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Global Climate Change: Science and Politics

Summer University Term 3: July 23rd - August 16th


Course price: 1850 Euros

18 hours of class a week, 5 ECTS, max. 24 participants


Climate change is everywhere: news, politics, and science... it emerged as the most dominant topic of the 21st century. Most of the scientists believe we have to tackle climate change, but politicians both nationally and internationally have done little to reduce carbon emissions, but why? Is it really a threat? Alarming vs. Business as usual scenarios determine the debate. This course aims to provide the students a critical look on this discussion; to increase understanding from an interdisciplinary perspective and to join the dialogues from the physical and social sciences outlook.

In this course, based on a wide range of resources, the participant will understand the empirical and normative challenges around the debate of global warming. Why political actors have found it so difficult to find an effective response to climate change?

After getting an overview of the science on global warming in the first part of the course, we look at the growing empirical policy science in the second part. In particular, we talk about the dynamics of public opinion; international cooperation; the economic disagreements and agreements over climate interventions.

Risks and options of addressing climate change - or not address climate change. We end the course through reviews of concrete policy and technical options. The course will present local, regional national and international initiatives combining adaptation and mitigation of climate change through reforestation, sustainable development, technological solutions, renewable energies, low carbon transportation and carbon neutral initiatives.

The course is aimed at participants from these disciplines: Environmental sciences, Anthropology, Political science, International relations, Geography, Environmental economics.

Learning Goals & Syllabus


Students will learn and understand from a scientific basis how the climate system works and be able to evaluate what determines natural and anthropogenic causes. Additionally differentiate between risks and uncertainties of climate change and consider a scientific position on the discussions. Furthermore, to asses the impacts and vulnerability of climate change over livelihoods, ecosystem services and economy. Moreover, build awareness and critical thinking on what can be done at a personal level to reduce the carbon footprint.


Download the Global Climate Change: Science & Politics Syllabus

You may find the syllabus useful when discussing with your home University whether the ECTS credits attainable for this course are accepted by them.

Course components


  • Course objectives, students presentation, methodology, expectatives and main goals

Lesson 1:

  • Climate change (natural greenhouse effect, dynamic earth systems)

Lesson 2:

  • Earth carbon reservoirs- the basics

Lesson 3:

  • Models, theories and scientific facts for climate change

Lesson 4:

  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Short summary of main international meetings and conventions on climate, environment and ozone layer
  • Main stakeholders and roles

Lesson 5:

  • International regimen of climate change
  • What is climate change? Indicators, goals for reduction
  • Alternative conventions

Lesson 6:

  • Climate change mitigation vs adaptation
  • CC mitigation and adaptation mechanisms: (CDM, REDD+, Green Climate Fund and others)

Lesson 7:

  • Forest conservation, biofuels, renewable energies
  • Green building, energy efficiency, low-tech solutions

Lesson 8:

  •  Moving forward
  •  Addressing the climate change at different scales


The general prerequisites of the TU Berlin Summer University are the following: at least one year of university experience + English level B2 or equivalent.


Toa Loaiza Lange, Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM)

Dr. Loaiza holds a PhD in Landscape Geography. She is an Environment Specialist with focus on Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Natural Resources Management. She has experience in projects and working groups focussed on climate change mitigation and adaptation and is currently working as Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation Advisor at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Viceministry of International Cooperation, Dominican Republic.

+ Guest Lecturers (to be announced)


Please direct questions about the course to the TU Berlin Summer University Team at: . We will answer your questions and direct specific queries regarding course content to the course lecturers where necessary.

Brochure & Poster Download

Check out our Brochure and Poster for Summer 2018! 

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Beth Sibly, Director
+49 30 4472 0230