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Online course

Energy, the Environment and Our Future

Learn where we get our energy from today and why we need to change our energy system now, to avoid future changes to our climate.

Energy, the Environment and Our Future

Why join the course?

This course shows the immense value we get from energy, where we get it, why the energy system must change, and why a faster change is needed.

We’ll cover: + Why Energy Matters + Oil, Coal and Natural Gas + Drilling, Fracking and Reserves + The History and Physics of Global Warming

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify natural and human-driven systems and processes that produce energy and affect the environment
  • Explain basic scientific concepts related to energy
  • Discuss how global warming from fossil fuel use has arisen historically
  • Summarize how the climate has always changed and how humans are driving changes, which will have large, long-lasting impacts if we don’t shift our energy system

What topics will you cover?

  • Stories of our ancestors showing the immense value, but real difficulties of energy use including burning trees and whale oil
  • Creative ways our ancestors dealt with drought and how rain impacted population
  • How we talk about energy, what is it, and how much of it we use
  • The long process of how the Earth makes fossil fuels
  • US Energy use and the US economy
  • The formation and origins of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas)
  • The physics of global warming and the history of carbon dioxide
  • Climate models using natural and anthropogenic forcings
  • The history of global warming including The Great Dying, PETM and the Ice Ages
  • The Projection Project and the impacts of increased CO2 on the planet

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced
Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

What will you achieve?

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

  • Identify both natural and human-driven systems and processes that produce energy and affect the environment
  • Explain basic scientific concepts related to energy in language that non-scientists can understand
  • Discuss how global warming from fossil-fuel use has arisen historically
  • Summarize how the climate has always changed and how humans are driving the ongoing changes, which will have large and long-lasting impacts if we don’t shift our energy system

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone at any level, with an interest in how energy, the environment and our future are interrelated. It is ideal for anyone considering postgraduate study in the field, such as the online Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems from Penn State.

Who developed the course?

The Pennsylvania State University is a leading public research university located in State College, Pennsylvania.

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Join this course

Free
$0

  • Access to this course for 7 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

Upgrade
$89

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime
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