Jump to content

PL4-305 Societal transformation

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

Contents and structure

This course gives an insight on how to achieve substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and at the same time adapt to climate change within the goal of a sustainable development. Students will develop a thorough understanding of the mechanisms behind, the nature of, and the impacts of climate change, how society may systematically respond to climate change, and gain insight into working processes and challenges in communicating about climate change, effects of climate change and the need for climate transformation.

Learning Outcome


The student has

  • advanced knowledge of how the need for climate change adaptation, goals of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and adjustment to future (and probably more radical) politics of climate change, in conjunction, will necessitate social transformation
  • advanced knowledge about sustainable development, its background and current scientific and political context
  • insight into the main strategies for sustainable development, including ecological modernization and "degrowth"
  • knowledge about how climate change and political measures against climate change pose challenges to sustainable development
  • insight into planning theory, planning methodology and strategies, and planning under uncertainty
  • knowledge about future scenario studies as a tool in social planning
  • knowledge about vulnerability and risk in societies
  • knowledge about important principles in environmental policy (proactive principle, the polluter pays, best available technology etc.)
  • knowledge about strategies for and barriers against long-term and radical social transformation with regards to climate change
  • knowledge about interplay effects between measures for emissions reductions and climate adaptation
  • knowledge about rebound effects in climate adaptation and measures for emissions reductions


The student is able to

  • contribute to development of sustainable strategies for climate transformation in societal planning
  • contribute in an interdisciplinary team to solve climate challenges
  • communicate with different actors on climate transformation
  • order and adopt future studies and scenario

General competence:

The student can:

  • critically evaluate strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • provide general insights about long term and scenario based planning under large uncertainty.
  • critically reflect on and adopt different planning methods in climate planning

Entry requirements

Completed bachelor degree of 180 ECTS.

Recommended previous knowledge

Completed courses: GE4-300 Climate Change and Climate Policy, GE4-301 Fundamental Research Methods, BI4-301 Climate Change Ecology and PL4-304 Climate Change Adaptation in Land Use Planning

Teaching methods

Lectures (can be done digitally on request), seminars, project work in groups

Excursion (start-seminar)

Compulsory learning activities

  • Take part in 2 1/2 day start-seminar (together with PL4-304)
  • Group assignment consisting of critical analysis of examples of climate change plans
  • Presentation of group work in class


Group assignment (40%)

Written exam (60%), 4 hrs

Grading A-F

Examination support material

No aids allowed

More about examination support material