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Making Climate Adaptation Happen: Governing Transformation Strategies for Climate Change

Explore how adaptive governance could help policymakers plan for and manage sudden environmental changes.

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Making Climate Adaptation Happen: Governing Transformation Strategies for Climate Change
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

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Learn the governance tools to respond to climate change

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing governing bodies across the globe.

On this course, you will be introduced to climate science, the societal effects of climate change, and the responses already available in the form of climate adaptation.

Identify why climate change adaptation is important

Adaptive governance is a term used to describe an approach to managing the uncertainty posed by rapid environmental changes in a more responsive manner than traditional modes of governance.

As such, it could be a vital governance tool in the fight against climate change. Being able to nimbly react to fast-changing environmental crises requires certain skill-sets that many governing bodies currently lack.

Create a climate change adaptation plan

Learning alongside experts in governance and adaptation strategies, you’ll examine the science behind climate change, exploring the terminology and facts behind what it is and how we adapt to it.

You’ll summarise the development of the current architecture of global governance for dealing with climate change.

Differentiate climate change adaptation and mitigation policies

Exploring the costs and benefits of climate adaptation versus climate mitigation, you’ll identify the governance and social science theories that can help tackle environmental change, and the role international climate finance can play.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds HELLEN DAWO: From the rapid melting of the ice in the Arctic and the Tibetan Plateau, risks to water supply in South Africa and increased temperatures in Australia, climate change is a global issue that affects each continent deeply. The scientific evidence calls for action from everyone. This is a story that you may have heard, time and time again. However, what is the scientific evidence? Who is the IPCC? What have global leaders been doing? Are they doing enough? And how can we, as organisations, adapt and respond to climate change? Think of using subsidies to stimulate organic farming, changing policies that encourage use of public transport, or redesign public space. A lot of these decisions are influenced by other actors.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 seconds These different actors, on global, national, and local levels, make decisions, or don’t that affect day-to-day life. The organisation of how decisions about society are made make up governance. Governance decisions determine how much we pay for the food in the supermarket. They determine the amount and quality of water flowing from the tap, and the security of our electricity supply. This online course on climate adaptation governance was created by an experienced multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Groningen, in cooperation with the Global Centre on Adaptation. Together, we will provide you with the latest scientific information on climate change, theories of governance, and finance in relation to climate governance.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 seconds With this, we hope to provide you with a wider perspective on climate adaptation governance, which will help you in your work or studies. Join us.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to climate change science

    • Welcome to the course

      Outline of the objectives of the course

    • What is climate science?

      In this activity we will review climate science. We explore its predictions, effects of climate change and climate science controversies.

    • Response to climate change

      In this activity we look at how the world has responded to climate change, specifically global agreements on climate adaptation.

    • Opportunities for adaptation solutions

      In this activity we introduce and focus on opportunities for adaptation solutions.

    • Concluding Week 1

      In this activity look back at the first week and forward to Week 2.

  • Week 2

    How climate adaptation governance is implemented

    • Responses to climate change effects through adaptation.

      Here we examine the various approaches to climate adaptation on a global and a national scale.

    • Barriers to climate adaptation implementation

      We will focus on how climate adaptation is implemented: the strategies, barriers and solutions.

    • Opportunities in public-private partnership

      We explore the implementation of climate adaptation strategies through public-private partnerships and locally led actions

    • What happens when the storm hits?

      Here we introduce why a combination of strategies is needed to tackle climate change including disaster risk management.

    • Concluding Week 2

      In this activity we look back at what we have learned in Week 2.

  • Week 3

    Climate adaptation finance

    • What is climate finance?

      This is an introduction to the concept of climate finance and its growing importance during the past decades.

    • Allocation of funds for climate adaptation funds

      Here we explore distribution of climate adaptation funds and look at two globally managed funding bodies.

    • The status of climate adaptation funding

      We examine the mechanisms for collection of climate adaptation funds and how successful they have been. What is the role of the private sector?

    • How far has climate adaptation funding come?

      We get an overview of the development of climate adaptation funding since its inception. We look at its impact and opportunities in the future.

    • Concluding Week 3

      In this activity we look back at what we have learned in Week 3.

  • Week 4

    Nature-based solutions and locally led action

    • What are nature-based solutions?

      An introduction to nature-based solutions. How to implement? And what are the barriers for implementation.

    • Opportunities for private sector

      In this activity we focus on implementation of Nature based Solutions and explore opportunities for the private sector.

    • Overcoming barriers

      We will look at how to overcome barriers to the implementation of nature-based solutions.

    • Thank you and good luck!

      You have reached the end of this course. Thanks for participating!

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the natural science background of climate impacts and climate adaptation based on scientific facts and terminology.
  • Summarise the historical development of the global governance architecture for climate adaptation.
  • Identify relevant governance and social science theories in the context of climate adaptation.
  • Reflect on the role of international climate finance for climate adaptation.
  • Assess climate adaptation governance from an integrated and global vantage point.

Who is the course for?

This course is developed for current and future environmental policy professionals working in both the public and private sectors. It will also appeal to students or professionals interested or working in political science, environmental management, risk management, governance studies, and other related social science fields.

Who will you learn with?

Project Officer Interreg North Sea Region/PhD Research University of Groningen - Campus Fryslan. My research includes sustainable entrepreneurship and business model innovation in sensitive ecologies

Assistant Professor Governance & Innovation, University of Groningen

Research focus on climate adaptation, governance, technology, innovation


Who developed the course?

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Global Center on Adaptation

The international organization GCA acts as a solutions broker to accelerate adaptation action, partnering with the public and private sector to learn and work together for a climate-resilient future.


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