Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided

It is now clear that without action on climate change, the world may become 4°C warmer by the end of this century. Such an increase would threaten to roll back decades of development progress; thus, we are at a ‘make it or break it’ point in time. This course presents the most recent scientific evidence, as well as some of the opportunities for urgent action.

About The Course

Under current pledges and commitments, the world is likely to reach 4°C degree warming by the end of the century and 2°C warming as early as 2040. This MOOC brings together renowned scientists to provide a synthesis of the most recent scientific evidence and presents an analysis of likely impacts and risks, with a focus on developing countries. It chronicles already observed changes in the climate system and their impacts, through the increase in carbon dioxide emissions, corresponding temperature increases and melting of glaciers and sea ice, and changes in precipitation patterns. This course also offers projections for the 21st century for droughts, heat waves and sea-level rise, with implications for food and water security, as well as possible impacts on agriculture, water availability, ecosystems and human health.

This MOOC presents an analysis of the likely impacts of a 4°C warming trajectory and stresses the need for decision makers and communities to take a serious look at their adaptation choices, while also signaling the urgency for mitigation action. Participants will also be introduced to the risks of triggering non-linearity, and tipping elements, such as the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet and large-scale Amazon dieback. The course ends with a discussion of the main policy choices needed to prevent warming above 2°C.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I register for this MOOC?
  • Go to https://www.coursera.org/course/warmerworld
  • Click on the “Learn for free” button
  • Fill in your account information (name, e-mail, password) if you are not yet registered in Coursera
2. How will I know that I have successfully registered for this course?
    a. 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.

    b. 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: November 03, 2014. 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. English proficiency 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: Observed Climate Changes and Impacts: Hundreds of Thousands of Years to Now
Week 2: Possible 21st Century Climates
Week 3: Life in a 4°C Warmer World
Week 4:What Can We Do About It? The Choice Is in Your Hands Each week, you’ll find a variety of course material, including:
  • A Climate film fest – 17 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
  • Two live interactive Google Hangouts 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

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. Will I get a certificate after completing this course?
  Yes. If you successfully complete the course requirements, you will receive a Coursera Statement of Accomplishment. Course requirements include gaining a cumulative 50% in the following required activities: three quizzes, two peer review assignments and a final project. You will receive a distinction if you score 80% or over. These core resources and assignments will take around three hours per week to complete. More details will be provided after the course begins.

8. 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.

9. How long will the course site be available?
  The course will be available on the published start date, November 03, 2014, and will run for four weeks. Thereafter, the course site will be available to review for twelve additional months.

10. 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.
  • Windows: Internet Explorer 8 and 9, Firefox 3.6 and above, Chrome (stable versions), and Safari 5 and above
  • MAC: Safari 5 and above, Firefox 3.6 and newer stable versions, Chrome (stable versions)
  • Enable JavaScript in your browser
  • Disable pop-up blocking for http://coursera.org
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 http://twitter.com. More details will be provided when the course begins

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

Please send us an email with your question: moocsupport@worldbank.org
Thank you!