FREE
Rainer Sauerborn

Climate Change & Health for Policy-Makers

  • MOOC
  • English
  • Political Science

About this course

This MOOC was developed by four eminent scientists who together authored the health chapter in the recent 5th Assessment report of the IPCC. They offer you a short crash-course into the topic of climate change, tailored to senior policy-makers and negotiators of climate agreements, particularly as an input into the climate conference COP21 in Paris in December this year.

This 1 week MOOC requires 3 hours of investment time and provides hard evidence for four key arguments as to why health is and should be central in climate policy.

Two positive arguments:
1. Health is a positive motivator, a driving force for citizens and policy-makers to care about and act on climate change.
2. The huge health co-benefits must enter the risk-benefit calculations.

However, two arguments pertain to the restrictions that our health and physiology impose on humans under climate change, particularly in a world that is +4°C warmer:
1. There are health limits to adaptation.
2. Decreased work productivity in hot countries.

Finally, we should consider health as an indicator, not only for sustainable development, but also for climate policy.

Who should take this MOOC?

Senior, experienced members of climate negotiation teams from all 195 member states of the UNFCC. The course is launched to allow policy-makers involved in the Climate Conference COP21 in Paris 2015 to take it as part of their brief. In addition, any policy maker at local, national, regional and global levels would benefit from the course, but in keeping with the philosophy of MOOCs, the course is open to any citizen interested in the topic.

What do I need to know?

Participants should be familiar with the essentials of the climate systems and the current debate on mitigation and adaptation policies, as well as proposals for fair financing of the shared but differentiated responsibilities of rich and poor countries, which are the agenda of the COP21 conference.

What will I learn?

(i) The participant will understand why health is not another sector but a key argument in developing climate policy and fair share of the burden and benefits of climate policies.
(ii) The participant will learn the scientific evidence behind the four key climate policy arguments based on human health:
1. Health is a positive motivator, a driving force for citizens.
2. The huge health co-benefits must enter the risk-benefit calculations.
3. There are health limits to adaptation.
4. Decreased work productivity in hot countries.

Course Structure

The course is organised in 4 lectures, each developing the evidence for the 4 health arguments, which we propose are inherent in all negotiations on climate policy:
1. Health is a positive motivator, a driving force for citizens.
2. The huge health co-benefits must enter the risk-benefit calculations.
3. There are health limits to adaptation.
4. Decreased work productivity in hot countries.

The four short lectures (8 minutes) are complementary and follow a common storyline. So it is desirable that the participants watch all of them. This would be an essential useful minimum of investment.

We offer 7 optional quiz questions for each lecture in case the participant wishes to check on his or her comprehension of the factual information provided.

Our discussion forums are key to our MOOC concept. This enables participants to engage in an exchange of views and information on any topic they wish related to the course topic. The course instructor and his assistant will actively participate in the forums.

Weekly YouTube feedback video: The course instructor will personally answer questions that are of great common interest or are frequently asked during a weekly youtube video, put on line each Friday at 2pm CET.

Personal email feedback: The instructor and our team will be available to respond to individual questions and comments directed at us through internal mail during the 3 months of the course will be online.