In 2015 the Paris Agreement was adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement builds upon the Convention and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to rapidly mitigate climate change (to keep the average global temperature rise well below 2C degrees and as close as possible to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels) and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support for developing countries. The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead (https://unfccc.int). Increasing major climate-related events (like the wildfires in California, drought in Europe, floods after hurricane Harvey) and new high-end projections of climate change, sea level rise and socio-economic development illustrate the large and urgent call for suitable and innovative adaptation and mitigation measures.
This forms a range of new challenges to natural and social science. Answers need to be found on questions such as: How will ecosystems be affected and how will these feed back to the climate system? How will national and international political agendas be set by climate change issues? How will citizens, consumers, companies, and other social actors respond to climate change? What will be the economic costs of the impacts and measures related to climate change, and how are these costs globally distributed? Will new social and economic opportunities emerge in the process of adaptation? As these changes and challenges become ever more apparent, the demand for scientists that are able to understand and investigate them will rise.
The BSc minor starts with a compulsory course where the basic understanding of climate change and mitigation and adaptation is introduced and students choose a case study that will be explored more in depth during the minor. Students with a natural science background are encouraged to join the (restricted optional) introduction courses in the social sciences, while students with a social science background are encouraged to join the (restricted optional) introduction courses in the natural sciences (note that for some course certain knowledge is assumed). In the last period of this BSc minor students apply all new knowledge and insights in a compulsory course and complete their case study assignment.
After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate basic understanding of the physical, chemical and biological mechanisms and feedbacks that regulate the Earth System;
- demonstrate command of the basic social-scientific concepts that are relevant to understanding the interaction between climate change and society;
- use various methodological approaches to studying climate-related physical, socio-political and economic issues, including the prospects of mitigation of, and adaptation to climate change;
- cooperate within a multidisciplinary team and contribute to the design and development of policy measures dealing with climate change and its effects on society;
- demonstrate awareness of the widely divergent economic and cultural situations in which people live in different parts of the world and the effects that climate change, and measures to mitigate or adapt to it, may have on their well-being.
This minor is interesting for WU-students of the BSc programmes:
- BBC Management and Consumer Studies
- BBI Biology
- BBN Forest and NAture Conservation
- BBW Soil, Water, Atmosphere
- BIL International Land and Water Management
- BMW Environmental Sciences
- BPW Plant Sciences
- BEB Economics and Governance
- BIN International Developmental Studies
- BCL Communication and life Sciences
- BGM Health and Society
First semester (period 1, 2 and 3)
Thematic or programme