What is the course about?
Climate change is currently at the center of the world’s attention, with delegations from more than 190 countries meeting in Paris for the COP21 to negotiate an agreement how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming under 2°C.
There are not many world citizens who do not have their children’s and their own health as a top priority. So why is health not more prominent topic in the debate on climate change and its impacts? We hear a lot about polar bears and smokestacks in the media, but very little on the many and the large health impacts of climate change. With this MOOC, we want to provide state-of-the art evidence of the link between climate change and the health of populations.
Who is this course for?
We address the general public from all parts of the world.
Health professionals may have a special interest and are very welcome, so are teachers and journalists, who may use this MOOC to disseminate the evidence provided. People working in meteorology and climate sciences, too, may be interested in health impacts and are welcome.
In this interface between health and climate, there are few experts. So every interested global citizen, whether expert or not, is welcome to chime in.
What do I need to know?
The course does not require any knowledge about the climate system and climate change. You do not have to be a health person to follow as we cover ground on the link between climate change and health that will be new even for medical doctors. Of course you should be reasonably comfortable with English, not the least to be able to participate in the many interactive platforms and exercises offered during this MOOC.
What will I learn?
You will become familiar with the nature of health impacts worldwide, and for your country in particular. Further you will get to know best practices from around the world in adaptation strategies and the promotion of health co-benefits. There will be discussion forums for disease- and target-group specific interest groups, e.g. a forum on child malnutrition from climate change or health effects on the elderly.
You will analyse your country as a case study throughout the course and share this work with other course participants on our country-specific platforms. You will understand the limits and strengths of your own country’s climate adaptation plan.
Hence you will be able to engage national and local policy makers to improve health protection from climate change in your country. Interviews with national policy-makers will be part of the course.
Chapter 1: What is climate change and how can it affect health?
Chapter 2: What health effects do we expect?
Chapter 3: Reducing emissions - in health terms: prevention
Chapter 4: The good news: doing something to reduce emissions is good for your health
Chapter 5: Adapting to the effects of already occurring climate change - "therapy"
Outlook: A climate friendly world is healthier, more equitable, sustainable and fun
Rainer Sauerborn was the lead author of the health chapter of the recent assessment report of the IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change). He served as an advisor to the German Federal Government on “Global Environmental Changes” from 2000-2004. He was Guest Professor of Climate Change and Global Health in Umeå, Sweden and is currently Visiting Chair for Climate Change at the Centre Virchow-Villermé for Public Health Paris-Berlin, at Université Sorbonne Paris Cité.
He has taught the topic in multiple formats to various audiences, from academics to policy-makers to the general public.
He worked as a Médecin-Chef du District de Santé de Nouna, Burkina Faso, from 1989 to 1982.
He trained as a paediatrician at the Medical School of Heidelberg University, after which he of doctorate in Public Health from Harvard University. As a coordinator of the Health Office of the Harvard Institute for International Development (1992-6), he learned to apply an inter-sectoral wide-angle view at development.
Since 1997, he has held the Chair of Public Health at Heidelberg University. He has a long-standing track record of service and research in Africa and Asia on health systems with a particular focus on climate change and health.