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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 30 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 481 ratings

Start your review of Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries

  • 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.
  • 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. Each...
  • 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
    Do you want to learn more about climate change mitigation, for free? This is definitely the right place to feed your brain. Excellent material
  • 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.
  • Anonymous
    I like that the course start with easy materials that are known to all to end with some of the details and difficult issues that needed to be address.The course is designed very carefully minding the learners.the course is very interactive and I gain lot of knowledge about how climate change is currently handling by other developing countries and what are areas of research and development regarding this topic.I ,overall love this course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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.
  • 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.
    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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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

    Nkonde Kalunga completed this course.

    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
  • Profile image for Andre Dumoulin
    Andre Dumoulin

    Andre Dumoulin completed this course.

    This course brings a deeper appreciation of some of the real issues facing developing countries in terms of responsibility and equity, and the thinking and tools supporting a process to build knowledge among groups of stakeholders are useful. It would be nice to for this class to be updated with the current events of 2019 and 2020, and to be offered in Spanish, since most countries of the sample are in Latin America. I have started contributing to the translation.
  • Than Htet Soe

    Than Htet Soe is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I've never had an online class before.
    I'm super excited to have an experience with Prof and other instructors on Climate change mitigation in developing countries.
    The course is really interesting and I urge everyone interested in making a change in the society, to take the course seriously.
    Super wicked problems like COVID -19 is a global problem and needs global support and mitigation measures.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Very insightful, gave a good overview of climata Change Mitigation in developing countries. I really much appreciated the additional literature and Videos. The apporach developed by UCT is well-pronising and will inspire me. That's the future of decision-making by elaborating Scenarios in a participative way involving scientifics, civil Society, private sector and policy makers
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course is useful since is gives an overview of some practical tools and experiences related to climate change mitigation efforts in several different countries. It's scope very well reflects the multi-disciplinary approach needed to reach progress in this highly complex environment.
  • Anonymous
    Helpful for anyone involved in a multitude of fields from environmental science, urban and economic development, poverty and population management, etc.

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