WSG-60812 Design of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies


Credits 12.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work20
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. LWA van Hove
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JM van Loon-Steensma
dr. ir. LWA van Hove
dr. RWA Hutjes
dr. SE Werners
dr. B Bovenkerk
dr. CF Barrett
Examiner(s)dr. ir. LWA van Hove
dr. RWA Hutjes
dr. B Bovenkerk

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

Before starting the course, the student must have successfully completed at least 12 but preferably 24 credits of MSc-level courses or a first MSc thesis. Furthermore the student should master information literacy, computer literacy and presentation skills on minimally the level of the MOS modules (YMC-60300); English verbal and writing skills should minimally be on a level that allows self-reflection and feedback, and independent functioning in a student team.
The course has a pre-registration to be able to check the mandatory knowledge of the enrolled students.

Assumed knowledge on:

Sufficient knowledge of impact, mitigation and adaptation issues in climate change is assumed. Relevant preparatory courses are: ESA-23306 Introduction to Global Change; SOQ-23306 Principles of Earth and Ecosystem Science or ENR-22806 Principles of Climate Change Economics and Policy; SOQ-36306 Biogeochemical cycles and Climate Change Mitigation or ENP-36306 Climate Governance.


Teams of 4 to 7 students will work in multidisciplinary teams in a consultancy project. The teams are composed on basis of students' interests and the required disciplinary mix for the execution of the project. Students have to express their interest for a particular project in an application letter addressed to the course lecturers. The projects are related to climate change mitigation and adaptation issues; the commissioner can be a local, regional (province) or a national government (ministry), international NGOs, national institutions like 'Rijkswaterstaat' or regional water authorities, research institutes, public organizations or private companies. Each team is responsible for dividing the tasks among its members, communication with the commissioner, and how the final design or solution will be presented. Each team has an assigned coach and is required to find at least one content coach or expert relevant to the project. In this course students also study and discuss climate change as a moral problem that raises ethical questions about personal and societal obligations. What is a fair distribution of the burdens of mitigating climate change now and in the future? Can we have obligations to future people at all? How to deal with scientific uncertainty in relation to the effects of global warming? And what ethical values and principles should be taken into account in judging what mitigation or adaptation interventions are morally permissible?
Parallel to their projects, students follow tutorials on report writing (structure, style and language) and practice their report writing skills.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate understanding of how the threats and opportunities of predicted climate change will influence specific sectors at global and regional scale;
- critically evaluate the relative opportunities and needs for mitigation and adaptation (including vulnerability assessment) in a variety of sectorial contexts;
- function as a specialist in an international, multidisciplinary team in which input from both natural and socio-economic sciences is necessary to solve complex climate change mitigation and adaptation issues;
- effectively communicate and negotiate with a commissioner on project content, planning and reporting;
- design a project plan (define results, suitable phasing of activities and distribution of tasks among team members, internal and external communication);
- write a well-structured report in proper and understandable English;
- communicate and defend convincingly project outcomes (interim products, final report), methods and underpinning rationale to specialists and non-specialists audiences using appropriate techniques;
- reflect upon the performance of the team and their own personal contribution;
- monitor, reflect and improve their own learning process in order to function well in a professional setting;
- explain climate change as ethical problem that invokes personal and societal moral obligations; - critically reflect upon their ethical assumptions about climate change mitigation;
- fruitfully contribute to ethical deliberation in a multidisciplinary team;
- recognise and address the ethical dimensions of the project topic (as well as dilemmas that arise in carrying out the project for a specific client) and offer reasonable arguments for ethical choices made in the project.


- additional skills training: project planning, practical on IPCC dataset analysis, report writing;
- attending lectures on specific topics related to climate change mitigation and adaptation;
- team meetings: during the course, teams have formal meetings, which are attended by the process coach; assisted by the coach, students reflect on the functioning of the team and of individual members;
- meetings with the commissioner: students organize and prepare meetings with the commissioner, during which the coach will be present as observer;
- writing an application letter to a project;
- writing a project plan;
- oral presentations (in English). Each group will give three presentations: two to the commissioner about the project plan and about the final product, and one to fellow students in a plenary session;
- project execution;
- writing a consultancy report, incorporating feedback regarding structure, style, grammar, and contents as provided by lecturers and experts;
- formulating personal learning goals and writing a reflection paper about the functioning of the team and his/her functioning within the team;
- participate in tutorials with micro-lectures, classroom and group discussions;
- study academic literature on ethics of climate change, and prepare oral presentations for classroom discussion;
- preparing for, participating in, and reporting about ethical deliberation in the project group.


Course participants are expected to participate actively in the seminars and training sessions. Scores will be given for six elements:
- project plan and presentation to commissioner (10%);
- presentation and discussion with commissioner of (nearly) completed draft report (10%);
- final report (50%);
- team process (10%);
- ethical reflection report (10%);
- individual reflection report (10%).
The final assessment is made by the examiners taking the assessment of the commissioner into account. The individual mark of a student can be raised or decreased by maximally 1 point based on contributions to the project (to be judged by supervisors and project team members).


A practical manual and guidelines for the consultancy project will be handed out at the start of the course. Furthermore, relevant material will be provided through Blackboard. This site contains essential information on the various subjects explored in the course, as well as additional material and background information.

Restricted Optional for: MEEEarth and EnvironmentMSc5AF+6WD
MCLClimate StudiesMSc5AF+6WD