This Global Open Course (launched by Tsinghua University) covers the global transition to carbon neutrality, the facts and impacts of climate change, key emission reduction technologies for carbon neutrality, climate change and carbon neutral environmental co-benefits, climate change and the effect on health of carbon neutrality, climate change economics, China’s carbon market policies and practices, climate change and carbon neutrality global governance. By taking this course, students can understand how the world can deal with the severe challenges of climate change through carbon neutrality.

“Carbon Neutrality: Why and How the World is Addressing Climate Change” will be taught by Professor ZHANG Xiliang, Associate Professor ZHANG Da, and Associate Professor TENG Fei from the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, Professor LUO Yong and Associate Professor CAI Wenjia from the Department of Earth System Science, Academician HE Kebin and Professor WANG Can from the School of Environment, as well as Associate Professor CAO Jing from the School of Economics and Management. 

Video introduction of “Carbon Neutrality: Why and How the World is Addressing Climate Change”

Course Timetable & Registration links:

Each session will be conducted in English and will be held from 19:20 pm to 20:35 pm every Friday night (GMT+8) from October 22 until December 10. Students will be able to register for each individual session and are welcomed to participate during the live interactive section. In addition, we will also make part of the course accessible afterward at XuetangX (online education platform and co-founding member of the Global MOOC Alliance) so that learners from all time zones can enjoy it at their own pace.

Format of classes: one hour of lecture (will be live-streamed and available for replay) and then followed by 15 minutes of live discussion (will not be live-streamed).

Registration link:

Global transition towards carbon neutrality

  1. What is carbon neutrality?
  2. How is the world transitioning towards carbon neutrality?
  3. What is the path of China’s transition towards carbon neutrality?
Professor Zhang Xiliang. Director, Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, Tsinghua University

Zhang Xiliang, Professor and Director of the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, Director of “Energy Management and Climate Policy”, a key research team at Tsinghua University, one of “China National Ecological and Environmental Protection Professional Technical Talents” (in climate change), Executive Director of China Energy Research Society and Chairman of Energy System Engineering Professional Committee. Research areas: low-carbon energy transition, climate change economics, climate change policies and mechanism design, etc. Zhang has presided over the major projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Key R&D Program of China and the National Social Science Foundation of China. He has published more than 200 papers in domestic and foreign academic journals such as Nature Energy and Nature Climate Change. In 2020, he won the first prize of the 8th Award for Outstanding Scientific Research Achievements (Humanities & Social Sciences) of Higher Education Institutions by the Ministry of Education.

Facts and impact of climate change

  1. What facts have we observed about changes in the climate system?
  2. What are the natural and man-made causes of climate change?
  3. How does climate change affect major industries, sectors and regions in the world?
Professor Luo Yong. Dean, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University

Professor Luo Yong, Dean and Professor of the Department of Earth System Science of Tsinghua University. He is mainly engaged in research on global climate change detection, attribution and prediction, earth system model development and evaluation, global energy-water cycle process and mechanism, climate change impact risks and countermeasures, and renewable energy meteorology. He serves as Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II (WGII) and the key special project leader of China’s National Key Research and Development Program “Global Change and Response”. He is also the lecturer of the elective course “Global Climate Change” for undergraduates and the postgraduate academic and professional competence course “Introduction to Climate Change Science”.

Climate change and carbon neutral environmental co-benefits

  1. What is the impact of climate change?
  2. How to improve carbon emission reduction measures?
  3. How to coordinate the further improvement of carbon neutrality and air quality?
Professor He Kebin. Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Professor of Tsinghua University School of Environment

Prof. He has been conducting research on air pollution control for over 30 years, is widely regarded as one of China’s top experts in the fields of air quality and public health. He made significant achievements that have been implemented in national action plan on acid rain and PM2.5 pollution control, including the development of an online platform of Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China (MEIC), the establishment of a new approach for source apportionment of integrating emission, observation, and simulation, and the development of a dynamic assessment model for air pollution control solutions.
Renowned in China as well as internationally, he has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and has received numerous awards, including 2nd-class State Natural Science Award (2009), and 2nd-class National Awards for Science and Technology Progress (2010, 2011, 2015). He also received Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of National Academy of Science (PNAS) in 2014, and Climate and Clean Air Award for Transformative Policy from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition under the United Nations Environment Programme in 2018. His work published in Nature was selected as one of the top advances of science, technology, and engineering from China in 2017.

