. She has been researching the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems for over 20 years. Over the past decade she has also become involved in many broader aspects of climate change communication and policy. These include serving as a Lead Author on the Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and membership of the Expert Advisory Group on Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity, the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board, the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and Climate Scientists Australia. In 2011 she was appointed a Climate Commissioner by the Australian federal government.

Interviews with Tim Flannery

Tim is one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change. An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, he was named Australian of the Year in 2007. Tim has held various academic positions including Adjunct Professor in the Division of Environmental and Life Sciences at Macquarie University, and Principal Visiting Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. A well known presenter on radio and TV, he has also written a number of books including ‘Here on Earth’ (2010) and ‘The Weather Makers’ (2005).

Course Description

What's it about?

Climate change is the biggest global challenge the human race has ever faced. Our insatiable demand for energy from fossil fuels is changing the atmosphere, and in turn changing our climate. Climate change is already affecting the physical surface of the earth, the environment that provides our life support, our food supply, economy and society. These changes will accelerate over the next few decades

Climate change is the biggest global challenge the human race has ever faced. Our insatiable demand for energy from fossil fuels is changing the atmosphere, and in turn changing our climate. Climate change is already affecting the physical surface of the earth, the environment that provides our life support, our food supply, economy and society. These changes will accelerate over the next few decades

In this course you will explore the impacts of climate change; why we should care about them, the science that underpins our understanding and how we can fix the problem before it’s too late.

What's involved?

Module 1Climate Change: Why Should we Care?
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment11 Aug - 17 Aug
Module 2What’s Happening and Why?
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment18 Aug - 24 Aug
Module 3Will We Cope?
8 videos, 7 quizzes, 1 assessment25 Aug - 31 Aug
Module 4Fixing It
10 videos, 9 quizzes, 1 assessment1 Sep - 7 Sep

What will I learn?

  • Why human activities are changing the climate
  • How our knowledge of science underpins what we know about the past, present and future climate
  • What our future might hold, and why we should care about it
  • Why an increase of 2 or 4°C in global average temperature is important
  • How the changing climate is affecting, and will continue to affect, the incidence and impacts of extreme weather events
  • The role of extreme events and the effect it has on our species, ecosystems, coastlines, food supply, health, infrastructure, economy and security
  • How climate change is likely to exacerbate existing problems of social inequality
  • How climate change will interact with other pressures on global systems such as ecosystem degradation and human population growth
  • Why fixing the climate problem is urgent, and how the timing of solutions is critical
  • The relative contributions that different emission reduction solutions have had on solving the climate problem

This course requires approximately 2 - 4 hours of study per week, but can vary depending on the student. This includes watching videos, and taking quizzes and assessments. The total video time for this course is approximately 3 hours 30 minutes.

If you pass this course you'll receive a Certificate of Achievement. While this certificate isn't a formal qualification or credit, you can use it to demonstrate your interest in learning about this area to potential employers or educational institutions.

Where to from here?

If you love this course, why not take your studies further? Here are some accredited qualifications that could help you achieve your goals.

Where could this lead me?

If you're wondering what your future could look like in this area, here are some potential careers you could head towards.

  • Sustainability project officer
  • Sustainability / Climate policy officer
  • Urban development officer
  • Sustainability manager
  • Environmental and social sustainability consultant
  • Sustainability project manager
  • Sustainability officer
  • Environmental and social sustainability officer

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