Climate Change: From Science to Solutions

The objective of this course is to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the scientific foundation behind anthropogenic climate change, its impacts on the Earth, and strategies to address it. The course introduces the fundamental physical processes that shape climate, focusing on the drivers of past, present, and future climate change. 

Impacts of climate change on the environment and human societies will be highlighted, including effects on temperature, precipitation, ocean acidity, sea level, severe storms, agriculture, biodiversity, and air quality. Mitigation approaches and adaptation strategies, including technology development, will be introduced, discussed, and critiqued. The course will conclude with an overview of policy and governance considerations in a changing climate. Non-lecture activities will comprise 25% of the course, and will address the contemporary science of climate measurements, models of climate change and impacts, and climate change policy and negotiations.

Lead Instructor(s): 

Noelle Selin
Daniel Cziczo

Dates: 

Jul 31, 2017 - Aug 4, 2017

Course Length: 

5 Days

Course Fee: 

$3,300

CEUs: 

2.9

Status: 

  • Open

It is highly recommended that you apply for a course at least 6-8 weeks before the start date to guarantee there will be space available. After that date you may be placed on a waitlist. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled up to 4 weeks before start date if sufficient enrollments are not met. If you are able to access the online application form, then registration for that particular course is still open.

This course has limited enrollment. Apply early to guarantee your spot.

Participant Takeaways: 

Takeaways from this course include:

  • Understanding and explaining the factors that control the earth’s climate, including both natural and anthropogenic influences, and their relative importance.
  • Synthesizing and interpreting evidence for climate change impacts on the environment and on human activities.
  • Evaluating technologies and formulating management strategies designed to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Understanding, designing, and appraising collaborative policy solutions to address greenhouse gas emissions.

Who Should Attend: 

This course is targeted to environmental scientists, engineers, and consultants who seek a deeper understanding of the science of climate change. Professionals in the energy, finance, insurance/risk mitigation, and food/beverage sectors as well as those working in government, NGOs, and education will also have an interest in this topic.

Computer requirements:

Laptops or tablets with Excel are required for this course.

Program Outline: 

This course consists of 17 units, each between 1 and 1.5 hours in length.

Scientific Basis (Learning Objective 1)

  1. The science of climate change: An introduction (M)
  1. Climate change through history: A paleoclimate perspective (M)
  1. Activity #1: Measurements of climate change (M)
  1. Climate change models and future projections (M)

Impacts (Learning Objective 2)

  1. Temperature, precipitation (T)
  1. Ocean effects: Acidity and sea level rise  (T)
  1. Activity #2: Air quality and health (T)
  1. Agriculture and infrastructure (T)
  1. Severe storms (W)

Adaptation, Mitigation and Technology (Learning Objective 3)

  1. Risk and uncertainty: How much change is needed? (W)
  1. Adaptation strategies. Costal zones (W)
  1. Activity #3: Costal zone planning (W)
  1. Geoengineering: Reasonable concepts or science fiction? (Th)
  1. Technology and management solutions: Concepts and approaches (Th)
  1. Activity #4: Energy planning and investment  (Th)

Policy Responses (Learning Objective 4)

  1. Policy and Regulation (F)
  1. Activity #5: Climate negotiation simulation (F)

Course Schedule: 

View 2016 schedule (pdf)

This course runs 9:00 am - 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday and 9:00 am - noon on Friday.

Instructors: 

Location: 

This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.

Content: 

Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (50%) 50
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (30%) 30
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (20%) 20

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (50%) 50
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (25%) 25
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (25%) 25

Levels: 

Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (85%) 85
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (10%) 10
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (5%) 5