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Education to cope with the “New Normal”

The World Meteorological Organization has recently announced that 2019 marked the end of the warmest decade in history, flagging July 2019 as the hottest month on record. The global warming trajectory at the end of the second decade of the new millennium confirms the rising trend in temperature started in the 1980s, with each decade getting hotter than the previous one. The natural consequences, that include extreme weather and phenomena like retreating ice, sea level increase, ocean warming and acidification, are coupled with severe social and economic impacts on communities worldwide.

This “new normal” requires a new approach to the way we design, build and run our life, and indeed education in an essential pillar of the climate action (13th Sustainable Development Goal). Italy is taking the lead thanks to one of its most reputed academic institutions, Politecnico di Torino. With the support of Enel Foundation as Scientific Partner, Politecnico di Torino is launching  the first edition of the Master Degree on “Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Solutions”. After a successful international call for applications, the program kicked off in Turin in January 2020 for a class of 20 students from Europe, Asia and South America.

Francesco Laio, Director of the Master and Professor at Politecnico di Torino, explains, “We intend to provide students with all the tools to fully understand the dynamics of global warming and climate change, and to transfer detailed knowledge on the technologies and solutions currently available to mitigate climate change and adapt to it, together with applying those solutions to real situations.” The possible fields of application are numerous: they may go from the energy sector – where the focus is currently on energy transition – to the utilities sector, which includes also water utilities; from the agricultural industry to the insurance and finance departments.

Enel Foundation and Elis are the Scientific partners of the master program and have contributed specifically to outlining the curriculum and identifying the academic faculty involved, which includes for example lecturers from Cambridge University, Universidad Católica del Cile, or Berkeley University.

The strength of the program is heightened by the engagement of important corporate players such as EYEniFerreroGolderLavazzaRINASMATTERNA and Enel. These partners will not only share their expertise during special classes, but some of them will also offer students internship opportunities.

The Master program is part of climate_change@polito project, a bigger initiative launched to strengthen research and education on climate, coordinated by the Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering of Politecnico di Torino and supported by the Italian Ministry of University and Research. 

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