Climate change illustration
Some typical climate and weather-related events: floods, heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and loss of glacial ice. 
Credit:​ NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA. ​​

New course offers a holistic approach to the climate

Climate change is in focus for a new new open evening course Chalmers in the spring of 2022: "The climate – science, measures, policy instruments". The course will address the climate as a system, how humans and the climate affect each other, and what technical and political ways there are to reduce our climate impact.
– For those of us who work with these issues, the climate is always relevant and has been for a long time. And after IPCC, the UN climate panel, recently established the human impact and the urgency of the matter, it has become an incredibly relevant issue, says Erik Ahlgren, course coordinator.
The fact that the issue of climate change is highly topical is also one of the reasons why the course will be given to those who have general admission requirements, without special prior knowledge. This will make course eligible to a wider target group than those who study at Chalmers.

– In the preparatory work, we have discussed several specific target groups, such as high school (gymnasium) teachers, journalists and politicians, but these are issues that engage many different groups. It will be exciting for us researchers and teachers to go outside our comfort zone, beyond Chalmers students, says course coordinator Erik Ahlgren, assistant professor in energy systems at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers, where all teachers of the course are based.

– At our department, there is a broad competence in these issues that we now look forward to gathering for the first time in one course. A challenge will be to find the right level when presenting physical and chemical mechanisms, as well as create an understanding of complicated systems and contexts.

Those who take the course will get an introduction to the climate as a system, how humans have affected the climate and how a changed climate with rising temperatures affects land, water and ecosystems. The course will also address which measures we can take to reduce our emissions, with a focus on technical solutions in energy, transport, industry and land use as well as what types of policy instruments are relevant.

As course coordinator and examiner, one of Erik's main tasks is to bring the whole together and to create a common thread through the research areas that will emerge during the course.

– It is fantastically exciting to work with such a different course, which runs across our various research disciplines. The goal is to create an entirety that shows where science stands today in the various areas, says Erik Ahlgren.

Kristell Pérot, associate professor at the department of earth sciences and remote sensing, is one of the teachers who teaches early in the course.

– I will give an introduction to research on climate change. My goal – together with the other researchers in my department – will be to explain the physics behind the climate system: How the earth's energy balance and the circulation between the atmosphere and the oceans work and how the balance is disturbed by emissions that we humans have caused. I believe that a basic understanding of the climate system is an important first step in understanding how our lives and the environment can be affected by the changes in the system and how we can behave to meet this societal challenge, says Kristell Pérot.

She also thinks that it is important to inform a broad target group about these issues, partly because climate change is the biggest threat that humans have faced and partly because we live in a time when incorrect information is spreading rapidly.

– I am looking forward to seeing who the people taking this course are and what their motivations are. I hope that they will come out of the course more knowledgeable and more motivated to act on climate change, and that they will spread their new knowledge to other people in the public society, Kristell concludes.

Text: Christian Löwhagen

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The practical course and application info is in Swedish only​. The course "Climate – science, measures, policy instruments", is 7.5 credits and is given in Swedish between January and May 2022. It must be given at a distance in the evening. The teachers come from the departments of Energy Technology, Physical Resource Theory and Geoscience and Remote Sensing at the Department of Space, Geo- and Environmental Sciences. The course is at the undergraduate level and requires only basic eligibility for higher education. It can accommodate a maximum of 150 students.

Page manager Published: Fri 10 Sep 2021.