Report on the “Climate change in a societal perspective” seminar

CHESS courses cover a wide range of topics related to climate change but courses linking climate with politics, society or responsibility have been scarce. The seminar “Climate change in a societal perspective” results from the need to close this gap. Held virtually on 3-4 March 2021, the seminar had 23 registered participants whereof 16 in the end were participating full-time, and was run by 2 PhD students from Oslo as organizers and 5 external speakers giving the lectures. Because of the large interest in the topic, most lectures were made available to a broader audience, resulting in several additional attendees during the talks.

The main objective of the course was to introduce how other academic disciplines outside the natural sciences field deal with societal dimensions of climate change. The topics covered (among others) psychological reactions upon the potential threat of climate change on the individual level, the acceptance for measures against global warming in a society and the impact of climate change on international relations. Additionally, in light of the current pandemic situation the course tried to compare the climate and the covid-19 crisis in effect and mitigation measures and find out what conclusions from the pandemic might help to fight and adapt to climate change. The course finished with a session dedicated exclusively to discussion where students were given time to answer questions in breakout rooms and reflect on the seminar topics together.

Since the course was organized by PhD students themselves and held for the first time, the concluding student feedback is of particular importance. Students expressed that the course indeed met an open demand and they gave positive feedback during the last discussion session.

We want to thank all attendees for their participation and specifically the lecturers for their contribution to make this course a great success.

Text and photo: Britta Schäfer and Marius Lambert