Energy and Climate change


The course will provide the students with knowledge and skills to understand (1) how and why climate change is impacting the natural and human systems that support the economy and our current way of living; and (2) how to tackle climate change causes and impacts, with a focus on energy systems, taking technological and economic aspects, while considering sustainability issues.


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Júlia Seixas


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Davis, S., Lewis, N., Shaner, M., Aggarwal, S., Arent, D., Azevedo, I. et al. (2018). Net-zero emissions energy systems. Science 360, eaas9793. 

EC (2019). The European Green Deal. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, The European Economic and Social Council and the Committee of the Regions. European Commission, COM(2019) 640 final. 

Melo, J.J., Sousa, M.J.F., Pereira, A.M., Fernandes, F., Galvão, A., Grilo, J. (2021). Strategy for a sustainable decarbonization of the energy sector in Portugal: identification of priority policy measures. In: Mauerhof, V. (Ed), The Role of Law in Governing Sustainability, 81-99. Series on Sustainable Development Research. Routledge, London and New York. ISBN: 978-0-367-74632-2 (hbk), 978-1-003-15883-7 (ebk). 

Frischmann C.J., Mehra M., Allard R., Bayuk K., Gouveia J.P., Gorman M.R. (2020) Drawdown?s ?System of Solutions? Helps to Achieve the SDGs. In: Leal Filho W., Azul A., Brandli L., Lange Salvia A., Wall T. (eds) Partnerships for the Goals. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham.

The Basics of Climate Change, The Royal Society UK.

Climate change: evidence and causes. The Royal Society UK. Answers to key questions.

Teaching method

Classes structured in (1) exposition of subjects by the professor, with space for students to ask questions, using concrete situations on which they must express an opinion and/or decision; and (2) practical exercises directly related to the topic of the class, with presentation of the main results in class.

Interactive class with team games on climate change, presentation and discussion of practical cases, illustrating the transformation of the energy system towards carbon neutrality.

Group work in class to develop critical skills.

Oral presentation by students, for oral communication training and science-based argumentation 

Evaluation method

Assessment of the course include three (3) homeworks with a total weight of 60% in final and one individual exam, with a weight of 40% in final grade.

Subject matter

1. Introduction to the course Energy & Climate Change, a complex and interdisciplinary relation. Expected outcomes. Course practicalities

2. Climate Change: What does it mean? Key greenhouse gases and global to regional emissions? trends. The role of economic activities and regions. The importance to know about future climate scenarios. The concept of RCPs (Representative Concentration Pathways) and why it is useful. 

3. Climate mitigation beyond energy. Multi-Sectoral Approach to Climate Change Mitigation (CC) ? Achieving Drawdown 

4. Climate Change: Impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation to climate change. 

5. Understanding the Energy Transition Key elements about energy system and its relation to climate mitigation. What is an energy system and how is currently shaped. Energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon neutrality: what is it and why is it important? Shaping the future of energy systems: key technology pillars of energy transition (e.g., renewables, hydrogen, carbon capture, storage, and utilization). Challenges and opportunities of energy transition (including the variability of renewables and storage needs, technologies learning costs, and technologies competitiveness). 

 6. Energy Transition: Energy efficiency and energy use 

7. Energy Transition: Climate regulation and carbon pricing schemes International and European regulation. Rationale of carbon price; carbon tax and emissions trading. State of the world of carbon pricing schemes. The case of EU-ETS: key rules, trends and achievements 

8. Climate and finance (Invited Lecturer: Joana Pedro, Social Lead at UNEP Financial Initiative) 

9. Energy Transition: ENROADS- role playing game Brief description of the exercise. Roleplaying game supported by EN-ROADS modelling tool. Debriefing discussion. Note that individual participation in the final debate will be registered for assessment grade.