Focus On: Understanding Climate Change

Focus On: Understanding Climate Change


About This Course:  watch icon

Temperatures are rising, weather is becoming more extreme and less predictable, and drought is an increasing danger for communities from California to the Sahel. For many around the globe, dire predictions and warnings have been how citizens have learned about the dangers of climate change. In this course, the focus is on the science of how climate change occurs, the impact on the environment and human development, and practical and innovative solutions to address the causes of climate change while meeting the needs of the world.

Have you heard about #YALIGoesGreen? After you earn your certificate on Understanding Climate Change, join a Network-wide initiative to spur climate change awareness and action. Become a Green Champion and learn more at

Lesson 1: The Basics: The Science of Climate Change
Video/Audio Duration: 5:18
A primer on the basic science of climate change, examining the differences between climate and weather and how scientists determine that the planet is getting hotter. This lesson also takes a detailed look at greenhouse gases – what they are, the role of human behavior in releasing them, and their effect on climate change.

Lesson 2: The Impacts: How Climate Change Affects Africa
Video/Audio Duration: 4:35

This lesson takes a look at the very real effects of climate change on human and animal populations and migration, rainfall-dependent agriculture and the serious problems of drought and changes in typical precipitation patterns, and the intensification of illnesses such as mosquito borne diseases and respiratory and cardiovascular sickness.

Lesson 3: The Solutions: Taking Action to Reduce Climate Change
Video/Audio Duration: 6:20

Learn about technologies – big and small – that are being used to reduce the effects of climate change, including solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, as well as the importance of preserving and maintaining forests and what you can do to help stop climate change.

Meet the Instructors


Melanie Nakagawa The Basics: The Science of Climate Change


Wanjira Mathai  - The Impacts: How Climate Change Affects Africa, The Solutions: Taking Action to Reduce Climate Change