Exploring the science of climate change before COP-26
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
The course will be taught by Dr. Gary Retallick who teaches physics and mathematics at both Birkbeck College and the Open University, runs several courses at City Lit (incl. Cornish) and has previously also taught philosophy.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HS241
Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)
What is the course about?
Even if humans had no impact upon the climate of Earth, it becomes clear from various sources of evidence that the climate of the Earth has changed radically and repeatedly over millions of years. However, of particular concern is the evidence that human activity since the Industrial Revolution is cumulatively changing the Earth’s climate in such as way as to make the Earth less hospitable not only to humans but to many other species as well. In this course, we explore the science of climate change. We will examine:
- what we mean when we talk about the climate.
- what are the mechanisms which can bring about changes in the climate.
- the various changes in the climate of Earth before the evolution of humans.
- the changes in the climate of Earth caused by humans, in particular the greenhouse effect.
- how confident we can be that humans are causing climate change.
- possible futures for the Earth’s climate.
- the likely ways in which climate change will affect humans and other species.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The concepts of climate and climate change
- The mechanisms which lead to climate change
- The causes and nature of changes to the Earth’s climate before humans
- The evidence that human activity is bringing about changes to the Earth’s climate
- The types of change currently observable in the Earth’s climate
- Possible outcomes of climate change and their impact upon humans and other species
- What we can do to limit global emissions and reverse the negative trends.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- state and explain what is meant by the climate and by climate change
- describe the mechanisms which lead to climate change
- describe the changes which happened in the Earth’s climate before humans
- explain why scientists believe that human activity is causing climate change
- describe the changes which are currently occuring in the Earth’s climate
- describe some possible outcomes of climate change and their impact upon humans and other species
- what we can do to limit global emissions and reverse the negative trends.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge of climate change science is required. However, an enthusiasm for learning and an open and critical mind will enhance your enjoyment and benefit from this course.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Lecture - all information will be supplied via Powerpoint slides and notes which will be distributed online.
Students should be prepared to contribute to class discussion and group work.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Students who wish to take notes will need pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might be interested in HS240: Climate Change: the Winners and Losers. Please also check the rest of the courses in the science section.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.