Climate Change: Strategies for Mitigation and Adaptation
The theme of this course will be to address the two main imperatives in a climatically changed world: avoid conditions that will be unmanageable and manage the changes that will be unavoidable. The course will begin with a historical perspective of the variability in earth's climate, and explanation of factors affecting climate such as the Greenhouse Effect, and a critique of current evidence indicative of global warming. To avoid catastrophic changes in earth's future climate, mitigation strategies involving transportation, energy, agriculture, innovative technologies, legislation, cooperation between developing and developed nations, and individual responsibility will be explored. Specific strategies such as a smart electric grid, non-carbon sources of energy, new technologies, carbon sequestration, cap and trade, and lifestyle changes will be investigated. To manage new climate conditions, adaptive measures will be necessary. The course will evaluate adaptive strategies to address rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and shifting rainfall patterns. These strategies include infrastructure modification, coastal fortification, wetlands and coral reef restoration, and the need to develop water tolerant and drought resistant crops. The students will conclude the course with an assessment of their own carbon footprint.