Key emission reduction technologies for carbon neutrality

  1. Which areas are the keys of greenhouse gas emission reduction and carbon neutralization?
  2. Which key emission reduction technologies will help the global transition towards carbon neutrality?
  3. How to advance the global R&D and promotion of carbon neutral technologies?
Professor Wang Can. School of Environment, Tsinghua University

Wang Can, Professor of School of Environment, is mainly engaged in research on climate change economics and policies, environmental-energy-economic system analysis, low-carbon technology and policy comprehensive evaluation, and has published Climate Change Economics, Emission Peak & Carbon Neutrality: A New Development Path and other works, with support from the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars and the Science and Technology Innovation Leading Talent Project of the Ten Thousand Talents Program. He has served as a member of several committees of the UNFCCC, including the Expert Group on Technology Transfer, and the Climate Technology Centre and Network Advisory Board, and is the lead author of the 4th National Climate Change Assessment Report and the review editor of the 6th IPCC Assessment Report.

Climate change and health effects of carbon neutrality

  1. Why is climate change the biggest health challenge of this century?
  2. How can the impact of climate change on health further affect the economy?
  3. How can carbon emission reduction measures bring health benefits?
  4. How to optimize the carbon neutral approach based on health benefits?
Associate Professor Cai Wenjia. Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University

Cai Wenjia, Associate Professor (tenured) of Department of Earth System Science, doctoral supervisor, Director of the Lancet Countdown Asia, standing committee member of the Ecological and Environmental Systems Engineering Committee of the Systems Engineering Society of China, Deputy Chief Editor of Frontiers in Public Health, and member of Environmental Research Letters editorial steering committee. Research interests: climate change and impact on health, climate policy design, etc. Cai has published numerous papers in internationally renowned journals such as The Lancet, The Lancet Public Health, The Lancet Planetary Health, and Environmental Science & Technology.

Economics of climate change

  1. What are the economic challenges caused by climate change?
  2. What market instruments can help us better achieve carbon neutrality?
  3. How to use economics to analyze and evaluate climate policies?
Associate Professor Cao Jing. School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University

Dr. Cao Jing has attained a double degree in geology and economics from Peking University in 1998, a master degree in environmental science from Peking University in 2001, and a doctorate degree in public policy from Harvard University in 2007. Cao teaches “Environment and Resources” for undergraduates and double degree students, as well as “Economics”, “Energy and Environmental Economics” and “Projects for Doctoral Students” for graduate students, and was selected under Young Scientist Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China in 2015. Main research areas: energy and environmental economics, China’s carbon pricing, environmental tax reform, analysis of economic means to deal with climate change, computable dynamic CGE (Computable General Equilibrium) models, and interdisciplinary environmental micro empirical research, etc. Cao currently participates in a number of national and international cooperation projects.

Policies and practices of China’s carbon market

  1. How did the carbon market evolve?
  2. What are the key issues to be addressed in carbon market design?
  3. What are the basic principles and core ideas of the overall plan design of China’s carbon market?
Associate Professor Zhang Da. Institute of Energy, Environment and Economics, Tsinghua University

Zhang Da, associate professor at the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economics of Tsinghua University, is engaged in research on energy and policy analysis in response to climate change. He attained a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a doctorate in management science and engineering from Tsinghua University. He currently presides over research projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and a number of projects commissioned by Chinese ministries including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the National Energy Administration, as well as international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Energy Agency

Climate change and carbon neutral global governance

  1. Why does climate change and carbon neutrality need international cooperation?
  2. What are the challenges facing climate change and carbon neutral international cooperation?
  3. How to solve these challenges through international governance in the future?
Associate Professor Teng Fei. Institute of Energy, Environment and Economics, Tsinghua University

Teng Fei, Deputy Director and tenured Associate Professor of the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economics. He is mainly engaged in research on international and domestic policy analysis of climate change, comprehensive evaluation model of climate change and energy economics. As a chief scientist, project leader and subject leader, he undertook the research work in national key projects under the “Tenth Five-Year Plan”, “Eleventh Five-Year Plan”, “Twelfth Five-Year Plan”, Program 973 and the Ministry of Science and Technology. He has published more than 40 SCI/SSCI papers and won the second prize at the provincial and ministerial levels twice. In 2012 and 2018, he was selected as the lead author of the assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an authoritative institution in the field of climate change. As a technical support expert of the China Climate Change Negotiation Delegation from 2007 to 2017, he participated in the entire process of climate negotiations on issues related to mitigation and transparency in developing countries. He also served as the chairman of the advisory expert group for non-Annex I countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The policy recommendation reports he drafted have been adopted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the National Meteorological Administration, and he has been supporting major decisions related to climate change.

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