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SDG Academy

Climate Action: Solutions for a Changing Planet

SDG Academy via edX


Harmful emissions, the degradation of the earth’s resources and global warming have loomed large for decades. With the negotiation and ongoing ratification of the sweeping Paris Agreement, commitments to reducing the effects of climate change abound.

But how do we turn those commitments into action?

Enroll now to learn from the professors and researchers leading the battle against climate change, hailing from world-renowned institutions including Columbia University’s Earth Institute, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

This course is for:

  • Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students interested in the key concepts and practices of this growing field.
  • Climate change activists who want a concise overview of the current science and emerging solutions.
  • Sustainable development practitioners – as well as private-sector actors, such as those who work in corporate sustainability and responsibility or renewable energy – who need to understand how climate change solutions are being implemented and made successful.


Module1: Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement (Weeks 1 and 2)

  • The Goal: < 2°C (Part 1)
  • The Goal: < 2°C (Part 2)
  • The Carbon Budget (Part 1)
  • The Carbon Budget (Part 2)
  • Deep Decarbonization: Reaching Net-Zero by the Second Half of the Century (Part 1)
  • Deep Decarbonization: Reaching Net-Zero by the Second Half of the Century (Part 2)
  • Sources and Sinks: Energy, Land Use, CCS (Part 1)
  • Sources and Sinks: Energy, Land Use, CCS (Part 2)
  • Uncertainties, Precaution, and Insurance (Part 1)
  • Uncertainties, Precaution, and Insurance (Part 2)

Module 2: Deep Decarbonization: The Three Pillars and National Case Studies (Weeks 3 and 4)

  • Deep Decarbonization Pathway Planning and Mid-Century Strategies
  • The Three Pillars of Decarbonization
  • Case Study: US Deep Decarbonization (Part 1)
  • Case Study: US Deep Decarbonization (Part 2)
  • Case Study: Russia Deep Decarbonization
  • Case Study: Canada Deep Decarbonization
  • Case Study: Australia Deep Decarbonization
  • Challenges in the Decarbonization Transition

Module 3: Low Emissions Electricity & Renewables (Week 5)

  • The Role of Innovation to Reduce Emissions
  • Innovative Off-Grid Energy Solutions
  • Renewables: Solar
  • Renewables: Wind
  • Nuclear Power
  • Transmission, Energy Storage and Grid Integration
  • Life Cycle Analysis

Module 4: Agriculture and Emissions (Week 6)

  • Earth Observations for Climate Mitigation
  • The Need to Reduce Uncertainties in Global Land-Use Information
  • Global Crop Models and Their Potential to Assess Mitigation Options in Agriculture

Module 5: Monitoring Land Use (Weeks 7 and 8)

  • Mitigation on Land and the SDGs (Part 1)
  • Mitigation on Land and the SDGs (Part 2)
  • GHG Mitigation in Agriculture (Part 1)
  • GHG Mitigation in Agriculture (Part 2)
  • Using System Analysis for Globally Consistent National Mitigation Planning (Part 1)
  • Using System Analysis for Globally Consistent National Mitigation Planning (Part 2)
  • Case Study: Brazil’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution
  • Supply Chain Solutions to Deforestation: Evidence from Brazil

Module 6: Policy Tools for the Transition to Low-Emissions (Week 9)

  • Principles of Public Policy
  • Putting a Price on Carbon (Part 1)
  • Putting a Price on Carbon (Part 2)
  • Intellectual Property, Access, and Innovation
  • Climate Fairness & Justice (Part 1)
  • Climate Fairness & Justice (Part 2)

Module 7: Low-Emission Solutions and the Business Community (Week 10)

  • Business Solutions for Climate Change
  • Technology Partnerships to Tackle Climate Change
  • Business Action in Practice: Renewables
  • Sustainable Transport Systems
  • The Role of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

Taught by

Jeffrey Sachs and Jim Williams


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at edX based on 5 ratings

Start your review of Climate Action: Solutions for a Changing Planet

  • Dorothy Knable
    I have taken several MOOCs with Sachs and another expert. He is nicknamed the world's professor because these courses attract activists and pros as well as frightened, bright students - from all over the world. You can end up with both book knowledge, taught mostly in gorgeous video of the world's people and nature, and a network of friends spanning the globe. We have tough, complex work to do in order to save our SPECIES. UNDERSTAND how the United Nations has led the effort ever since JFK said we'd go to the moon "and do the other things" so hard. We've been looking down at Earth, seeing the beauty and the damage. LEARN HOW TO help!
  • I began the course yesterday, and I found it to be extremely worth taking. I was not familiar with the carbon budget, but I plan to have total knowledge of all the relevant concepts and the issues surrounding the 2015 Paris Agreement by the time I complete this. I am so glad that EdX is hosting.

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