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University of Melbourne

Climate Change

University of Melbourne via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


What is Climate Change? How should we respond to Climate Change? These questions are complex, not least because the responses available to us depend upon who is providing the answers and the particular perspective they take. The economist sees the economic challenges and opportunities of Climate Change; the scientist sees the need to describe and explain Climate Change; the policy-maker and social scientist see Climate Change as a social problem. Therefore, the first step to understanding Climate Change and what we do about it is to see how experts from different disciplines engage with the issue. The second step is to appreciate how our response to Climate Change depends upon the interplay between these different approaches.

This course offers you an introduction to different disciplinary perspectives on Climate Change to help you think about how Climate Change affects you as an individual, as a member of your local community, as a citizen of your country and as a member of the global community. We have designed the presentations, discussions, activities and assessment tasks in this course to help you understand what Climate Change is and what you – and we – should do about it.


The overall aim of this subject is to provide an introduction to the socio-political, scientific, and economic aspects of the phenomenon known as Climate Change. In doing so it is hoped that the student will emerge with an enhanced ability to analyse claims both about the science itself and the responses that can be made by humanity at present and for the future, based on current scientific data and its predictions over the next decades. 

You will emerge with a broad understanding of the science underpinning the claim that human activity has played a role in causing the current rise in global temperature. You will also develop an awareness of the present and future impact on global communities, the political response to such impacts, and consider basic economic concepts and models that describe a framework in which changes to our use of resources can occur. 

Taught by

Prof Jon Barnett, Prof John Freebairn, Prof David Jamieson, Dr Maurizio Toscano and Prof Rachel Webster


5.0 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

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  • Anonymous
    I had the opportunity to be attending this course on past year. I've learned a lot and enhance not only my own performance, also, my students as well. Personally now I'm developing new strategies to promote sustainable strategies and reduce my clients carbon footprint and attending international and national events regarding climate change and carbon mechanisms. I'm sure everyone will not only enjoy personal knowledge, indeed transform society! Good luck to new classmates! Liliana Medina from Bogota, Colombia, South America.
  • Robert Burns
    It was a very good course for forming a base on the social, economic and science issues associated with climate change. I had started a new job that deals with climate issues and the course helped me come up to speed quickly.
  • Ricardo

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