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University of Cape Town

Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries

University of Cape Town via Coursera


This course challenges you to consider how one might lift societies out of poverty while also mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. We explore the inherent complexity of developing country governments wanting to grow their economies in a climate-friendly way. You will be introduced to an approach with which to address this challenge. The approach consists of a facilitated process whereby academic researchers and high-level influential actors within society co-produce knowledge. You will track this process in four Latin American countries - Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and South Africa. You will hear from various professionals about their contexts and the different challenges and opportunities the process includes.

This course will cover topics such as facilitation process techniques, energy modeling, scenario building, innovation, and policy making. You will have the opportunity to respond to these topics with ideas and reflection from your own context. Whether you are a climate change practitioner, work in development, or are simply curious about how climate mitigation is understood, this course will give you insights into the complexity of how countries from the South pursue development goals while addressing climate mitigation.

The course is free to enroll and take. You will be offered the option of purchasing a certificate of completion, which you become eligible for if you successfully complete the course requirements. This can be an excellent way of staying motivated! Financial Aid is also available.


  • Complexity of climate change mitigation
    • Climate change and development both involve many complex problems. Each are 'wicked' problems, meaning they defy easy solutions. Tackling both development and climate change together is a 'super-wicked' problem. But we must start by taking a first step to responding to this 'super-wicked' problem. To do this we’ll share our experiments drawing particularly on the MAPS community, which includes Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and South Africa.
  • Mandating and co-production of knowledge
    • Our approach to mitigation and development is essentially a process that spurs change within a system. The premise is that change happens through co-production of knowledge, which in turn encourages action by actors in a system. We ask the questions: what is the best way to start such an intervention? What could the intervention look like? What are the options for the process design? This week we review the role a Scenario Building Team has to play in supporting knowledge generation.
  • Mitigation action research and modelling
    • Knowledge generated through research can effect change. We describe the models and tools that are available to support the generation of this knowledge. Apart from knowledge related to greenhouse gas mitigation and the costs thereof, we are interested in the positive and negative developmental impacts of moving to a low carbon economy. Emissions and costs are relatively easy to quantify but developmental impacts are less easily quantified. This week, we explore how this challenge can be addressed.
  • Minding the mitigation gap
    • What happens when your best efforts are not good enough? We will look at the ‘gaps’ between where we would like to be and where we are.The direction emission trends are headed is a function of everything put into the model (such as population, growth and GDP, and technology). Yet what is required by science is driven by considerations such as how we need to reduce emissions to keep temperature rises below two degrees. This week, in exploring some of the potential reasons for this gap we consider technical reasons and other pushbacks, like vested-interests, political or inherent human behaviour.
  • Responding to mitigation challenges
    • There are limitations within our existing toolsets and ways of thinking how we might address the mitigation gap. We need to look more closely at the interface of economic and development pathways and to question the way in which climate change mitigation professionals are approaching this huge and complex climate and development problem. Responses to these challenges include linking of economic and mitigation model to better understand the interconnectedness of mitigation policies and economic development, and involves out-of-the-box thinking when imagining climate and development solutions of the future. This week we hope to inspire innovations and responses to challenges in the climate mitigation and development community.
  • Bridges to domestic and international policy
    • This is the final module and it tells the story of how we have moved to the end of the scenario building process, and what the impacts of this approach are. This week we speak of two bridges: the bridge between knowledge and domestic policy, and domestic policy and international contributions.

Taught by

Professor Harald Winkler


4.6 rating, based on 35 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 535 ratings

Start your review of Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries

  • Having completed every aspect of the course, I have no doubt it will be of great value to persons involved in Climate Change mitigation strategy selections at national government or international corporation level.

    However, it is not about climate change mitigation itself in a way that might be of practical value to an individual, farmer or community group.
  • Empower students to take action on climate change with this new, free, supported course. The climate education you and your students want–free, adaptable and classroom-ready. Free, online, and open. Standards aligned. Infinitely adaptable.
  • Anonymous
    Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries has exposed me to valuable knowledge, skills and insights about different methods,ways and strategies of approaching and applying them to different situations in the midst of climate change which the world all over and developing countries , especially here in Southern Africa continues to grapple with. The knowledge that I have been exposed to will make me have a better appreciation and understanding of climate mitigation, resilience and adaptation in a more comprehensive and practical way.
  • Anonymous
    This course is really insightful and fascinating, especially to a young African boy from one of the developing countries. It gives me the ability to study my country's climate change policy and understand better what actions I can take to ensure we all achieved the mitigation of climate change as we are all in this together. Whether you are rich or poor, natural disasters doesn't discriminate.
  • Anonymous
    It is very interesting as it contains much and very important teaching about knowing how othe countries are doing and it is giving the opportunity to be alert of what is going on worldwide
  • Anonymous
    Do you want to learn more about climate change mitigation, for free? This is definitely the right place to feed your brain. Excellent material
  • Anonymous
    Throughout the course, we explored the urgent need for solid evidence to inform policies and actions related to climate change and sustainable development. Additionally, the importance of collaboration between different actors to tackle these complex and multifaceted challenges was emphasized.

