• University of Exeter

Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions

This course aims to explain the science of climate change, the risks it poses and the solutions available to reduce those risks.

39,575 enrolled on this course

University of Exeter
  • Duration

    8 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

The course is aimed at the level of students entering university, and seeks to provide an inter-disciplinary introduction to what is a broad field. It engages a number of experts from the University of Exeter and a number of partner organisations.

The course will set contemporary human-caused climate change within the context of past nature climate variability. Then it will take a risk communication approach, balancing the ‘bad news’ about climate change impacts on natural and human systems with the ‘good news’ about potential solutions. These solutions can help avoid the most dangerous climate changes and increase the resilience of societies and ecosystems to those climate changes that cannot be avoided.

Please join the discussion with your fellow learners and, if you’d like to follow the Exeter team, please look us up on Facebook and Twitter.

Professor Tim Lenton and Dr Damien Mansell hosted an AMA about Climate Change on Reddit on 19th January 2017. You can catch up with the AMA on Reddit to read their responses, and will have the opportunity to ask your own questions in a live Q&A session during the final week of this course.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Key principles of climate change
  • The climate system, feedbacks, cycles and self-regulation
  • Ancient and recent past climate change
  • Signs of climate change
  • How the global carbon cycle is changing
  • Making future projections and modelling future scenarios
  • The geoengineering dilemma
  • Impacts on land systems – the cryosphere
  • Impacts on ocean systems - acidification
  • Human health and the built environment
  • Climate change and food security
  • Mitigation and adaptation
  • Not in my back yard!
  • Welcome to the Anthropocene
  • Taking action

Learning on this course

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 key principles of climate change
  • Explore past climate change
  • Identify signs of climate change
  • Discuss future projections and modelling future scenarios
  • Explain impacts on land and ocean systems
  • Explore human health and the built environment
  • Discuss solutions and taking action

Who is the course for?

No previous experience or qualifications required.

Who will you learn with?

Professor Tim Lenton is Chair in Climate Change/Earth System Science at the University of Exeter. His research focuses on understanding the behaviour of the Earth as a whole system.

Senior Lecturer at The University of Exeter specialising in Glaciology, GIS and Remote Sensing
Educator on Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions
Find me on twitter @DamienMansell

I recently graduated in Natural Sciences from the University of Exeter. While studying, I worked as an assistant on the FutureLearn course "Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions."

Geography MSc Researcher at the University of Exeter
Content Creator for Invisible Worlds
Mentor on Climate Change: The Science, and Climate Change: The Solutions

Twitter: @DaneenCowling

Lecturer at Leeds University researching the impacts of climate change on our world

Course producer for University of Exeter Global Systems Institute


Davide is concluding a PhD at the University of Exeter, specialising in British Muslim NGOs’ discourse on issues such as global poverty and climate change.

I am a PhD candidate in Environmental Archaeology and Archaeobotany. I have a deep interest in the development of agriculture, food security, science communication and public engagement.

Who developed the course?

University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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You can use the hashtag #exClimate to talk about this course on social media.