The UNSW Introduction to Climate Change (CLIM1001) course is an online-only course that introduces you to climate law, climate psychology, electricity generation and climate impacts. Through scientific method and peer review, you’ll explore variations in climate, models and future projections, different energy systems and more.

Climate change science involves the analysis of changing weather patterns that relate to the oceans, land surfaces and ice sheets. These changes in the Earth’s climate are significant and occur over long periods of time, usually 30 years or more. Since the industrial revolution, atmospheric greenhouse gases have increased and are changing our climate in dramatic ways. Climate change is an issue that confronts many disciplines from architecture to engineering and from business through to environmental science.

In recent years, human activity has directly affected the environment. Our production of materials and energy has led to the increased greenhouse gas emission of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These human-generated gases are enhancing the greenhouse effect and contribute to phenomena like global warming, the destruction of coral reefs, the rising sea level and extreme weather events.

This course draws on the expertise of a broad collection of senior active researchers. Our researchers cover the basics of climate change science and a selection of related areas such as psychology, law, politics, economics, energy supply, ethics and health. Introduction to Climate Change approaches the differing perspectives of climate science through critical analysis. During this course, you’re encouraged to think critically, and through problem-solving exercises, you’ll reflect on a range of insights.

Course breakdown

This course will give you an understanding of the fundamentals of climate change science, and an appreciation for the multi-disciplinary nature of the climate change problem.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Climate change psychology
  • Scientific method
  • Peer review and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • The Earth’s energy budget and the greenhouse effect
  • Global circulation patterns: atmosphere and ocean
  • Past climates and climate variations
  • Climate change law
  • Energy systems
  • Observations of the climate system and extremes
  • Understanding future projections of climate change
  • Impacts: ocean acidification and sea-level rise
  • Ethics of climate change

Conditions for enrolment

Introduction to Climate Change is a first-year course and is also available as a General Education (GENS0401) elective. It has no pre-requisites, and therefore, is suitable for anyone at any stage of their degree or science major.

Career opportunities

Environmental Science analyses and provides solutions to current environmental challenges, including climate change, waste management and the marine environment. To protect the planet, Climate Scientists study, develop and advise on future policies. These policies can be embedded within Government legislation to ensure the survival of flora, fauna and other natural resources.

At UNSW Science, you can further your study in climate change with the Bachelor of Advanced Science (Hons) majoring in Climate System Science or Climate Dynamics.

You can also study aspects of climate change in the Bachelor of Environmental Management.

Relevant roles

  • Climate scientist
  • Science communicator
  • Meteorologist
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Hydrologist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Natural Resource manager
  • Marine scientist
  • Marine biologist
  • Environmental scientist

What our graduates say

“The content was supremely interesting, and I looked forward to the topics each week. It was nice to have such a broad range of topics from legal and social implications to scientific implications.”

- Introduction to Climate Change graduate.

Find out more

For more information, please contact:

Professor Matthew England (Term 2)

E: m.england@unsw.edu.au

T: +61 2 9385 9766

Associate Professor Andréa Taschetto (Term 2)

E: a.taschetto@unsw.edu.au

T: +61 2 9385 0367

Associate Professor Gab Abramowitz (Term 3)

E: gabriel@unsw.edu.au

T: +61 2 9385 8958