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GE4-300 Climate Change and Climate Policy

Emneplan for studieåret 2020/2021

Innhald og oppbygging

The course provides an overview of and knowledge about the climate processes and modelling, as well as politics and governance of climate change. The latter will be achieved through the study of the actors, content and policy instruments in international climate agreements. The course has a specific focus on the IPCC, and its methodology and working practices. In order for the students to understand the relationships between politics and climate changes, the established educational tool 'World Climate' is utilized, a role-play exercise mimicking the United Nation's yearly climate change negotiations. Groups of students take the role of different nations or interest groups in order to come together for negotiating a new climate contract. A feature of the game is that the propositions of the parties with negotiating power are entered into an online simulation tool, so that the impact on the global average temperature and sea-level rise etc. can immediately be revealed to the audience. The course will establish the necessary knowledge needed for further studies in course 3 (ecosystem response to climate change); course 4 (climate mitigation); course 7 (climate change adaptation); and course 8 (how to combine climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, and how to move from adjustment to transformation of society).



  • Basic knowledge of climate system science,
  • Understanding of the differences between climate and meteorology,
  • An overview of the impacts of climate change globally and in Norway,
  • A basic understanding of modelling tools (climate models, integrated assessment models of climate change, local/regional impact models),
  • Advanced knowledge about the IPCC, its background and working methods,
  • A basic understanding of transitional aspects and zero-emission pathways,
  • Advanced knowledge about global and national politics of climate change, he international climate negotiations and the different actors involved (overview on their missions and responsibilities),
  • Knowledge about emission targets and actions, internationally and in Norway,
  • Knowledge about climate change adaptation internationally and in Norway,
  • Knowledge about options to mitigate and adapt to climate change (discussion of options, policy tools, costs, and politics of climate change),
  • Knowledge about related policies, such as local energy and climate plans in Norway and abroad,
  • Knowledge about the challenges and solutions for bridging climate science with policy,
  • Overview on issues of the debate of climate change.


  • Understand and utilize the main content of the IPCC and their working methods,
  • Developing a profound understanding of complex systems thinking,
  • Gain extended insight into certain aspects of climate change and climate policy.
  • Develop a briefing on climate policies of a country.

General competence:

  • A general understanding of human-natural system, past and present climate change, and the science behind climate and integrated assessment models,
  • Evaluate climate targets, policy measures and applied climate policy,
  • Critically assess online information on climate change,
  • Employ, gather and assess relevant literature.

Krav til forkunnskapar

Completed bachelor degree of 180 ECTS

Tilrådde forkunnskapar


Undervisnings- og læringsformer

  • Lectures
  • Assignments (presentation and written assignment)
  • Participation in role-play game (incl. preparation and post-workshop assignments)

Obligatorisk læringsaktivitet

  1. The students will be divided into groups. Each group must choose one chapter from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), analyse it thoroughly and present the content and conclusions to the rest of the class.
  2. Students participate in the 1-day workshop developed around the climate negotiation game 'World Climate'. Students take different roles and try to negotiate a new climate contract guided by the UN Secretary and the IPCC chair (roles which are taken by the lecturers).
  3. Students analyse in-depth the greenhouse gas inventory of one country, its climate policies and envisaged goals. In a 1-day workshop students brief each other on their countries, also enabling a discussion about the strength and weaknesses of the policies in place. As a final output, students have to deliver a comprehensive overview about their countries, following a standard reporting formate.


Individual oral exam

Grading A-F