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Turn Down the Heat: From Climate Science to Action

Each part of the world faces specific vulnerabilities to climate change and has different opportunities to mitigate the effects and build resilience in the 21st century. With the Paris Agreement at COP 21, the global community has signaled its intent to act. Indeed, without climate action, decades of development progress are threatened, meaning that we are at a ‘make it or break it’ point in time. This course presents the most recent scientific evidence, regional impacts and climate action strategies, and some opportunities for you to take action on climate change.


Eligible for

Statement of Accomplishment

Course at a Glance

About the Course

This action-oriented MOOC gives you the opportunity to learn about regional climate change impacts and sector-specific strategies to increase resilience and move towards a low-carbon future. You will have the opportunity to explore these issues in depth and tailor your learning experience for one or more of the following regions:

  • Latin America and Caribbean;
  • Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Middle East and North Africa;
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia;
  • East Asia and Pacific; and
  • South Asia.
To do this, the MOOC brings together renowned scientists and policymakers to provide a synthesis of the most recent scientific evidence on climate change, regional low emissions and climate resilient development strategies across sectors, and an analysis of the Paris Agreement and other outcomes of COP 21.

Course Syllabus

This overview presents the main topics this course will cover.

Week 1:  Climate Change in the 21st Century

This module outlines the historical observed changes in the climate system, an overview of the projected changes in climate leading up to the end of the 21st century, and an assessment of the potential of the INDCs submitted at COP 21 to induce climate action. In the context of the INDC assessment, it describes the trends of increasing loss of Arctic sea ice, melting glaciers, increased heat waves and extreme temperatures, and drought and aridity. The module reviews possible responses from natural systems, explaining how warming could result in sea-level rise, heat waves and extreme temperatures, and ocean acidification.

Week 2: Sectoral and Regional Impacts

This module provides an overview of the projected climate trends and impacts on key development sectors across each of the world’s regions. The module will examine the likely impact of warming above pre-industrial temperatures in the regions, through a focus on agricultural production, water resources, ecosystem services, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations. In some regions, these risks have the potential to reverse hard-won development gains and potentially trap millions in poverty, illustrating the need for urgent action now.

Week 3: From Science to Action on Climate Change

This module provides region-specific discussions on what mitigation and adaptation actions are needed to reduce emissions while also decreasing vulnerability to climate change impacts and building climate resilience. To do this, the module will draw on key regional experts involved in the implementation of different policy instruments. As no single policy solution exists, this module shares perspectives on strategies and actions proposed in each region to help transition towards a low-emissions, climate-resilient development path.

Week 4: What You Can Do: Acting Individually to Address the Climate Challenge

 The final module presents you with opportunities to act on climate change both individually, and within your community. It will discuss how day-to-day changes can have a transformative impact when brought to a global scale.

By discussing the rationale for acting now, acting together and acting differently, the module also presents examples and the expected benefits of mitigation and adaptation policies, considering both contributions to global emission reductions and local development opportunities.


Communicate and share resources via Twitter using hashtag #WBHeat. Sign up for a free account at

Course Format

This MOOC has a week-by-week structure, with resources, activities and exercises for you to engage in during each of the four weeks of the course. Each week, you will find a variety of course material, including:

  • A Climate film fest –30 interactive video talks by renowned climate scientists and practitioners

  • Resources: Core, optional (deep dive) and fun interactives on the week’s theme

  • Quizzes that check your knowledge, reinforce the lesson’s material and provide immediate feedback

  • Assignments that will sharpen your skills of analysis, reflection and communication

  • Discussion forums and social media that enable collaboration with others from around the world, enriching interaction among participants

  • A live interactive Google Hangout on Air with international experts, who will engage in a Q&A session on climate change

  • As a final project, you will create a digital artifact

You can go much further than this, engaging in optional exercises, networking, discussion forums and diving deeper into our rich selection of additional resources. We also will use e-discussions, a Google Hangout and other tools to facilitate dialogue between the learners and experts.


1. How do I register for this MOOC?

2. How will I know that I have successfully registered for this course?
  1. As soon as you enroll in the course, you will receive a popup message as illustrated below. You will also receive a Welcome email along with a link to a pre-course survey. You will receive another email two weeks before the course begins.

  2. The next time you log into Coursera, you will see a “YOUR COURSES” section with the Turn Down the Heat course on the list.
3. When does the course begin?
    The official start date for the course is: May 9th, 2016. The course is open for enrollment in advance even though the course site will only open on the start date.
4. What language is the course available in?
    The course is presented and closed captioned in English. Click the “cc” button on the video to view captions. Additionally, the course will be offered in Spanish, from June 20 – July 24, 2016. Proficiency in the language of the course offering is highly recommended for an optimal learning experience.
5. What is the format of the course?
    The course is offered over a four-week period covering the following themes:
    Week 1: Climate Change in the 21st Century
    Week 2: Sectoral and Regional Impacts
    Week 3: From Science to Action on Climate Change
    Week 4: What You Can Do: Acting Individually to Address the Climate Challenge
6. How can I get the most out of the course?
    To get the most out of this course, you must be an active learner. Access the lessons as often as possible. Review the videos and core readings, and complete the quizzes and peer assignments! It is also a great idea to engage with other participants through the discussion forums, meetups or social media channels aligned with the course. Applying what you learn through the final project or other assignments will also be vital to your learning.
7. Do I have to do the assignments and quizzes?
    No. If you are not concerned about formally completing the course and receiving a Statement of Accomplishment, you can dip in and out of the course, make connections with others, and learn some new things. You are more than welcome to do this in whatever way makes the most sense for you.
8. How long will the course site be available?
    The course will be available on the published start date, May 9th, 2016, and will run for five weeks. Thereafter, the course site will be available to review for twelve additional months.
9. What are the technical requirements to participate in this MOOC?
    Since our MOOC offers a rich multimedia experience, a dial-up Internet connection will probably not be fast enough to provide a satisfactory experience. We recommend that you connect via a high-speed broadband Internet connection with a minimum speed of 512 kbps.

    Operating Systems
    Windows XP and higher or Mac OS version 10.5 or higher. Other system requirements include:
    • Monitor resolution of 1024x768 and a display of 256 colors from a palette of 262, 144 colors (16 bits or greater).
    • Audio speakers or headphones.
    • Adobe Flash Player V7 and above (for .flv and .swf files). Click here to download the Adobe Flash Player.
    • Adobe Reader 5 and above (for .pdf files). Click here to download Adobe Reader.
    • 2 latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
    • Enable JavaScript in your browser.
    • Disable pop-up blocking for
You will also be invited to use some free services, such as Twitter and Google+, to discuss and share your work. While the recommended web spaces are free to use, most will require registering with a valid email address. Communicate and share resources via Twitter using hashtag #WBHeat. Sign up for a free account at More details will be provided when the course begins

You can find some tips to troubleshoot technical problems from Coursera here.

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Thank you!