New classes in climate change for Australian university


ANU plans to open a new climate change institute in 2009


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Australian university students will now be able to take classes in climate change as part of a new initiative at the Australian National University.

The ANU Climate Change Institute (CCI), announced today by ANU Vice-Chancellor Ian Chubb, will be up and running in 2009.

The institute has two main thrusts - education and research according - to Will Steffen, a climate change advisor to the Federal Government who will head up the CCI.

The CCI offers courses not just for students, but also for short courses for experts and professionals, Steffen said.

According to Steffen, the CCI is one of the first of its kind to cross a variety of education disciplines - law, philosophy, economics, indigenous issues - to encompass the complex issues of climate change.

"The reality that lies at the heart of the climate change challenge is the need for a deep comprehension of. . . highly complex systems," Chubb said.

Understanding the mechanics of climate change and how humans affect the system - as well as how it affects humans - is a major focus, Steffen said.

As well as education and research, the CCI will join the international climate change community and co-host the International Alliance of Research Universities Copenhagen Climate Change Congress in March next year.

Steffen said it is important to continue not only consultation with the Federal Government, but also global discussions because of the worldwide consequences of climate change. "The work we do now will be crucial to our future," he said.