    One of the key takeaways was that real benefits for development must be a priority on the political agenda. The focus on research and modeling was highlighted as fundamental tools for understanding the impact of measures and ensuring their equitable distribution. .
  • Anonymous
    This course has really helped me and broaden my knowledge on climate mitigate and how mitigation Action plans and scenarios can help reduce GHG Emissions and also development a country
  • Profile image for Sara Techs (techsadie)
    Sara Techs (techsadie)
    This course has introduced to me how the climate policy is structured and applied to all countries. climate change does not only apply to developed countries but the world as a whole You cannot measure individual damage thus the need to reduce it globally since global warming affects all. The MAPS project clearly involves all sectors and in the long run all agreed upon goals are a result of every one. The MAPS project in the different countries and the various strategies applied further makes this training worth it. I recommend this training.
  • Anonymous
    The course has been quite exciting for me, I have travelled a long route throughout the 6 weeks and I have found every section quite fulfilling for me. I did not expect to learn so much about climate change mitigation in such a short space of time.…
    Thank you very much indeed for the course
    The course is very useful for me ,I have acquired a deep knowledge ,on Climate change
    Mitigation in developing countries.
    The course is well planned , understandable ,and make me improve my
    professional career ,and change my reputation. I am competent ,I keep learning ....

    Now on 5/9/2020 ,I have successfully completed 14 different courses from COURSERA ,
    I want to influence others. hard work always pay.

    thank you very much indeed.
    I wish you a pleasant day.

    [contact details detracted]
  • Anonymous
    This course discusses how the MAPS teams went about engaging stakeholders and reaching agreement about emissions scenarios and climate change actions. It taught me a lot about the political side of climate change mitigation in developing countries, and I found this interesting. The course doesn't include much discussion of practical mitigation techniques - it is more about the MAPS processes of collaboration and knowledge building.
  • Anonymous
    This course is very helpful for a lot of people involved in climate change and development. It provides a rare opportunity for learners to see the interaction between climate change and development in all levels from prioritization to data gathering to translation to policies.

    The sharing of experiences of the people who have implemented or have been implementing the MAPS also gave insights and knowledge that are vital to appreciate the course and its significance.
  • Pratik Priyadarshi
    A subject like the one under discussion cannot be restricted by words. A sense of impending doom engulfed me whenever I read anything about the ice bergs of Antarctica or the Carbon footprints across the Globe. It was only after having gone through the 6 weeks course on Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries, that I was able to appreciate the subject in a much better and positive way.

    Coming from India, the subject is close to my heart and am grateful that I was a part of this course. At least now I have a road map to work on and do my bit towards the mitigation of this challenge.

    I recommend this to each and every individual who wants a better tomorrow.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed the course very much, I learned a lot and I got some interesting concepts that I will use in my daily work. The vast consulting material is incredible. I thank the organizers and contributors for all the material prepared for the course. Best regards
  • Profile image for Nkonde Kalunga
    Nkonde Kalunga
    This is a very interesting course and I encourage everyone to take it. The information delivered is rich and practical and delivered in a very simplified way
  • Than Htet Soe
    This is a very interesting course and I encourage everyone to take it. The information delivered is rich and practical and delivered in a very simplified way
  • Anonymous
    It is very useful and provides a lot of insights of the projects and the processes that MAPS did in different developing countries like Peru, where I am from. The procedures that they made, gave me a good example of how to approach climate change in my home, city and in my career.
  • Anonymous
    Extremely helpful course. The entire process of developing mitigation scenarios and knowledge coproduction is very well explained. I highly recommend this course to people who want to work on the roots level in developing countries and climate mitigation policies.
  • Sourav Majumder
    I would like to take a course on climate change. I really want to know and learn a lot about how to prevent climate change.

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