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Climate Change Leadership

Learn how to apply climate change leadership in your business, municipality or organization, with this free online course.

6,537 enrolled on this course

Photograph showing an arc of ice
  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Climate change creates a situation of unprecedented urgency, complexity and uncertainty, but also opens up new opportunities for innovation and leadership.

In this free online course, you will get a view of the leadership challenges associated with climate change, as well as the new arenas that are opening up for climate action.

Discover the leadership challenges posed by climate change

There are repeated calls for bold climate change leadership and action within politics, business, and both established and grassroots organisations, but what does it really entail? What kind of knowledge and skills define a climate change leader and how can they be learned? What kind of political, cultural and psychological resources are lacking in present initiatives?

In this course, we will explore climate change leadership from a broad range of perspectives. We will take stock of the Paris Agreement – the first-ever legally binding global climate deal – and discuss climate justice and pathways to avoid catastrophic climate change. We will examine the social complexity of climate change, and how it may limit the effectiveness of traditional models of leadership within governance, management and development. And we will discuss how to unpack this complexity and identify climate change leadership opportunities in practical, political and personal spheres.

Consider climate change leadership from international to local levels

Climate change leadership does not only happen in negotiation rooms at international conferences. A central part of the course is therefore to identify, discuss and work with climate change leadership challenges in your own context.

You will create a climate change leadership plan for an organisation or issue that you care about, develop your own capacity as a climate change leader and discover ways to deal with climate change that are in proportion to the scale and urgency of the challenge.

Learn with interdisciplinary climate change leaders at Uppsala University

The course has been developed by Uppsala University – a broad research university, which makes it particularly suited to investigate interdisciplinary areas such as climate change leadership.

Throughout, you will learn with researchers who approach climate change and leadership from scientific, social and cultural standpoints, giving you the tools for creating change within your own personal and organisational contexts.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds In Paris 2015 the countries of the world came together and agreed on the goal to avoid dangerous rises in global temperatures. But, although many of the practical solutions are already here, there is still a deep gap between what is needed and what the global community has actually agreed to do.

Skip to 0 minutes and 32 seconds Why is it that in spite of all concern, knowledge and the handshakes at international meetings, we are still on track to irreversible climate change? Many of the arguments about climate change revolve around numbers and models that emphasize the harsh reality of the rapid transformations that are needed in order to avoid frying the planet. But is that enough to inspire action? In this course, we will explore how climate change is not merely a scientific problem, but entangled in a web of social, political and economic relationships. What new forms of cooperation, management and leadership are needed to deal with the unprecedented complexity of this situation?

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds We will hear from world-leading scientists and practitioners connected to Uppsala University’s climate change leadership node, and engage in discussion with course participants from all over the world. “We all have potential here to be agents for change, people that drive change. I think if we are going to rely on some benevolent, incredibly intelligent person to tell the rest of us what it is we need to do, we will fail on climate change.” “There’s so much work to be done. There’s a huge amount of possibilities for places to plug in. It’s going to take everybody, basically. So I think climate leaders are those people who are out there now, trying to make a difference.”

Skip to 1 minute and 57 seconds Throughout this course the interdisciplinary group of guest lecturers, selected readings and discussions with peers will form the foundation to work on a climate change challenge that concerns you. What part will you play?

What topics will you cover?

  • The outcomes of the Paris Agreement and different targets; a historical view on humanity, nature and climate; climate change leadership in your own context.
  • Climate justice, carbon budgets, mitigation strategies, adaptation and the deliberate transformations; local climate change leadership.
  • Climate change as a set of complex challenges or possibilities for change; setting goals for a world we want to live in; transboundary water management, migration; what technology can and cannot do; and who’s responsible for climate change; systems thinking.
  • Perspectives on leadership, communication, narratives, skills and psychological barriers to change.
  • Civic courage, privilege, people who lead and your own climate change leadership plan.

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...

  • Explain the nature of the complex problems resulting from interconnected social, political, and climate change issues, and the leadership challenges associated with these problems.
  • Identify their own role as a climate change leader, and ways to overcome personal or organizational barriers to change.
  • Apply climate change leadership tools in their own organizations or contexts.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who wants to take a leading role in tackling climate change. You might work in a small business, an NGO, a university faculty, government or municipality administration - or just be curious.

Who will you learn with?

Educational Coordinator CEMUS, Uppsala University and SLU. Climate, energy and its social dimensions. Part of the UU CCL MOOC team. www.cemus.uu.se

PhD fellow at SpaceLab, University of Bergen; previously at CEMUS, Uppsala. Researching climate and energy transformations in cities. Part of the Climate Change Leadership team.

Twitter: @jakobgrandin

Course Coordinator at CEMUS/CSD, Uppsala University and SLU.
Sustainability, education and the importance of putting theory into practice. Part of the UU CCL MOOC team.

Course Coordinator CEMUS/CSD, Uppsala University and SLU. Environmental History, ESD and Active Student Participation. Part of the UU CCL MOOC team. www.cemus.uu.se

Who developed the course?

Uppsala University

Uppsala University is the first university in Sweden, founded in 1477. There are about 45,000 students and 6,000 employees at Uppsala university.

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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