Climate Change

Academic year2019-2020                                                                     
Period2 and 3
Number of meetings        10
Dates of all meetingsTuesday 29 Oct, 5, 12, 19, 26 November, 3 and 10 December 2019, 7, 14, 21 and 28 January 2020
LocationVrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam 
Roomtba (BelleVUe Building number 1091 at this map)
Lecturers    Dr. Paolo Scussolini (coordinator) - FALW
Dr. Dim Coumou - FALW
Prof. Dr. Bart van den Hurk - FALW, KNMI
Prof. Dr. Jeroen Aerts– FALW
Prof. Dr. Han Dolman– FALW
Dr. Eric Koomen - FEWEB
Prof. Dr. Joyeeta Gupta – UvA & Unesco IHE
Dr. Gerald Ganssen – FALW, AUC
Prof. Dr. Philipp Pattberg - FALW
Dr Wouter Botzen - FALW

Course Description

Climate Change, just another environmental issue or a major agent of change? The course presents the many aspects of climate change, with lectures ranging from the scientific facts to the societal and economic implications, from its politics to its controversy. Each lecture is given by a renown expert in the field. Students will form teams to write a popular scientific position paper reflecting the multidisciplinarity of climate change, and will present and debate their findings." 

Main course elements and concepts
The main learning goal of the course is to understand Climate Change and it implications for the various layers of the human experience.
After completing the course the student is able to: 

  • Employ knowledge of the physics of the climate to discuss facts and impacts of Climate Change on an academic level;
  • Illustrate the concepts of uncertainty, scenarios, and models, that are key when presenting and demonstrating aspects of Climate Change that tend to escape the common sense understanding typical of laymen;
  • Discern facts from lies, from misinformation and from opinions - at the present state of knowledge, and when new information should become available in the future - and explain why lies and misinformation exist and why they are detrimental to the societal debate;
  • Apply an historical perspective when taking part into discussions on, and sorting out aspects of, the Climate Change science and policy;
  • Collect and utilize scientific data and literature and that can be confronted to information from and for laymen in the mass-media;
  • Demonstrate improved writing and presentation skills, with command of scientific rigour and logical use of arguments;
  • Justify to themselves, and to their colleagues, friends and families, in their future professional and personal lives, a continued and curiosity-driven attention to Climate Change issues, which will likely persist for generations."

Working formats and activities
Lectures, writing in teams, peer-reviewing, presenting and debating

Assessment methods

  • Examination at end of lecture series
  • Position paper
  • Presentation
Note that for the examination the minimum grade is a 5.0. Hence a 4.9 or lower for the examinations cannot be compensated by the other activities.