Climate Change Courses on MIT Open Course Ware
In Fall 2014, MIT launched the MIT Climate Change Conversation. Maria T. Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, has charged the MIT community to “explore pathways to effective climate change mitigation, including how the MIT community — through education, research and campus engagement — can constructively move the global and national agendas forward.”
MIT OpenCourseWare is a free and open-licensed web publication of MIT teaching materials, spanning the entire curriculum with over 2,200 courses. Through OCW, educators improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective; students find additional resources to help them succeed; and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges. In support of the Climate Conversation, they have created this list of Climate Change Courses on OCW.
OCW has published many courses on climate change. To foster this conversation, here are some highlights from our publication, organized around four themes: science foundations, new technology and engineering solutions, the continuum of economics-business-policy-politics, and perspectives from the humanities.
- 1.018J Ecology I: The Earth System Fundamentals of ecology, considering Earth as an integrated dynamic system.
- 1.84J Atmospheric Chemistry A detailed overview of chemical transformations in the Earth’s atmosphere, emphasizing the effects of human activity on air quality and climate.
- 12.007 Geobiology The parallel evolution of life and the environment: interactions between biology and the earth system during the four billion years since life first appeared.
- 5.60 Thermodynamics & Kinetics Prerequisite subject for climate science and energy studies.
- 12.003 Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics Introduces the physics governing circulation in the ocean and atmosphere, focusing on processes that control the planet’s climate.
- 12.340 Global Warming Science Physics of the climate system and the science underpinning discussions of anthropogenic climate change.
- 12.009 Theoretical Environmental Analysis Theoretical models connecting the physical and biological worlds, the comparison of theory to observational data, and associated mathematical methods.
- 12.842 Climate Physics and Chemistry An overview of climate studies, including beginnings of the solar system, time scales, and climate in human history.
Technology and Engineering Solutions
- 3.003 Principles of Engineering Practice The interdisciplinary nature of 21st-century engineering projects: social, political, economic, and technological challenges, with a solar cell term project.
- 1.731 Water Resource Systems Quantitative methods for analyzing large-scale water resources problems, including flood control, water supply, and groundwater remediation.
- 11.479J Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Developing Countries Technical, socio-cultural, public health, and economic factors affecting the planning and design of water and sanitation systems in developing countries.
- 2.500 Desalination and Water Purification State-of-the-art water purification by sustainable use of desalination and filtration, with a term project on well-water purification for a village in Haiti.
- 22.081J Introduction to Sustainable Energy Current and potential future energy systems which could meet regional and global energy needs in a sustainable manner.
- 4.42J Fundamentals of Energy in Buildings A design-based first course in energy and thermo-sciences with applications to sustainable energy-efficient architecture and building technology.
- 2.627 Fundamentals of Photovoltaics Understand the science, engineering implementation, and market and social forces driving this key solar energy technology.
- 7.347 Fueling Sustainability: Engineering Microbial Systems for Biofuel Production Seminar on the conversion of plant biomass into ethanol.
- 22.033 Nuclear Systems Design Project Senior capstone design course: a novel power plant that integrates emission-free electricity with carbon sequestration and fossil fuel displacement.
- SP.721 D-Lab I: Development How quality of life in low-income households can be improved by adaptation of low cost and sustainable technologies.
- SP.775 D-Lab: Energy Hands-on project-based course on small-scale sustainable energy technology in developing countries.
Economics, Business, Planning, & Politics
- 14.42 Environmental Policy and Economics Should air and water pollution regulations be tightened or loosened? What are the costs of climate change in the U.S. and abroad?
- 14.475 Environmental Economics and Government Responses to Market Failure Regulatory, tax, and other government responses to problems of market failure, with special emphasis on tools to evaluate environmental policies.
- 12.103 Science and Policy of Natural Hazards The science of natural catastrophes, cause and effect and predictability, and the relationships between the science of and policy toward such hazards.
- 15.023J Global Climate Change: Economics, Science, and Policy Scientific, economic, and ecological issues underlying the threat of global climate change, and assessment of proposed policy measures.
- 15.031J Energy Decisions, Markets, and Policies Choices and constraints regarding sources and uses of energy by households, firms, and governments.
- 15.992 S-Lab: Laboratory for Sustainable Business Learn how individuals, organizations, and society can undergo change at the pace needed to stave off sustainability problems.
- 11.165 Infrastructure and Energy Technology Challenges A seminar on efforts in developing and advanced nations and regions to create, finance, and regulate infrastructure and energy technologies.
- 11.364 International Environmental Negotiation Explores the difficulties of getting agreement on global definitions of sustainability; in particularly building international support for efforts to combat climate change.
- 11.S196 Global Freshwater Crisis The UN predicts that by 2025, over half of the countries in the world will face water stress or shortages. What’s causing this crisis? What are some potential solutions?
- 11.941 Urban Climate Adaptation Examines the challenges that cities will face and strategies they can use to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
- 11.941 Disaster, Vulnerability and Resilience Factors that give rise to disaster vulnerability, and the social and political processes associated with disaster policy and planning.
- 17.181 Sustainable Development: Theory and Policy Explores of the notion of “sustainable development,” including both industrial countries and developing states and economies in transition.
- 17.32 Environmental Politics and Policy Environmental policymaking in the United States: why is it crisis-driven, and why do political factors seem to overwhelm sound scientific and engineering judgment?
- 17.441 International Politics and Climate Change Interaction of international politics and climate change: conflict (insecurity due to environmental dislocations) and cooperation (international treaties).
- 21H.421 Introduction to Environmental History Influence of climate, topography, plants, animals, and microorganisms on human history since 1500, and the reciprocal influence of people on the environment.
- 21H.207 The Energy Crisis: Past and Present How Americans have confronted energy challenges since the end of World War II.
- 24.04J Justice | Linguistics and Philosophy Three opposing theories of social justice—utilitarianism, libertarianism, and egalitarian liberalism—each central to contemporary politics and discourse.
- 24.03 Good Food: The Ethics and Politics of Food Choices Explore the values (aesthetic, moral, cultural, religious, prudential, political) expressed in the choices of food people eat.
- 21W.730-3 Writing and the Environment Survey the works of popular science writers, lesser-known geologists, biologists, and hydrologists, and famous environmentalists.
- STS.034 Science Communication: A Practical Guide How to communicate science effectively in real-world contexts, especially for complex and challenging topics such as climate change.
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