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The Urban Climate Leadership certificate is a 9 month, online, admissions-based curriculum for mid-career professionals who believe that cities and towns play a critical role advancing and accelerating climate solutions to build a more equitable and regenerative future. 

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    Program Overview

    Cities are responsible for roughly 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and play a critical role in addressing climate change. The impacts of climate change have forced cities and towns to address a myriad of complex social, economic, and environmental challenges while relying on increasingly strained infrastructure, energy systems, and ecosystems — especially in the Global South. This program is committed to the growth of its participants and acceleration of solutions that will create and transform cities we need for an equitable and regenerative future. By mid-century, there will be nearly 7 billion people living in cities - as many people as those who occupy the entire planet today. Thus, the speed and scale of both urbanization and the deterioration of our planetary system demands swift and scalable solutions.  

    Developed by the Yale School of the Environment and the Hixon Center for Urban Sustainability, the Urban Climate Leadership certificate educates and empowers leaders to accelerate urban solutions for a climate-ready future through an accessible and rigorous online education. Covering topics ranging from urban form and land use planning, to transportation, energy systems, forests and greenspaces, this certificate is geared towards working professionals eager to obtain knowledge, strategies, and a robust skillset to address the most pressing, cross disciplinary challenges facing cities around the world. Through lectures by world-renowned professors and practitioners as well as weekly readings, assignments, and online convenings, online learners will have abundant opportunities to deepen their knowledge base and gain the skills and versatility required to accelerate climate solutions. 


    This online certificate program consists of four, eight-week courses and one four-week course. Each course has its own thematic focus with corresponding readings and assignments that compliment the lectures by faculty. Additionally, online learners will participate in weekly online sessions with certificate faculty and staff to discuss relevant topics, engage in meaningful discussions, and answer questions.

    Workers on a rooftop solar installation in an urban setting

    Key Learning Outcomes

    • Articulate the ways cities and towns are dynamically and simultaneously contributing to climate change through human activities and infrastructure, and are impacted by climate change through increased risks and volatility on urban systems and human wellbeing. 
    • Express the multitude of scalable, impactful mitigation and adaptation solutions that can be deployed in cities and towns across the world to ensure a climate-ready future 
    • Deepen one’s understanding of the people and institutions instrumental to the development of urban climate strategies, policies, and financing 
    • Expand one’s professional network and skills to apply urban climate mitigation and adaptation solutions 

    Program Timeline 2024-2025

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2024

    Course I

    Urban GHG Emissions, Drivers of Climate Change, and Mitigation Solutions

    • Module I - Urbanization, Cities, and Climate Change  
    • Module III - Drivers of GHG Emissions: Urban Form and Transportation  
    • Module IV - Drivers of GHG Emissions: Building Materials
    • Module V - Drivers of GHG Emissions: Energy Efficiency and Building Decarbonization
    • Module VI - Urban Areas in a Larger Geographic Context 
    • Module VII - Urban Nature-Based Climate Solutions 
    • Module VIII -Mitigation Activities for Varied Urban Typologies  

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2024

    Course II

    Urban Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Solutions

    • Module I - Risks to Key Urban Physical & Social Infrastructure  
    • Module II - Interdependencies, Compounding & Cascading Risks 
    • Module III - Environmental Vulnerabilities & Avoiding Maladaptation  
    • Module IV - Adaptation through Gray Infrastructure 
    • Module V - Adaptation through Social Infrastructure 
    • Module VI - Adaptation through Nature-Based Solutions 
    • Module VII - Adaptation through Nature-Based Solutions in a Larger Geographic Context 
    • Module VIII - Emergency Preparedness, Long Term Planning & Climate Resilient Development 


    Semester Ends


    Course III

    Measurement and Accounting

    • Module I - Carbon Accounting I 
    • Module II - Carbon Accounting II 
    • Module III - Greenspace Measurement 
    • Module IV - Greenspace Monitoring 

    THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2025

    Course IV

    Strategies, Governance, and Finance

    • Module I - Urban Climate Action Across Sectors & Scales 
    • Module II - Stakeholders: Individuals & Institutions 
    • Module III - Spatial Planning Strategies 
    • Module IV - Policy Instruments I 
    • Module V - Policy Instruments II 
    • Module VI - Financing Climate Action I  
    • Module VII - Financing Climate Action II 
    • Module VIII - Co-benefits & Synergies of Urban Climate Solutions

    THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2025

    Course V

    Coalitions and Implementation

    • Module I - Aligning Urban Climate Solutions with Development Agendas 
    • Module II - Building Coalitions 
    • Module III - Enabling Conditions & Catalyzing Conditions 
    • Module IV - Urban Climate Leadership in Action 
    • Module V - Climate Communication 
    • Module VI -Pulling it All Together: Developing Your Own Case Study  
    • Module VIII - Networking 
    • Module VIII - Final Presentations 

    Thursday, May 29, 2025

    Semester Ends

    Kroon Hall on the Yale Campus

    Yale School of the Environment (YSE)

    Since 1900, YSE has addressed the world’s most critical environmental challenges through research, practice-based scholarship, and public engagement. Our internationally renowned faculty lead rigorous coursework across ten learning communities, each focused on a different area of expertise. Their innovative research, completed with students and staff across Yale and within numerous disciplines, is changing how we understand the environment, conservation, and sustainability.  

    By joining YSE, you can become an integral part of this robust and diverse community of learners committed to addressing the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges.  

    Danica Doroski

    Educational opportunities focused on urban climate change impacts and solutions are critical as our urban areas, and urban residents, become increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Investing in leaders that can understand and approach climate change from a variety of disciplines and perspectives is greatly needed to address the complexity inherent to the urban environment.”

    Danica Doroski  Connecticut State Urban Forester, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection