USS-SWC 2013 – Climate studies

The 13th Vienna Summer University was held on July 1–12, 2013.


  • Jim Fleming (Colby College)
  • Roman Frigg (London School of Economics)
  • Wendy Parker (Ohio University)

Climate is both a familiar dimension of human experience and a product of complex physical, chemical and biological processes. Recent concerns over anthropogenic global warming have sparked renewed attention to climate from a variety of perspectives: natural scientists are attempting to understand the record of past climate changes and the dynamics of the climate system; social scientists are investigating the human impacts of climate change, as well as opportunities for mitigation and adaptation; and scholars in the humanities are exploring historical perspectives on climate, the epistemology of climate science, the politics of the global warming debate, and ethical dimensions of climate change.
The course engaged with historical, philosophical, political and sociological dimensions of climate and climate change. Historical perspectives received particular attention, as the epistemology of climate science.


  • Climate and climate change: the scientific basis
  • Historical perspectives on climate change: Enlightenment to 1900
  • Historical perspectives on climate change: The twentieth century
  • Not just average weather: climate as agency and lived experience
  • A molecular biography of CO2
  • Fixing the sky: the quest to control climate
  • Chaos and climate prediction
  • Is climate change real?
  • Models, measurement and the construction of global climate datasets
  • Simulation and understanding in the study of weather and climate
  • The costs of climate change: the debate over discounting
  • Science for policy: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Debating climate change: consensus, doubt and proof in science
  • Precaution and policy: ethical dimensions of climate change
  • Uncertainty about future climate change: experts and ownership