• Length:
    10 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–4 hours per week
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    Self-paced on your time



About this course

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Harmful emissions, the degradation of the earth’s resources and global warming have loomed large for decades. With the negotiation and ongoing ratification of the sweeping Paris Agreement, commitments to reducing the effects of climate change abound.

But how do we turn those commitments into action?

Enroll now to learn from the professors and researchers leading the battle against climate change, hailing from world-renowned institutions including Columbia University’s Earth Institute, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

This course is for:

  • Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students interested in the key concepts and practices of this growing field.
  • Climate change activists who want a concise overview of the current science and emerging solutions.
  • Sustainable development practitioners – as well as private-sector actors, such as those who work in corporate sustainability and responsibility or renewable energy – who need to understand how climate change solutions are being implemented and made successful.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions
  • Decarbonizing the economy
  • Emissions reduction in Russia and Australia
  • Actions for communities and individuals

Module1: Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement (Weeks 1 and 2)

  • The Goal: < 2°C (Part 1)
  • The Goal: < 2°C (Part 2)
  • The Carbon Budget (Part 1)
  • The Carbon Budget (Part 2)
  • Deep Decarbonization: Reaching Net-Zero by the Second Half of the Century (Part 1)
  • Deep Decarbonization: Reaching Net-Zero by the Second Half of the Century (Part 2)
  • Sources and Sinks: Energy, Land Use, CCS (Part 1)
  • Sources and Sinks: Energy, Land Use, CCS (Part 2)
  • Uncertainties, Precaution, and Insurance (Part 1)
  • Uncertainties, Precaution, and Insurance (Part 2)

Module 2: Deep Decarbonization: The Three Pillars and National Case Studies (Weeks 3 and 4)

  • Deep Decarbonization Pathway Planning and Mid-Century Strategies
  • The Three Pillars of Decarbonization
  • Case Study: US Deep Decarbonization (Part 1)
  • Case Study: US Deep Decarbonization (Part 2)
  • Case Study: Russia Deep Decarbonization
  • Case Study: Canada Deep Decarbonization
  • Case Study: Australia Deep Decarbonization
  • Challenges in the Decarbonization Transition

Module 3: Low Emissions Electricity & Renewables (Week 5)

  • The Role of Innovation to Reduce Emissions
  • Innovative Off-Grid Energy Solutions
  • Renewables: Solar
  • Renewables: Wind
  • Nuclear Power
  • Transmission, Energy Storage and Grid Integration
  • Life Cycle Analysis

Module 4: Agriculture and Emissions (Week 6)

  • Earth Observations for Climate Mitigation
  • The Need to Reduce Uncertainties in Global Land-Use Information
  • Global Crop Models and Their Potential to Assess Mitigation Options in Agriculture

Module 5: Monitoring Land Use (Weeks 7 and 8)

  • Mitigation on Land and the SDGs (Part 1)
  • Mitigation on Land and the SDGs (Part 2)
  • GHG Mitigation in Agriculture (Part 1)
  • GHG Mitigation in Agriculture (Part 2)
  • Using System Analysis for Globally Consistent National Mitigation Planning (Part 1)
  • Using System Analysis for Globally Consistent National Mitigation Planning (Part 2)
  • Case Study: Brazil’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution
  • Supply Chain Solutions to Deforestation: Evidence from Brazil

Module 6: Policy Tools for the Transition to Low-Emissions (Week 9)

  • Principles of Public Policy
  • Putting a Price on Carbon (Part 1)
  • Putting a Price on Carbon (Part 2)
  • Intellectual Property, Access, and Innovation
  • Climate Fairness & Justice (Part 1)
  • Climate Fairness & Justice (Part 2)

Module 7: Low-Emission Solutions and the Business Community (Week 10)

  • Business Solutions for Climate Change
  • Technology Partnerships to Tackle Climate Change
  • Business Action in Practice: Renewables
  • Sustainable Transport Systems
  • The Role of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

Meet your instructors

Jeffrey D. Sachs
Columbia University
Jim Williams
University of California - San Francisco

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