Coursera: From Climate Science to Action

 with  Kanta Kumari Rigaud and Pablo Benitez
Each part of the world faces specific vulnerabilities to climate change and has different opportunities to mitigate the effects and build resilience in the 21st century. With the ratification of the Paris Agreement, many countries have acceded to act in combatting climate change. Indeed, without climate action, decades of sustainable development is at risk, thus making this a ‘make or break’ point in time. Showcasing the most recent scientific evidence, explaining the different regional impacts and divulging climate action strategies, along with interactive tools such as a Carbon Footprint Tracker and (I) NDC Platform, this MOOC provides some opportunities, where you can take action on climate change.

About the Course

This action-oriented MOOC gives you the opportunity to learn about regional climate change impacts and sector-specific strategies to increase resilience and move towards a low-carbon future. You will have the opportunity to explore these issues in depth and tailor your learning experience for one or more of the following regions:

• Latin America and Caribbean
• Sub-Saharan Africa
• Middle East and North Africa
• Eastern Europe and Central Asia
• East Asia and Pacific
• South Asia

In this endeavor, the MOOC brings together renowned scientists and policymakers to provide a synthesis of the most recent scientific evidence on climate change, regional low emissions and climate resilient development strategies across sectors. A team of expert Instructors will lead discussions around the Paris Agreement, reflections from COP22 and the progress on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Course Syllabus


‘From Climate Science to Action’ is divided into four weeks. The first two weeks will provide a comprehensive overview of the scientific evidence for climate change, followed by region-specific insights on the impacts of a warmer world in the 21st century. The last two weeks will focus on action strategies that are being undertaken in different regions and countries to meet the climate challenge, and how you as an individual can take action to avoid a warmer world!

Week 1: Climate Change in the 21st Century

• Historical and projected observed changes in the climate system, leading up to the end of the 21st century
• The potential of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted at COP 21 from 187 countries to induce climate action
• Trends in climate change impacts, including loss of Arctic sea ice, melting glaciers, increased heat waves and extreme temperatures, and drought and aridity
• Possible responses from natural systems, explaining how warming could result in sea-level rise, heat waves and extreme temperatures, and ocean acidification

Week 2: Sectoral and Regional Impacts

• Impacts on key development sectors—from warming above pre-industrial temperatures and projected climate trends—across each of the world’s regions
• Sectoral impacts focusing on agricultural production, water resources, ecosystem services, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations
• Importance of risks with the potential to reverse hard-won development gains and potentially trap millions in poverty, illustrating the need for urgent action now

Week 3: From Science to Action on Climate Change

• Region-specific discussions on mitigation actions needed to reduce emissions while decreasing vulnerability to climate change impacts through adaptation and by building climate resilience
• Perspectives from regional experts on their experiences in strategies and actions proposed in each region to help transition towards a low-emissions, climate-resilient development path
• Discussions on the progress of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), outcomes of the Paris Agreement and reflections from the Conference of Parties (COP)22

Week 4: What You Can Do

• Transformative impact of day-to-day changes when brought to a global scale
• The rationale for acting now, acting together and acting differently
• Examples and expected benefits of mitigation and adaptation policies, considering both contributions to global emission reductions and local development opportunities

In addition to the core resources and assignments, you may choose to go further, engaging in fun optional exercises, networking, discussion, and diving deeper into our rich selection of supplemental resources. You will have the opportunity to explore these issues in depth and tailor your learning experience for one or more of the following regions:

• Latin America and Caribbean
• Sub-Saharan Africa
• Middle East and North Africa
• Eastern Europe and Central Asia
• East Asia and Pacific
• South Asia

Course Format

This MOOC has a week-by-week structure, with resources, activities and exercises for you to engage in during each of the four weeks of the course. Each week, you will find a variety of course material, including:

• Interactive video talks by renowned climate scientists and practitioners
• Interactive tools: the Carbon Footprint Tracker, (I) NDC platform
• Resources: Core, optional (deep dive) and fun interactives on the week’s theme
• Quizzes that check your knowledge, reinforce the lesson’s material and provide immediate feedback
• Assignments that will sharpen your skills of analysis, reflection and communication
• Discussion forums and social media that enable collaboration with others from around the world, enriching interaction among participants
• As a final project, you will create a digital artifact

You can also go much further than this, engaging in optional exercises, networking, or discussion forums and dive deeper into our rich selection of additional resources. We also will use e-discussions, and other tools to facilitate dialogue between the learners and experts.

Recommended Background: No background knowledge is necessary. The content of this course is designed to be accessible to students from any discipline.

Connect: Communicate and share resources via Twitter using hashtag #learnclimate. Sign up for a free account at


Climate Change in the 21st Century
Week 1 will introduce you to the growing and well-documented body of evidence regarding observed changes in the climate system. Week 1 will also provide an overview of the projected changes in climate up until the end of the 21st century.

Sectoral and Regional Impacts
Week 2 will introduce you to the climate impacts across different regions of the planet. If warming goes beyond 2˚C, multiple threats associated with a warming planet such as extreme heat waves, sea–level rise, more intense storms, droughts and floods, will be more frequent and will have severe negative implications for the poorest and most vulnerable.

From Science to Action on Climate Change
Week 3 will introduce you to a region-specific understanding of challenges on what mitigation and adaptation actions are needed to reduce emissions, at the same time decreasing vulnerability to climate change impacts and building climate resilience. The module will draw on key regional experts involved in the implementation of different policy instruments.

What You Can Do
This week will introduce you to the types of actions not just by your country, but by different actors including yourself, to embark on a low-emissions development trajectory that would help limit warming to below 2°C.

1 Student
Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Pace Finished
Institution The World Bank
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Hours 3-5 hours a week
Calendar 4 weeks long
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FAQ View All
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

1 review for Coursera's From Climate Science to Action

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Martin Pluta completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
The course has improved my understanding of potential impacts of climate change and has provided me with additional tools when engaging into education and political actions. This will be valuable support for my personal effort to communicate climate change issues.
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