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Climate change: weighing the evidence

by The Open University

This course material is only available in the iTunes U app on iPhone or iPad.

Course Description

Climate change is probably the most widely contested idea on the international agenda today. At the centre of the debate are the questions: Is climate change really happening? How would we know? And if it is happening, what are the causes?

This learning pathway provides an introduction to the debate by looking at the evidence from The People’s Republic of Bangladesh. It is a country set on the massive Ganges-Brahmaputra river delta. Most of it is a flood plain with 700 rivers, less than 12 metres above sea level. One of the main consequences of climate change would be rising sea level. A rise of just 1 metre would inundate 10 per cent of Bangladesh’s land area.

The environmental, social and economic consequences would be considerable. But is the human race responsible? Are Bangladesh’s problems part of climate change caused by the high carbon emissions of the industrialised West? Or just a tragic consequence of building on a low-lying river delta?

The pathway looks at the strength of the evidence base for the role of humanity in climate change, the way that the scientific community has come to influence policy making on climate change, and considers an alternative approach to persuading sceptics – a letter defending the science behind climate change.
Climate change: weighing the evidence
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