Climate Change Leadership: Power, Politics and Culture

15 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 1MV077

Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Sustainable Development G2F
Grading system
Pass with distinction, Pass with credit, Pass, Fail
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 10 February 2022
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 compare different explanatory models of how changes in the climate have influenced different societies;
  • 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 is based in an introduction to and critical discussion of basic concepts and understandings of climate changes, sustainable development, climate change leadership, science, power and politics. The scientific debate concerning climate change and different scientific disciplines perspectives on the climate change challenge are dealt with in detail together with a basic, scientific review of climate change over geological and historical time. From the initial concept orientation, follows a basic, natural science overview of climate change over geological and historical time. Furthermore, a number of environmental history case studies are dealt with that illustrate different societies interaction, adaptation and collapse in relation to climate changes and changes in the surrounding world. 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 various academic disciplines and relevant areas of society. Ample opportunities are provided for active student participation and critical reflection. Participation in seminars and workshops is compulsory. Non-compulsory study visits or equivalent may occur.


The student is examined through written preparation for (4 credits) and active participation in seminars and workshops (3 credits), and through written documentation (7 credits) and oral presentation (1 credit) of a project.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Other directives

Active participation is reassessed through a re-seminar. If a student after having been offered a re-seminar still does not meet the requirements to pass the active participation elements the examiner can choose reassessment by another method.