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Tipping Points: Climate Change and Society

University of Exeter via FutureLearn

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Explore the possible future of Earth

A tipping point occurs when there’s a shift in the state of a system towards a new equilibrium. We’re now facing tipping points in our climate system that could accelerate the dangerous effects of climate change. Natural systems will change, as will human systems. In future we could see the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, dieback of the Amazon or droughts across the Sahel but also behavioural changes and regional warfare.

On this course you will explore the concept of tipping points from an interdisciplinary perspective, discovering their role in climate change and the future.

This course is for people with a basic knowledge of climate change science (to get an introduction join the course Climate Change: The Science).


  • Tipping Points in the Natural World
    • Core Principles of Tipping Points
    • How do we recognise a tipping point?
    • Tipping Points in the Climate System
    • End of Week 1
  • Tipping Points in the Human World
    • Tipping Points and Policy
    • Tipping Points in Social Systems
    • Positive Tipping Points
    • Course wrap-up

Taught by

Tim Lenton


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.5 rating at FutureLearn based on 138 ratings

Start your review of Tipping Points: Climate Change and Society

  • Millie B.
    Very interesting course. It discusses one topic (tipping points) in a short and concise course, which I found ideal. It’s a shame more MOOCs aren’t short, to the point courses like this one!
  • Profile image for Estelle
    I really enjoyed this course – it was not too long or too short. It focused on the most important issues and gave you a good insight

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