737324 Climate change mitigation: A socio-ecological perspective

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Erb, Karlheinz , Krausmann, Fridolin , Haas, Willi
Offered in
Sommersemester 2024
Languages of instruction


The course is dedicated to the discussion and assessment of climate change mitigation strategies, with a particular focus on strategies aimed at downsizing societies metabolism. Thus, the focus is on far reaching and fundamental changes in society-nature interactions. The critical discussion of strategies considers a wide range from ecological modernization strategies (decoupling emissions and resource use from economic development) to degrowth and sufficiency strategies. The course introduces different approaches and their potentials and limitations, including measures aiming at a reduction of material and energy use, of waste and emissions or at carbon sequestration as well as natural and technical solutions. The combined lecture and seminar provides a critical socio-ecological perspective, based on an integration of biophysical and economic/social and political dimensions. Based on scientific literature, students elaborate on the potentials and limitations of different strategies as well as possible trade-offs and synergies with other sustainable development goals. Examples for discussed mitigation strategies are: energy transition, bioeconomy, circular economy, nature-based solutions, carbon capture and storage, degrowth, sufficiency.

Previous knowledge expected

Basic concepts and approaches in social ecology

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

After successful completion of the course students have gained a systematic overview of different strategies and measures to mitigate climate change aiming at a reduction of resource use, waste and emissions and natural and technical solutions for carbon sequestration. They have gained insights into potentials and limitations of different strategies as well as possible trade-offs and synergies with other sustainable development goals and are able to distinguish between aspects of ecological modernization and transformative change. They are able to critically discuss climate solutions from a socio-ecological perspective taking bio-physical, economic and socio-political issues into account.

Students are able to apply socio-ecological principles and criteria to critically assess climate solutions. They are able to identify trade-offs and synergies with other sustainable development goals. They can discuss climate solutions from an interdisciplinary perspective taking bio-physical, economic and social criteria into account.

Students learn how to critically read and analyze scientific texts and to develop and defend scientific arguments. They improve their skills in writing scientific texts and to give critical and constructive feedback to peers. They learn about the relevance of system boundaries for assessing strategies, how to develop criteria and how to use mixed methods of qualitative and quantitative approaches.

In plenary and group discussion students learn how to present their ideas, how to defend and argue scientific positions and gain skills skills in interdisciplinary communication in the climate change debate; by reading their peers’ manuscript drafts, students will learn how to critically and constructively give feedback on scientific texts and also to incorporate feedback from their peers and teachers.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.