• University of Exeter

Climate Change: Solutions

Explore the potential solutions to climate change and how they relate to the UN's sustainable development goals.

26,054 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Discover solutions to climate change

Man-made climate change is one of the biggest threats to the world. The effects are already being seen through receding glaciers, ocean acidification and an increasingly vulnerable food supply. It’s vital we work to find solutions to climate change.

On this course you will explore solutions to this global challenge, including mitigation, adaptation and geo-engineering, which can help avoid the most dangerous climate changes and increase the resilience of societies and ecosystems to climate changes that cannot be avoided.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds Hello, I’m Tim Lenton, and I’m a professor of climate change and earth system science here at the University of Exeter. It’s easy to become disillusioned and depressed about how we’re changing the climate, but I want us to explore some of the positive responses and solutions to the extraordinary global challenge and to look at how we can create a better future together both for people and for this extraordinary planet we’re part of. Before we can tackle solutions to a problem as large as climate change, we need to introduce the concept of sustainable development. Addressing the sustainable development goals is integral to tackling the climate change challenge. And during this course, we’re going to focus on four of those goals.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds Climate action and how we can best respond to changes in the earth systems through mitigation, adaptation, and geoengineering. Life on land and techniques to improving food security for an expanding population as well as strengthening the natural carbon sea. Life below water and what we can do to protect our oceans to create a healthy and flourishing marine ecosystem. Sustainable cities and communities and why it’s important for us to work together to design cities of the future that work in harmony with the natural world. I’ll be joined by academics from here at the University of Exeter who will help us identify practical solutions that work at scales from the international right down to what we can do in our own lives.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds We’ll help you take action to live more sustainable. We don’t need to wait for politicians to start the movement to tackle climate change. There are actions that we can all take now as businesses, communities, and individuals to find solutions to this profound challenge. Join us now to find out more.


  • Week 1

    Climate Action

    • The Big Questions

      In the first activity of the course, Professor Tim Lenton and Dr Damien Mansell introduce you to the big questions in Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals.

    • Responding to climate change

      There are three main ways to respond to climate change – to mitigate, adapt or geoengineer. This activity will introduce these approaches and some case studies of each.

    • Sustainable Energy

      Apply your knowledge so far to finding viable solutions to creating a sustainable energy sector. Is nuclear the way forward? Should we frack? Are renewables able to match our growing thirst for energy?

    • Summary

      Reflect on what you’ve learnt so far in Week 1 of Climate Change: The Solutions

  • Week 2

    Life on land

    • Improving food security

      How can we solve global food security problems whilst also tackling climate change?

    • Sustainable agriculture and land-use

      We've been changing the land around us for over 10,000 years. Take a look back at the history of this change before exploring some of the solutions to cutting emissions associated with this.

    • Strengthening the carbon sink

      How can we strengthen a natural carbon sink to absorb the excess carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere? In this activity, we’ll explore solutions that allow us to work with nature to solve the problem of climate change.

    • Summary

      Test what you’ve learnt so far in the course with a short quiz, then reflect on and discuss the ‘Life on Land’ theme.

  • Week 3

    Life below water

    • Tackling ocean acidification

      What options do we have to tackling “the other carbon dioxide problem"? In this activity we’ll look at how a truly global problem can be solved at an international level.

    • Clean up your act!

      We are damaging our oceans in other ways too and in this activity we'll explore solutions to other global environmental problems in the ocean.

    • Can we protect our oceans?

      We’ve looked at some of the biggest threats our oceans face, but in this activity we turn to the local scale. What can you do in your local community to help protect our oceans?

    • Summary

      Round-up Week 3 with a short discussion linking everything back to our overlying theme of Sustainable Development.

  • Week 4

    Sustainable cities and communities

    • Sustainable Buildings

      Buildings have huge carbon footprints associated with their construction and upkeep - so are there climate change solutions to be found here?

    • Sustainable Cities

      Over half the world now live in cities and that figure is rising. We need to make our cities more sustainable and reduce their vulnerability to the big threats of the 21st century. Let's take a look at the cities of the future.

    • Sustainable Communities

      Sustainable communities are at the heart of ensuring the right decisions are made to implement the climate change solutions we’ve discussed in the course so far.

    • Course round-up

      Finish off the course with a quick quiz on what you’ve learnt over the past 4 weeks and reflecting on what some of the solutions to the biggest global environmental problems might be.

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 sustainable development goals and their links to climate change
  • Explore responses to climate change: mitigation, adaptation and geoengineering
  • Identify methods of making agriculture more sustainable and explore the viability of these methods
  • Debate the viability of solutions that help strengthen the terrestrial biosphere carbon sink
  • Explain possible solutions to reducing ocean acidification
  • Discuss methods and policies being implemented to reduce plastic in oceans
  • Describe how buildings and cities can be designed to be more sustainable
  • Apply the theme of ‘sustainable communities’ to the developing world

Who is the course for?

You don’t need any prior knowledge of climate change, just an interest in science, nature and the environment. However it might be useful to have completed the sister course to this one: Climate Change: The Science.

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

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

Course producer for University of Exeter Global Systems Institute


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.

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