Modeling Climate Futures: Science, Economics, Ethics and Policy

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Puzzle pieces

Wind, solar, batteries, fossil free steel, electric vehicles, zero energy houses - We know many ingredients for the transition to a fossil-free future. But how do we make this happen in the Swedish or the world economy? Pricing carbon is a clever way to get everyone motivated and involved.
But what is the right price?

General information

In this course, we aim to use your different skills and knowledge together with that of an interdisciplinary group of experts (teachers and guest contributors) to explore this question and create useful tools for policy makers or stakeholders. Stakeholders could be civil servants working on transition of the energy system, policy analysts at multinational companies, climate change negotiators, or educators on the economics of climate change, and the tool could be an easy-to-use integrated assessment model (IAM).

To address the question of a fair carbon price and fair emission pathways, we will establish a common knowledge foundation in a few areas - fundamental climate science, climate system emulators, economics (incl. discounting, damages, growth, geographical dimensions etc.), as well as ethical and political considerations and be able to bring it together in a model. The teacher team works on various related research and policy-advice initiatives, and we want to create a learning space for students to grow their expertise in collaboration with us and other students to develop a product or a tool that is useful to at least one key stakeholder in the area.

The course is designed to foster a dynamic learning environment and encourage you to leverage and enhance your existing expertise, engaging in meaningful collaboration with peers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds.

The primary goal is to develop a tangible, impactful digital resource (such as, for example, an on-line calculation tool or a website), training/supportive material for such a tool, or a policy relevant scheme for determining plausible and scientifically robust emission prices and/or pathways. This product is aimed at addressing the real-world needs of key stakeholders involved in setting a price on greenhouse gas emissions and/or determining emission pathways towards climate neutrality. This approach not only enriches the learning experience but also ensures that the outcomes are directly relevant and beneficial to influential actors in the field (public decision-makers etc.).

At its core, this is a project course with supervision and a smorgasbord of bookable experts to assist. This is your opportunity to delve deep(er) into the questions of climate economics (which IAM models can address) of your interest. The student group is divided into one or two big teams, within which you will be working in small sub-teams to facilitate both different learning focuses, division of tasks and make good use of your different skills.

However, central to establishing a shared knowledge foundation is your engagement in 8 core seminars/workshops (with accompanying online learning resources) - placed early in the course.

Students will take an active role in contributing to establish this common knowledge and skill basis. This means that students with more prior knowledge on a key topic will contribute to the learning process of their peers for that topic (in relation to peers with less knowledge about that topic) while others will do the same for other key topics where they have a greater prior knowledge. I.e. the aim is to elevate the teamwork so that, in every project area, we match the expertise of the most skilled team member.

Artificial intelligence tools will be leveraged by teachers and students alike (with students receiving support in its use), and in a sense – we will jointly explore how far you can get with your project when leveraging generative AI, while at the same time we will have structured discussions on how to do this in a sound way.


Bachelor in for example Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Environmental Science, Economics, Learning Science or similar.

All-in-all a maximum of 30 course participants: students (MSc and PhD), Chalmers alumni or professionals will be accepted to the course autumn 2024. Selection will be based on the following criteria: clear motivation for wanting to take the course, applicable prior courses studied and engagement (work or voluntary) within the subject areas of the course, prior experience in project work, software development, design or communication. But, in the selection we will strive for a diversity of competences and perspectives so that the final group preferably represents a wide range of expertise for the benefit of the group’s learning journey and successful project work.

How to apply

Apply to all Tracks courses at
At Search for the course you are interested in by using the course code starting with TRA.
Read more here.

With your application you will send a letter of motivation stating:
• Background and Expertise: Briefly outline your relevant academic and practical experiences, emphasizing any skills related to project work or sustainability/climate change.
• Motivation for Joining: Express your interest in taking the course - what’s especially motivating for you within this project course and learning space etc.
• Contribution to Team and Goals: State how you believe that you can enrich the team with your (unique) skills and contribute to achieving the course's aims.


Teacher (s):
Martin Persson (Examiner), Daniel Johansson, Thomas Sterner, Susanne Pettersson, Erik Sterner, Magdalena Andersson Paul. Guest teachers (here serving as expert advisors): Sonia Yeh, Johannes Morfeldt and 3-4 additional guest expert advisors.
Course dates: Study period 1
Number of students: The course will not take in more than at most 30 students the first year (2024).

Credits: 7.5
Level: Advanced

Course code: TRA
Application deadline: April 30 – May 14, 2024