Geographies of transformation: mitigating and adapting to rapid climate change

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


Together we will explore theoretical approaches and empirical research for assessing different pathways for decarbonization, reversing ecological degradation, and addressing social fragmentation. We will discuss and evaluate land use changes related to various problems caused by climate change and  proposed solutions, paying attention to ecological sustainability and social justice implications. The course also explores the role of scale in the transformation of societies and landscapes driven by rapid climate change, from household level to global markets.


This course will present major themes and approaches to climate mitigation and adaptation using an environmental geography lens, emphasizing  the existence of conflicting narratives about the best way forward in a world characterized by deeply uneven geographies of development. Within the scholarship on climate adaptation, overlapping frameworks can be identified; we will draw from the subdisciplines of environmental justice, critical agrarian studies, political ecology, feminist and decolonial geographies to evaluate them. Key themes include trade-offs in land use, resource mobilization, scales of governance, low carbon energy technologies, social movements and climate coloniality. The course will provide opportunities for students to compare and discuss contemporary debates to develop skills in critical thought as well as better understand the challenges climate change poses, the role of uncertainty in adaptation policies and alternate speculative futures, such as solarpunk and degrowth. Lectures will address global issues through situated cases and their relations to other places across the global north and south, including current climate-related efforts and debates in Norway.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence: 


The student 

  • can provide a basic overview of some central geographical approaches to climate adaptation at scales ranging from individual to local to global. 
  • can outline and discuss contested pathways to decarbonization, reversing ecological depletions and social fragmentation as forms of just climate adaptation  
  • can outline and discuss a multiplicity of land use changes related to climate mitigation and adaptation
  • can discuss contemporary debates about mitigation and adaptation using concepts in the literature and examples from specific cases 
  • can elaborate on the role of research and uncertainty in climate adaptation policy 


The student 

  • is able to use relevant theory in the analysis of empirical cases.
  • can critically assess proposed solutions to climate problems 
  • can write academic essays as a method of critical thinking and communication 
  • can evaluate and synthesis various readings in group discussions.

General competence 

The student 

  • has acquired theoretical knowledge and insight into contemporary debates about climate adaptation, and can apply place, space and scale as concepts to analyze challenges and alternative responses to climate change. 

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Open for all students at the Univesity of Bergen
Teaching and learning methods

1-2 lectures á 2 hours pr. Week. Lectures will contain a joint introduction followed by group activities.  

Total: 12-14 lectures

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Compulsory short reading reflections and discussion comments, at least 6 of 8, to be written in the online platform for the course on Mitt UiB. In addition there is a compulsory short essay. These activities must be approved before the take home exam
Forms of Assessment

Take home exam, 3 days (3000 words (+/- 500).

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.

The exam can be submitted in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish

Grading Scale
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

Students with valid absence as defined in the UiB regulations § 5-5 can apply for an extended submission deadline to The application must be submitted before the deadline for submission has expired.

Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. 
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  
Course Administrator
Course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB.