Introducing students to climate change science and policy

The Global Climate Change Science and Policy Course (EAS4443/5443/4441) focuses on how science factors into global policy making, including through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Students in the course work with partner organizations to assist them with climate change–related research projects and preparation for upcoming climate negotiations or meetings.

Students critically analyze contemporary climate change science and global environmental policy-making; articulate the main issues with global climate change from the viewpoints of different countries and people with diverse perspectives; and understand the barriers and opportunities to address the issues. The course enables Cornell students to participate in global, engaged learning projects and make a vital contributions to the climate change work of developing countries and NGOs. The Global Climate Change Science and Policy course serves as a Capstone Course for juniors and seniors in the Environment & Sustainability major.

This year, seven student teams conducted research on mechanisms to achieve the Paris Agreement, in support of our six partner organizations including: Carbon 180; Conservation International (CI); Pace Law School and CI for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS); Spherical; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA); and the World Resources Institute (WRI). We also had several expert guest speakers present to our class, including Joanna Post, UNFCCC Secretariat; Stephen Hammer, The World Bank; Nathan Cogswell and Mima Holt, WRI; and Carly Siege; Conservational International.

Course instructors

Application process

Apply for EAS 4443: Global Climate Change Science and Policy course

This course is a capstone for the Environment & Sustainability major. Some of the students from this course may be able to go to the UN’s COP in Glasgow in November 2021. The application period for 2021 is now closed. Check back next year for application deadlines.

Four women students stand at a conference in Poland

On the global stage

Fall 2020 Global Climate Change Science and Policy Symposium

Every year student teams present their final policy papers in a Global Climate Change Symposium. This year, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Benjamin Houlton, presented welcoming remarks for the symposium. Explore the team's reports below.

In previous years, students in the class have been chosen to participate in the Cornell observer delegation to the UNFCCC climate negotiations at COP conferences. This year’s COP26 was postponed to December 2021. Link to previous Cornell Delegations to the UNFCCC Global Climate Change Negotiations.

The Global Climate Change Science and Policy course is offered by the Departments of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Global Development, and the Environment & Sustainability Program. Funding to develop the engaged learning curriculum was provided by Engaged Cornell.