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Module 2: Energy – Fossil Fuels And Our Future


Ecologise has consistently driven home that humanity needs to prepare for unprecedented environmental, economic and socio-political upheaval and uncertainty in the 21st century. In this new series, we showcase free short-duration online courses that focus on these various emerging crises and possible responses. Created by the world’s leading universities, they offer a good starting point to explore these complex challenges.

Note: The courses listed below have been selected from a large and growing list of free online courses, aimed at learners of all levels, and available in various formats. We urge the reader to explore the various options on offer online before selecting one that suits you.

CONVERGING CRISES 101
Free online courses to understand the key challenges of our times

Module 2: Energy – Fossil Fuels And Our Future

Energy 101: The Big Picture
Created by: Georgia Institute of Technology
Hosted by: Coursera.com
Taught by: Dr. Sam Shelton & Dr. Richard A. Simmons

As a society and individually, we use energy every moment of our lives to improve our quality of life. Energy 101 will develop the big picture and connect the details of our energy use, technology, infrastructure, impact, and future.

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Energy: Thermodynamics in Everyday Life 
Hosted by: Future Learn
Taught by:  Eann Patterson, University of Liverpool

Energy is essential to life at many levels and its transformation from one form to another – whether in the cells of our bodies or the machines that enable modern society – is governed by the laws of thermodynamics. This free online course provides you with an introduction to these laws, and the application of thermodynamics to both everyday examples and issues of global concern. Gaining new perspectives on the sustainable energy debate is an important skill you will develop, and this will help you to comprehend how we are limited by the laws of nature. You will also discuss new research that explores the boundaries of these limitations.

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Energy, the Environment and Our Future 
Created by: The Pennsylvania State University
Hosted by: Future Learn
Taught by: Richard Alley 

This online course will show the immense value we get from energy, where we get most of our energy today, why the energy system must change eventually, and why a faster change would help us. What topics will you cover? + Why Energy Matters + What is Energy? + Oil, Coal and Natural Gas + Drilling, Fracking and Reserves + The Physics of Global Warming + The History of Global Warming What will you achieve? By the end of the course, you will be able to:
*Identify both natural and human-driven systems and processes that produce energy and affect the environment  *Explain basic scientific concepts related to energy in language that non-scientists can understand *Discuss how global warming from fossil fuel use has arisen historically *Summarize how the climate has always changed and how humans are driving changes today, which will have large and long-lasting impacts if we don’t shift our energy system

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Politics and Economics of International Energy
Created by: Sciences Po
Hosted by: Coursera.com
Taught by: Giacomo Luciani

The course aims at providing students whose main interest is in international relations a background on energy resources, technology and economic realities to allow them to correctly interpret the political impact of current developments. It also aims at providing students, who already have a technical background in energy science or engineering, with the broad global view of energy issues that will allow them to better understand the social, economic and political impact of their technical knowledge.

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Renewable Energy Sources
Created and hosted by: Alison.com

This free online course is intended to introduce students to the whole area of energy sustainability, climate change and renewable energy technologies. Many greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, occur naturally. However, during the past two centuries, human activities have also added significantly to the level of these naturally occurring gases. In particular, large amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane are produced by the use of non-renewable energy sources such as oil, natural gas and coal. For a sustainable future these fossil fuels will have to be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and biomass fuels.

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Solving the Energy Puzzle: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Energy Transition
Hosted by: Future Learn
Taught by: André Faaij, University of Groningen

Today, energy systems are confronted with pressing global challenges: climate protection; economic and social development; poverty eradication; adequate food production; health for all; and the conservation of ecosystems, peace and security. A major transformation – an energy transition – is required to address these challenges. Energy transition, however, is not a simple question with straightforward solutions. Instead, it must consider and balance technological, legal, economic, spatial and social aspects. On this free online course, we will take this multidisciplinary approach, to examine the energy transition question from each of these perspectives. We will provide you with the framework and methods to analyse the question yourself.

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Our Energy Future
Created by: University of California, San Diego
Hosted by: Coursera.com
Taught by: Dr. Stephen Mayfield

This course is designed to introduce students to the issues of energy in the 21st century – including food and fuels – which are inseparably linked – and will discuss energy production and utilization from the biology, engineering, economics, climate science, and social science perspectives. This course will cover the current production and utilization of energy, as well as the consequences of this use, examining finite fossil energy reserves, how food and energy are linked, impacts on the environment and climate, and the social and economic impacts of our present energy and food production and use. After the introductory lectures, we will examine the emerging field of sustainable energy, fuel and food production, emphasizing the importance of developing energy efficient and sustainable methods of production, and how these new technologies can contribute to replacing the diminishing supplies of fossil fuels, and reduce the consequences of carbon dioxide release into the environment. This course will also cover the importance of creating a sustainable energy future for all societies including those of the developing world.

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RELATED
Converging Crises 101 Module 1: Climate Change 

 

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