Climate Change Leadership – MOOC


Carta Marina made by Magnus Olaus 1539 in Venice, Italy © Uppsala University

What will you learn in this course?

In this course we will explore the emerging field of climate change leadership and you’ll get the chance to develop your own map of the changing landscape before us. The course will also investigate the leadership challenges associated with climate change in order to open up new arenas for action. In the words of the first visiting professor in climate change leadership, Doreen Stabinsky, this is very much:

… a space to think and dream differently.

In the course we seek to understand what makes climate change special as a leadership problem, and how we can overcome practical, political and personal barriers to change.

Over the next five weeks, we will explore the subject through lectures, articles and discussions. You will also get the chance to identify and discuss the climate change leadership challenges that you are facing in your own contexts – the communities, organisations, or businesses that you are involved with and care about.

The first two weeks of the course will explore climate change trends, assess the Paris Agreement, and discuss ways to bend the curves to a sustainable future. The following two weeks, we will explore how climate change is interconnected with a number of related challenges, discuss leadership, communication and different skills. In the final week, we will look at people who lead, finish the leadership plan and wrap up the course.

We hope that this course will allow you start to build your own capacity as a climate change leader, and open up ways of dealing with climate change.


The structure of the course

Week 1: Introduction to Climate Change Leadership
In the first week, we will take stock of the Paris Agreement, learn the basics about climate change impacts and explore the relationship between society and nature from a historical perspective.

Week 2: Bending the curves to a sustainable future
In week 2, we will explore how we might bend the curves to a sustainable future. We will learn about climate justice, carbon budgets and the deliberate transformations that may allow us to avoid catastrophic climate change. You will also identify and discuss different climate change leadership challenges you’re facing in your own context.

Week 3: Complex challenges and possibilities for change
Week 3 discusses and investigates the question of whether climate change should be dealt with as a new type of challenge that in itself is more complex than previous societal and environmental problems or if it should be understood as a possibility to change relationships, communities and society.

Week 4: Leadership, communication and climate change
This week focus on leadership and communication. We will look at some starting points for leadership, learn about psychological barriers to change and ways to communicate. The week finishes with laying the ground work for your leadership plan.

Week 5: Climate change leadership in practice
In the final week of the course, we will also discuss the value of personal integrity in leadership. Finally we will wrap up the course and share what we have done during our five weeks together, including finishing the leadership plan.


Applying climate change leadership in your own context

Climate change leadership does not only happen in negotiation rooms at international conferences or at high stakes business meetings. In this course, we hope to uncover how we can all be climate change leaders in our own communities and organisations. A central component of the course is therefore to identify, discuss and work with our own climate change leadership challenges. We will start by identifying and sharing challenges in week 2, and then move on to create a plan in weeks 4 and 5.


The importance of active participation and discussion

Climate change and leadership are issues where there often is not only one single answer to the many questions asked. We firmly believe that we cannot understand the challenges related to climate change leadership by only learning facts about climate change and going through different theories about leadership. Rather, this course will be a better course if we all take part in creating a new understanding about of climate change leadership together, where different experiences and ideas meet. We have therefore structured this course so that there is plenty of room for discussion.

Take part in the discussions throughout the course in the comment and discussion areas (pink box with + ‘comments’ or ‘join the discussion’) and contribute with your thoughts, ideas, reflections and experiences. And don’t forget to join the discussion on Twitter. Use the hashtag hashtag #FLccleadership.

And if you’re new to FutureLearn, take a look at the How it works page for information about how to get the most out of FutureLearn and the course.


© CEMUS and Uppsala University