How can we address the issue of climate change, reducing the damages by preparing for impacts already underway and fixing the problem by transforming our energy system?
This course will consider the challenge of climate change and what to do about it. Students will be introduced to the basic science of climate change, including the radiation budget of the Earth, the carbon cycle, and the physics and chemistry of the oceans and atmosphere. We will look at reconstructions of climate change through Earth history to provide a context for thinking about present and future changes. We will take a critical look at climate models used to predict climate change in the future, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses, evaluating which forecasts of climate change impacts are robust, and which are more speculative. We will spend particular time discussing sea level rise and extreme weather (including hurricanes, heat waves, and floods). We will look at the complex interactions between climate and human society, including climate impacts on agriculture and the relationship between climate change, migration and conflict. We will also discuss strategies for adapting to climate change impacts, and the implications of those strategies for sub-national and international equity.