Intro to Climate Policy for Climate Adaptation Professionals

Submitted by Krista Lambert | published 12th Oct 2021 | last updated 24th Feb 2023

Climate Adaptation Training Annotation

  • Level: Introductory
  • Time commitment:  3 hours per module (4 modules in total) - 12 hours total
  • Learning product: Online course 
  • Sector: multi-sector, agriculture, forestry, infrastructure 
  • Language: English
  • Certificate available:  completion certificate; microcredential program in development
overhead shot of desks and chairs arranged in a circle


This four-week, fully online, asynchronous course will inform participants about climate adaptation policy in Canada and BC. It will allow them to consider how climate policy from international to local levels informs their professional functions and day to day activities on the job. The course will cover, among other things, the basics of environmental policy, differences between climate mitigation and climate adaptation policy, overviews of key policy actors and tools, and policy gaps. 

It will also consider, in detail, examples of current policy-driven climate adaptation measures in specific areas from engineering to agriculture to hydrology and beyond.
The course format will include short video lecture content, interviews with national to local experts, discussions and activities, resources and readings to respond to, and a final capstone activity.

The Introduction to Climate Policy for Climate Adaptation Professionals course material is available using the links below for self-learning but if you wish to attend a facilitated online course find details here.

Institutional background and trainers

Intro to Climate Policy for Climate Adaptation Professionals by Michelle Patterson is licensed under CC BY 4.0  except where indicated. For external links to resources, review the rights and permission details.  

This course is part of the Adaptation Learning Network: Inspiring Climate Action. This course is Creative Commons licensed and the content is free to use with attribution (for external links to resources, please review the rights and permission details).

This course is also offered as a facilitated online course by Royal Roads University. You can find registration information on the Adaptation Learning Network Portal

Who would find this useful?

This course is designed to help local government staff and professionals in multiple disciplines (including engineering, agricultural science, applied biologists, applied science technologists & technicians, forestry, landscape architecture, planning and public health) to understand climate adaptation policy in Canada and BC. It will allow them to consider how climate policy from international to local levels informs their professional functions and day-to-day activities on the job.

Training Material

Module 1: Foundations of Climate Change Policy

This module covers topics like: the role of public policy, what is climate adaptation policy, why do we need climate adaptation policy, and the connection between higher level policy and your work as professionals. Find more videos, learning materials and quizes by clcking on the Content tab on Module page here.

Video attribution: "Lecture #1" by Michele Patterson, Introduction to Climate Policy for Climate Adaptation Professionals, Adaptation Learning Network is licensed under CC BY 4.0.


Module 2: Climate Change Adaptation Policy: A Deep Dive 

In this module (Module 2) you will become more familiar with the overall policy landscape for climate adaptation.  

Video attribution: “CITY OF NANAIMO: INNOVATION IN INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS: Lisa Bhopalsingh & Rob Lawrance” by Michele Patterson, Introduction to Climate Policy for Climate Adaptation Professionals, Adaptation Learning Network is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Module 3: Applications and Practice for Industry Professionals

In this module you will be learning about climate adaptation policy relevant to your specific discipline. Some professional organizations have more specific climate change policy resources than others.  However, all have professional practice guidelines, bylaw, ethical statements, and other kinds of documents that provide a policy foundation for any kind of professional activity.

Module 4: Capstone Activity

In this final module, you will have a chance to do one of two things (or two things if you want!), that will get you thinking about how you can take what you learned in this course, and continue to use it in your work life. You can either:

  • Share and discuss with colleagues in a different discipline how you might better share and use knowledge to collaborate, and make decisions across your separate disciplinary policy areas for greater overall integration in climate change adaptation. 
  • Share and discuss with colleagues in your own discipline how you might work together to further collaborate in increasing information and knowledge about the climate adaptation policy space with others. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to: 

  • DIAGNOSE why different climate change adaptation policies are needed in different circumstances. 
  • INTERPRET climate change policy in terms of its role in mitigation or adaptation. 
  • Use climate change scenarios to PREDICT future changes that suggest the need for new or better climate change adaptation policy tools.
  • RECOMMEND appropriate climate change adaptation policy tools for a variety of professional and planning needs.
  • Critically EVALUATE whether existing climate change adaptation policy is sufficient for professionals in various fields.
  • APPLY climate change policy knowledge to real-life examples in professional and planning contexts.