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Climate and Energy: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Explore climate change issues from an interdisciplinary perspective to find innovative solutions for a better future.

1,653 enrolled on this course

Utö, Sweden

Climate and Energy: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

1,653 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

Gain interdisciplinary skills for climate change solutions

On this four-week course, you’ll join educators from ten universities on a virtual field trip to a remote Swedish island to gain perspectives on climate and energy from a multitude of disciplines.

On our shared journey to this beautiful part of the world, you’ll study the climate of the past, the state of the climate, and climate change solutions.

With this walkthrough, you’ll understand not only what we know about climate change, but where this knowledge comes from.

Delve into the carbon cycle

The second part of the course considers the state of the climate, the ‘wicked’ nature of its associated problems, and the call for interdisciplinary solutions.

You’ll explore key topics, such as the carbon cycle, and gain an understanding of climate terminology to help enhance your communication skills.

Explore different energy solutions

Next, you’ll unpack an interdisciplinary perspective on energy solutions, considering both opportunities and drawbacks.

Through case studies, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the environmental impacts of different energy sources.

With this knowledge, you’ll discover how it is essential to collaborate with specialists of other disciplines working on climate and energy.

Learn how to take steps to a sustainable future

Finally, you’ll explore international climate law and policy as well as solutions such as marine protected areas and counting carbon. This will help you understand whether the challenges of climate change are being addressed effectively.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to take a collaborative approach to climate change for more effective action.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second We often hear the words climate change in the papers, in the news, in social media, but we don’t fully understand its implications. This course is for everyone who is interested, curious or just wants to understand a bit better what climate change means.


  • Week 1

    Climate of the past

    • Introduction

      This course takes the form of a virtual excursion to a remote Swedish island called Utö. Here, we welcome you to the island, and tell you about what we will learn while we are (virtually) together.

    • Climate of the past

      In this activity we will visit our first locality, Södra Sandvik. Here we will learn about the climate of the past.

    • Reconstructing past climates

      In this activity, we are back in the village. Here we will learn about the tools we use to reconstruct past climates. These are paleoclimatology and geochronology.

  • Week 2

    The state of the climate

    • Carbon cycle and climate

      After introducing relevant terminology, we will study the carbon cycle and how it is being perturbed by humans.

    • Water cycle and climate

      Walking through the forest from Södra Sandvik to Kroka, we will listen to a podcast by Dr. Marco Petitta from Sapienza University as he talks about the water cycle and climate.

    • Biodiversity and climate

      On our way to and at the calcareous meadows and grazed pastures, near the settlement of Kroka, a haven for biodiversity, we will learn how human-induced global warming impacts on biodiversity and can result in a mass extinction.

  • Week 3

    Energy solutions

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      Setting a framework for climate change solutions, Delia Laura Popescu, Researcher at the University of Bucharest, presents the Sustainable Development Goals.

    • Energy sufficiency and efficiency

      Keys energy solutions are sufficiency (using less energy) and efficiency (using energy efficiently).

    • Renewable energy and biodiversity

      Associate Professor Juan Malo from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid discusses opportunities and drawbacks of renewable energy focusing specifically on biodiversity.

    • Is hydrogen a solution?

      Professor José Ramón Ares at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid explores the role of hydrogen as a solution for energy production and storage.

  • Week 4

    Policy solutions

    • International climate law and policy

      Associate Professor Gudrun Zagel at Salzburg University explores the role of international climate law and policy as a solution to the climate crisis.

    • Policy in action: Marine Protected Areas

      Anne Cadoret, Associate Professor in Geography and Territorial Development at Aix Marseille University uses marine protected areas to exemplify the crucial role of policy in guiding climate change solutions.

    • Counting carbon

      Carbon budgets are a key aspect of climate policy. In this activity, we will take a look at how they are quantified.

    • Behavioral change

      Dr. Ria Dunkley from the University of Glasgow concludes this MOOC with a reflection on behavioral change and its significance for the Climate Crisis.

    • Congratulations!

      Obtain a CIVIS badge for completing a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on FutureLearn.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

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 climate crisis and how it came to be from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Compare disciplinary approaches to acquiring knowledge about climate and energy
  • Assess climate change solutions from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Demonstrate disciplinary knowledge about climate and energy beyond their own discipline
  • Collaborate with specialists of other disciplines working on climate and energy

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in climate change issues.

It will also be useful for undergraduates who want to broaden their perspective on climate and energy beyond their own discipline.

Who will you learn with?

I am Professor of Geochemistry and Petrology at Stockholm University. I research on and teach about climate change from a geological perspective and about the ongoing climate crisis.

Dr Ria Dunkley is a Senior Lecturer in Geography, Environment & Sustainability within the School of Education & Associate Director of the Centre for Sustainable Solutions at the University of Glasgow.

Rankine Chair of Energy Engineering at the University of Glasgow, where I am the Head of the Energy & Sustainability Research Group, and Associate Director of the Centre for Sustainable Solutions.

Marco Petitta, PhD, Full Professor of Hydrogeology at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, authoring more than 90 international papers, is vice-President of International Association of Hydrogeologists

Associate Professor at the Department of Ecology, I am deeply convinced of the utility of Ecology to problem solving and my research interes are focused on the effects of human activities on fauna

Associate Professor at Sapienza University of Rome. I am a conservation biologist especially interested in developing quantitative techniques for addressing large-scale conservation problems.

Associate Professor of International Law at Salzburg University, special interest in climate change law and its linkages to other areas of law such as human rights or trade and investment law

I am a palaeoecologist at Sapienza University of Rome who focuses on the Quaternary vegetation and climate history of Europe.

I am Associate-Professor at Aix Marseille University (France). My research stands accros archaeological and paleoenvironmental sciences, focusing on material from Late Pleistocene.

I teach physics at different undergraduate and postgraduate courses at UAM. My research is focused on investigate adecuate materials for energy storage and conversion into a sustanaible landscape.

I am an Associate Professor in Social Geography in Aix-Marseille University, specialized in the analysis of conflictual and concerted management processes on coastal zone and Marine Protected Areas.

Radu is an Assoc. Prof. in the Faculty of Philosophy of Bucharest University. He graduated in Physics and Philosophy, got a PhD in Philosophy from U. Konstanz and a PhD in IR from SNSPA (Bucharest).

Biogeochemist and research associate of the F.R.S-FNRS at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Specialized in the quantification at the global scale of carbon and nutrient fluxes in coastal systems.

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020


CIVIS is a European Civic University formed by the alliance of 11 leading research higher education institutions across Europe

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$69/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

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Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 18 Aug 2024

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