Human Dimensions of Global Warming

Course Home Page



Brandi Robinson, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.


GEOG 438W is a writing-intensive course that concentrates on the human-environment interactions involved in contemporary and future global warming.

The course features two broad topical areas:

  1. global warming impacts
  2. global warming mitigation and policy

Each week highlights a theme, such as the impacts of climate change on human health or greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, that weaves through the course content and associated assignments. Geography 438W is a required course for both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Energy and Sustainability Policy online degree programs, and is designed for students who are able to study only part time and at a distance.

Topics of Study

Course Layout
Unit Components of Unit
Unit 1: Covering the Basics Lesson 1: Introduction to the Human Dimensions of Climate Change Lesson 2: Human Causes and Mitigation of Climate Change Lesson 3: Vulnerability and Adaptation Exam 1 (Lessons 1-3)
Unit 2: GHG Emissions and Mitigation Lesson 4: Energy Sector GHG Emissions and Mitigation Lesson 5: Transportation Sector GHG Emissions and Mitigation Lesson 6: Local Scale Emissions and Mitigation Exam 2 (Lessons 4-6)
Unit 3: Climate Change Impacts Lesson 7: Impacts on Human Health Lesson 8: Impacts on Water Resources Lesson 9: Impacts on Our Coasts and Cities Exam 3 (Lessons 7-9)
Unit 4: The Politics and Policy of a Changing Climate Lesson 10: Climate Policy Lesson 11: Climate Wars Lesson 12: Climate Action Exam 4 (Lessons 10-12)
Penn State logo

This course is offered as part of the Open Educational Resources initiative of Penn State's John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. You are welcome to use and reuse materials that appear in this site (other than those copyrighted by others) subject to the licensing agreement linked to the bottom of this and every page.

Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback, and earn academic credit. Information about Penn State's Energy and Sustainability Policy Bachelor's program is available at the ESP Overview Page.