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Undergraduate course

Geographies of transformation: mitigating and adapting to rapid climate change

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


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. 

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).

Grading Scale


Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester. New exam the following semester only for students who have a valid document of absence.

Reading List

The reading list will be ready before 1 June 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 Coordinator

Course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB. 

Course Administrator

Course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB. 

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Take-home exam

    Assignment handed out
    03.05.2023, 09:00
    Submission deadline
    05.05.2023, 14:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam