Climate Change Leadership: Power, Politics and Culture

15 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 1MV077

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Sustainable Development G2F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 10 March 2016
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

60 credits

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • critically relate to prerequisites, possibilities and limitations for a sustainable leadership within the climate field;
  • from an environmental historical perspective critically compare different explanatory models of how changes in the climate have influenced different societies;
  • interpret different theoretical models concerning the emergence of the industrial society as a cause for anthropogenic climate change;
  • critically review and analyse global power relations and apply an equity perspective on the climate change challenge;
  • analyse and interpret different theories of leadership, cooperation, organisation and communication for a functioning climate change leadership;
  • explain the connections between climate change, conflicts and geopolitical power relations;
  • analyse and evaluate different proposed solutions and their opportunities, limitations and risks within the climate field;
  • apply skills within leadership, cooperation, organisation and communication specifically connected to different contemporary and future scenarios within the climate field.


The course starts with an introduction and critical discussion of basic concepts and conceptions about climate changes, sustainable development, climate change leadership, science, power and politics. The science debate concerning climate change and different scientific disciplines perspective on the climate change challenge are also focused on during the first part of the course. From the initial concept orientation, follows a basic, natural science overview of climate change over geological and historical time, and a number of environmental historical case studies that illustrate different societies interaction, adaptation and collapse in relation to climate changes and changes in the surrounding world. After that, the basic reasons for anthropogenic climate change during the history of the industrialisation are studied. On the basis of the multidisciplinary understanding within natural science, environmental history and economic history established during the first half of the course, a framework and prerequisites for a functioning climate change leadership is then defined, with focus on leadership, communication, cooperation and organisation for a sustainable development and stabilised climate. The discussion is then problematised further by a number of overarching perspectives within political philosophy, ethics, equity, international agreements, conflicts, conflict solution, the matter of responsibility and ecological debt. The course closes with a number of applied case studies based on different contemporary and future scenarios as for example biofuels and rising food prices; disaster management and different methods for climate adaptation; infrastructure and restructuring of society; future conflicts and cooperations.


The teaching consists of lectures, seminars and workshops. The lectures are given by guest lecturers from different academic disciplines and other relevant societal sectors. The teaching method is based on active student participation and critical thinking.


The student is examined through written assignments before and active participation in seminars (8 credits) and at the end of the course through written and oral presentation of a larger project work (7 credits).