Could we control our climate?
Could we control our climate?

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Session 4: Future of the planet


Trying to predict the future is a mug’s game. But increasingly it’s a game we all have to play because the world is changing so fast and we need to have some sort of idea of what the future’s actually going to be like because we are going to have to live there, probably next week.

Adams (2002)

This quotation from science fiction author Douglas Adams highlights the point that this session is not only about the specific predicted risks of climate change, which might motivate us to engineer the climate. It is also about the science of prediction: are scientists good enough at predicting the future to understand the consequences of geoengineering?

By the end of this session, you will:

  • appreciate how predicting climate is different from predicting weather
  • be aware that many different climate models exist, and that their predictions differ
  • understand the use of scenarios in predicting climate change
  • be familiar with a range of predictions about climate change and its impacts on humans and other life.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371