Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation

Course content

Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation is an interdisciplinary E-learning course offered by the University of Copenhagen in close collaboration with the Danish Meteorological Institute and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.

Through distance learning it is available everywhere, and it is open for MSc students and continuing education students with a relevant BSc background in natural science, social science and economics.

The focus of the course is climate change impacts and the human response to climate change, including efforts to adapt to climate change, as well as efforts to achieve long term sustainability by avoiding or reducing the negative impacts of climate change. Using IPCC Assessment Reports as the main reference together with recent complementary and contrasting findings, the relevant scientific tools are applied to analyse and discuss the different aspects of climate change.

The course is divided in four main parts that together cover all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the first part of the course the E-learning platform is introduced and a basic understanding of the physical science of climate change is given, together with a brief introduction to the ongoing climate change debate. Natural and anthropogenic drivers, and direct observations of recent climate change are presented. Different climate change models and scenarios are presented and discussed in relation to future climate change projections. 

In the second part of the course the impacts of climate change and potential adaptation strategies in different sectors are presented. After a short introduction to different approaches to climate change adaptation, the climate change impacts and adaptation practices for ecosystems, land use, water resources and human health are presented and discussed in relation to both options, constraints, costs and benefits. 

The third part of the course deals with climate change mitigation strategies. After a general introduction to potential mitigation strategies, the most relevant technological and economic mitigation strategies are presented and discussed, including carbon sequestration, energy system transformation and renewable energy technologies, carbon trading and carbon offsetting. 

In the fourth and final part of the course the focus is climate change policy and social change. First, the current status of international climate change negotiations is discussed. Afterwards, climate change policy is discussed in relation to the green economy paradigm. Finally, the course ends with a discussion of the need for social change in order to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.

For more information see the course homepage at


MSc Programme in Climate Change
MSc Programme in Environmental Science
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to give a solid understanding of climate change impacts, and provide the knowledge and tools to devise effective and cost-effective strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation on a global, sectoral and local scale. After completing the course the student should be able to:

- Identify the natural and anthropogenic drivers of climate change
- Summarise the direct observations of climate change
- Describe the impacts of climate change for agriculture, forestry, ecosystems, water resources and human health
- Refer to common climate change models and scenarios

- Assess the cross-sectoral impacts of climate change in designated areas
- Select and apply relevant scientific tools to analyze the options, constraints, costs and benefits for climate change adaptation
- Compare different climate change mitigation strategies and climate change policy options

- Discuss the ecological, social and economic aspects of climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation on a global, sectoral and local scale
- Cooperate and work independently to devise strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation on a global, sectoral and local scale
- Evaluate climate change policies and reflect on the need for social change

Internet based E-learning modules (E-modules) featuring E-lessons with weekly deadlines as well as individual assignments. Each E-module is composed of an introduction to the E-module topic and two E-lessons featuring: 1) an introduction 2) learning objectives, 3) learning resources - which can be text, video and/or audio files and questionnaires and 5) an online learning activity in the form of a discussion. The role of the teachers is to assist student learning by serving as E-moderators for the various E-lessons and give feedback to the students.

The learning resources consist of uploaded video and/or audio presentations with audio as well as selected scientific articles, reports and book chapters, which will be made available online.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Individual feedback from the course teachers is provided as comments together with the assessment of individual assignments.

Continuous feedback from the course teachers and peer feedback between students is given in the interactive online discussions that are running throughout the course.

Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Students will be assessed on the basis of two individual assignments that take departure in the online learning activities in the course.
Details of the individual assignments will be given at the course start.
The final grade will be based on the assessment of the individual assignments. Each of the individual assignments counts 50% towards the final grade.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the description of learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 204
  • Theory exercises
  • 102
  • Excursions
  • 4
  • Project work
  • 102
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

2 blocks

Block 1 And Block 2
Please note that in the second week of the course all students and teachers will meet one day at the University of Copenhagen, or alternatively participate via webcam (for more information please see
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
  • Department of Chemistry
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
  • The Natural History Museum of Denmark
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Christian Bugge Henriksen   (3-69686e4676726b7434717b346a71)

Marin Lysák (co-responsible)

Saved on the 28-02-2022

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students