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Climate Change Adaptation Fundamentals

Royal Roads University

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Short Course Description

This 4-week course has been designed to help professionals working across multiple disciplines bring a climate change adaptation lens to their current and future projects.

It’s structured in four modules, that cover:

-what the current climate change situation is, including the latest science on climate trends and scenarios;
-why climate change matters to professionals and planners, in terms of risk and impact;
-what we can do about it, through examples and methods of adaptation, and;
-how to bring adaptation tools, data and processes into your work, with a practice project.

At the end of the course, participants will understand basic climate change science, scenarios, and projected impacts and risks in British Columbia, and be able to identify data and tools required to plan an adaptation project.

Course Modules

What's the Problem?

Information on global and regional climate trends, projected scenarios of climate change, and sources of climate change information in Canada.

What's at Stake?

Understanding climate change risk and impact, information on projected impacts in Canada and British Columbia, as well as an update on the 2019-2020 wildfire season in Australia.

What can we do?

Climate change adaptation, including examples from British Columbia, and linkages with mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Knowledge and Skills to Practice

Use your own work background, and, reflecting on the previous Modules, create a story about how you might design a climate change adaptation activity that could be carried out from within your field of practice.

Course Outline

Module 1 — climate science, including observed climate trends and future scenarios of climate change

Module 2 — climate change risk, and projected impacts

Module 3 — climate change adaptation, and how it differs from adapting based on past experience

Module 4 — adaptation case

See the full outline

Course Design Statements

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Biography picture for Dr. Stewart Cohen

Dr. Stewart Cohen

Dr. Stewart J. Cohen is an author and educator on human-caused climate change. His university education was in geography, obtaining degrees from McGill University, the University of Alberta, and the University of Illinois. Dr. Cohen has recently retired from a 35-year research career with Environment and Climate Change Canada. During this time, he studied the impacts of projected climate change throughout Canada. This included work that was part of a research partnership agreement with the University of British Columbia (UBC), in which he developed collaborative projects with the UBC community. He also created and taught a graduate course at UBC, “Climate Change in the 21st Century”. This led to him publishing a textbook with that title in 2009 (McGill-Queen’s University Press). He has been a member of author teams for national assessments of climate change in Canada and the United States, as well as several publications of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Dr. Cohen is currently writing posts on his blog,