Welcome to this 4-week course, Climate Change Adaptation Fundamentals. My name is Dr. Stewart Cohen and I designed this course using videos, discussion forums, and other learning activities each week/module.

This course has been designed to help professionals working across multiple disciplines bring a climate change adaptation lens to their current and future projects. It’s structured in four modules, that cover:

  • what the current climate change situation is, including the latest science and scenarios;
  • why climate change matters to professionals and planners, in terms of risk and impact;
  • what we can do about it, through examples and methods of adaptation, and;
  • how to bring adaptation tools, data and processes into your work, with a practice project.

At the end of the course, participants will understand basic climate change science and scenarios, and be able to identify the data and tools required to plan an adaptation project.

Each module includes one or more video-lectures and discussion forums that are designed to prompt reflection and integration of core concepts. The final module involves learners in a capstone activity designed to support the application of the learning to a real-world, learner-relevant case example. Each module also contains resources (e.g., relevant reports, video links).

Although you are not required to engage in the learning activities at any specific time, it is recommended that you complete the activities for each module within that week in order to maximize learning and provide opportunities for meaningful discussion with the instructor and your fellow learners.

Throughout this course we will also be listening to portions of the CBC Podcast 2050: Degrees of Change. This podcast features Johanna Wagstaffe, a Vancouver based meteorologist. It provides a portrait of BC in the year 2050 based on current climate change science projections. The podcast blends evidence-informed perspectives on climate change and climate adaptation with a fictional account of a young girl, Ariadne, as she navigates a climate changed world. Though we provide links to specific clips of interest, you may find it worthwhile to listen to the entire, 7-part series, which you can access here.

We will start here by listening to this excerpt of the CBC Podcast 2050: Degrees of Change News Montage. Stop listening at 1:44 and continue with this page.

Podcast attribution: This podcast is © CBC/Radio-Canada 2021. All rights reserved. You may also find and listen to this podcast on their website.


The course is guided by myself, Dr. Stewart Cohen, and story strategist Denise Withers. In the following video, we introduce ourselves and provide an overview of the course.

Video attribution: “Climate Change Adaptation Fundamentals – Module 1 introduction to module 1” by Stewart Cohen, Climate Change Fundamentals, Adaptation Learning Network is licensed under CC BY 4.0. The images used in the slides in the video are not CC BY.

I am including a link to my Dr. Climate Change Blog, where you may find some other useful information, tips, and strategies.

And finally, the Course Schedule provides you with an overview of the activities for the next four weeks.

Use the arrows and links in red at the bottom of the page to navigate through the content in each module.

Introduction Activity

Please tell us a little bit about yourself – your professional background and current role, and maybe a little bit about your reasons for taking this course. Here’s some other questions you might consider as you introduce yourself:

  • Have you encountered climate change issues as part of your work?
  • Have you had direct experience applying climate change scenarios within your work?
  • Do you feel any sense of optimism sense of optimism that BC (or Canada, or the world) will be able to adapt to future human-caused climate change or do you feel pessimistic about this?
  • Who do you consider to be “trusted voices” on climate change?

One of the benefits of sharing is that it helps build a network. Please feel free to share your Social Media links and contact information

Reading & Resources

This page is a compilation of all of the course readings and resources used in all Modules. For any external links to resources, review the rights and permission details. These resources may not be Creative Commons licensed.

Glossary of Key Terms from 2014 IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Working Group II

The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices

Adaptation and the Press

Executive Summary of Canada’s Changing Climate Report (2019)

Full report (includes link to individual chapters)

Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) is our regional climate service centre. PCIC conducts quantitative studies on the impacts of climate change and climate variability in the Pacific and Yukon region, providing regional climate information for planning.

The BC Government’s Resources for Preparing and Adapting to Climate Change is a great resource for existing tools, climate change health facts, the recent BC Climate Risk Assessment, which we discuss in Module 3.

You may also want to dive into Canada’s interactive Climate Atlas, where you can explore how various aspects of climate change are playing out in different regions of Canada and explore maps, graphs and climate data for provinces, local regions and cities across the country.

The Canadian Centre for Climate Services is another resource for climate resources, climate change concepts and trends, climate data, and has a climate-service support desk if you have further questions.

Abbott and Chapman – sections on the 2017 wildfire

Canada’s Changing Climate Report – Executive Summary

Canada’s Changing Climate Report – Chapter 8

IPCC 5th Assessment, Working Group II, Summary for Policymakers (SPM)

Council of Canadian Academies, Canada’s Top Climate Change Risks – method and summary of results

BC Government, Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for British Columbia – method and summary of results

Cohen, S. J. (2010). From observer to extension agent – using research experiences to enable proactive responses to climate change. Climate change, 100(1), 131-135.

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction A global, non-binding agreement followed by 187 countries that focuses on best practices for disaster risk reduction and resilience building.

Emergency Management Act

Climate preparedness and adaptation strategy

BC Climate Risk Assessment (scheduled to be released in late 2020)

Tools (these are technical resources, so just focus on the overall framing and application)

IDF curves

Fire Weather Index

Adaptation examples in British Columbia

Sea level rise guidance

Qualicum Beach Waterfront Plan

Vancouver Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Adaptation / Mitigation links

IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Working Group II, Chapter 2 (focus on Section 2.5.1 – Assessing synergies and trade-offs with mitigation, including Figure 2-4)

Course Schedule



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Climate Change Adaptation Fundamentals Copyright © 2021 by Stewart Cohen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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