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PL4-302 Towards a Low Emission Society

Emneplan for studieåret 2020/2021

Innhald og oppbygging

The course uses the socio-technological systems approach as well as transition theories to provide a framework for assessing mitigation options. Major systems of energy- and material-production & consumption are covered, such as low carbon energy technologies (renewable energies, fission & fusion, energy efficiency), low carbon material technologies (substitution of fossil resources, material efficiency) and net negative emission strategies. These principal mitigation options are discussed with the help of case studies that detail mitigation plans and actions in different countries and sectors and their likely contribution to a low carbon transition. Students deepen their understanding through application in a selected topic of the low carbon transition. The choice is based on externally funded research projects, enabling students to get hands-on knowledge. The course closes with an outlook on sustainable development and circular economy approaches. The focal methods covered are integrated assessment, life-cycle-assessment, and material flow analysis.



  • Knowledge about mitigation options and policy frameworks targeting emission reductions at the demand- as well at the supply-side accounting for indirect and direct emissions and all sectors,
  • Knowledge about the scale of reductions necessary in different parts of the world given their expected economic and population growth in the next decades,
  • Advanced knowledge on socio-technical challenges and transition strategies to mitigate in different sectors,
  • Knowledge about the decision support methods and tools used to develop mitigation strategies and advanced knowledge about methods to assess environmental consequences.


  • Understand and explain the resource potential, technical properties, socio-economic challenges, and environmental impacts of conventional and future key technologies.
  • Apply conceptual and theoretical arguments in the discussion of issues relating to energy- and climate policy and the transition of industrial and societal systems.
  • Synthesize material from a broad range of relevant areas in addressing specific questions about the transition from carbon-based to renewable energy- and material production as well as consumption.
  • Describe how to stimulate change in delivering sustainable energy systems, and the difficulties in doing so, illustrating the importance of innovation by developing a proposal to a transition project.
  • Utilize relevant research, demonstrate independent analytical work, and critically assess scientific research results.

General competence:

  • Understand the challenges of global energy- and material production and consumption and necessary transition processes, with respect to technological limitations, environmental considerations, and societal effects.
  • Develop the skills needed to undertake independent research both in industry and in academia.
  • Contribute to new ideas and transition measures that societies can implement to mitigate climate change.
  • Disseminate their own comprehensive, independent research or applied research, and utilize relevant scientific theory, concepts, and terminology.

Krav til forkunnskapar

Completed bachelor degree of 180 ECTS

Undervisnings- og læringsformer

Interactive lectures & dedicated time for reading and watching assignments

Participation in workshops and related assignments: role-play game "World energy", resource game "In the loop", deep-dive workshop, training on proposal development.

Group work to develop a project proposal targeting a selected low greenhouse gas emission strategy applied to Western Norway (groups of 1-3 students). Topics are predefined but students can choose if the proposal is more oriented towards research/or practice. Their work will be guided by 'terms of reference for funding' (a light version of a European funding program). In addition, a workshop on how to develop project proposals is hold.

Presentation of proposals to class to get feedback.

Obligatorisk læringsaktivitet

Oral presentation of the project proposals


  1. Written 4 hour exam (multiple choice; 40%)
  2. Project proposal, including feedback (semesteroppgåve; 60%)

Grading A-F

Hjelpemiddel ved eksamen

Exam 1: no resources. Exam 2: all resources such as literature, internet, draft of the project proposal, own notes.

Meir om hjelpemiddel