Climate Change: The Science, Uncertainty and Risk


Date and Time:

Sunday, November 4, 2018, 12:00pm to Saturday, December 8, 2018, 12:00pm

Registration Deadline:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 12:00pm

Human activity has exacerbated the shift in global climate and is resulting in impacts to natural systems and human-built infrastructure, which will influence future economic development and business decision-making. In the Fifth Assessment Report, the IPCC concluded: “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems” (IPCC, 2014a). These impacts include sea level rise, flooding, droughts, heat waves, and other extreme weather events. The concept of resilience associated with the ecological field has appeared in various discourses, and since Holling (1973), has had a substantial impact in the field. The term resilience has resulted in different interpretations by different fields of study. Since Holling (1973), there have been distinctions made between the uses in engineering, psychology, economics, disaster risk management, ecological, and socio-ecological resilience in the climate change discourse. Many municipal decision-makers tend to think of climate change preparedness as engineering resilience. They strive to return to or “bounce back” to what the community looked like and how it functioned prior to a disaster. However, this prior state may have included social injustice, inadequate public infrastructure and housing, other hazard vulnerability, and a weak local economy. Therefore it is important to define and recognize the aspects of resilience that involve “transformative socio-political change”. In addition, resilience needs to incorporate both the spatial and temporal scales to be successful and not result in mal-adaptive solutions. The glossary of the AR5-WGII report defines maladaptation as: “Actions that may lead to increased risk of adverse climate-related outcomes, increased vulnerability to climate change, or diminished welfare, now or in the future”. Unfortunately, there exists a myriad of climate responses that can increase resilience for one group, sector or geographic location while simultaneously increasing vulnerability for a different system, location or group of individuals. This module consists of foundational knowledge in the science of our changing climate, understanding the boundaries of “uncertainty” in future projections being posited by the scientific community, how to translate the “risk” being faced by a community, business, or sector, and finally, the different concepts of climate resilience and how they manifest as solutions.

Learning Outcomes At the conclusion of the course participants will be able to:

To demonstrate a basic understanding of the scientific consensus supporting anthropogenic-influenced climate change.
Understand the specific projections being put forth regarding regional impacts.
Articulate the various definitions of climate resilience and how this manifests in climate adaptation solutions.
Effectively demonstrate an understanding of the interrelation amongst climate change, energy use, and security issues.

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