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GT/ES 339 - The Climate Crisis: Global Perspectives, Mediterranean Precedents

This course provides the student with the tools to survive the 21st century – a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary introduction, for the engaged non-specialist, to the causes and consequences of, and responses to, the climate crisis.

We discuss in detail the science of climate breakdown and strategies to ameliorate its impacts. While climate change is a global phenomenon, its consequences are experienced locally. We will therefore focus particular attention on the Mediterranean, where the climate crisis is arriving at an accelerated pace, providing a sneak preview of what is to come. While discussing global processes, we will draw many of our examples from the Mediterranean.

We also explore the social and political context, focussing on the Mediterranean and peri-Mediterranean region – how climate breakdown impacts societies, and how the international polity is attempting to coordinate a global response to the challenge.

While the scope and detail of climate breakdown are almost endless in their complexities and consequences, the fundamental science is quite straightforward and well established. So too are the responses we need to take to minimize and manage the coming disruption. In the words of Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank – “Optimism in the face of seemingly intractable problems is a choice”. For the seemingly intractable problem of climate breakdown, optimism remains, at least for the moment, a realistic choice.

Course Information


Environmental Studies
Global Studies

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