About this course

The purpose of this class is to learn about the air we breathe, its quality (as before the Sars-Cov-2 air pollution was a burning health issue in the media), getting familiar with energy and its chemical basis as well as plastics as a factor of climate change. The class serves as a platform for delineation of information and the physical and chemical basis for any media-covered topic that pertains to the environment.

Lesson 1

Welcome to The Chemistry of Climate Change. Here is a quick overview of what we are going to do today:

  1. Our first class will serve as a general introduction opportunity, as well as a chance to voice the goals and expectations for each student, and my expectations for you. I have to warn you that this class will be intense and there will be homework assignments for each next class. I am sorry guys, but science is hard and environmental degradation is not fun!
  2. Go over the tools and resources that will be useful for you if you plan to do science and research.
  3. Discuss the readings you should try to look at before our first class (these can be found in this folder).
  4. Revise the basic chemistry concepts necessary to discuss environmental chemistry.
  5. Continue with the lecture.

I am certain we are going to learn together and enjoy finding ways to make this world a better place. 


Lesson 2

In this class we will explore radiation from our very own star, the Sun. I would like you to think about what is in a sunray. What is light? Light belongs within the electromagnetic spectrum, which we will look into. This energy interacts with our planet, and there are MANY consequences, from life emerging, being able to see the physical world around us, and keeping our planet warm. These interactions are crucial to understanding climate change. We will also explore the ozone layer and its role in protecting us from some of the radiation from the Sun. We will end this class with starting the conversation about carbon and why the famous 2 degrees Celsius. 

Please read the following article:

It would be the best if you could explore all the blue text within the article, so you get a better sense of the big picture.


Lesson 3

We wrapped up talking about the sources of Carbon, we are going to expand further on that in this next class. I uploaded an additional reading on the mechanism of UV-induced degradation of ozone (which also explains valency, resonance, steady state, free radicals, ALL VERY IMPORTANT and should be revised if you are not familiar with it) to the class Google Drive folder (link below). The questions we are going to answer are:

■ What are the sources of carbon on Earth? 

■ How does carbon move between reservoirs, and how do scientists measure this?

■ What are “greenhouse gases,” and what are their positive and negative effects? 

■ What are the global consequences of climate change? 

■ How do our climate trends differ from the past? 

■ How can my daily actions affect the global environment?

Link to the chapter on Ozone.

Lesson 4

In this class we are going to quantify carbon in order to review mass. We are going to look at how molecules are shaped and why, what kinds of bonds there are in terms of strength and energy. We will examine the Earth’s energy budget and how our planet stays warm.


The most important to understanding climate change are the following questions.

■ What are “greenhouse gases,” and what are their positive and negative effects? 

■ What are the global consequences of climate change? 

For homework I want each of you to research how the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere affects the health of the oceans. You might want to look up degasification and the health of coral reefs.

Lesson 5

I would like you to start watching a movie by Michael Moore called Planet of the Humans. While you watch the movie, please take notes and write down questions. We will try to answer those questions using a model provided by Climate Interactive called En-ROADS. We will talk about this model in class. I will also assign each one of you to an energy source and you will have to tell me what the movie says about your energy source, before arguing FOR AND AGAINST your energy source in class.

Lesson 6

As previously stated, today you will discuss the movie you have seen, presenting your energy source, and engage where you feel it’s necessary with other energy sources. Together we will try to reason through the current hesitance towards building larger infrastructure for renewables and, ultimately, their feasibility. 

Lesson 7

En-ROADS Workshop pt I – please watch this video:

Lesson 8

En-ROADS Workshop pt II

Please also leave your feedback on the course so far on this Jamboard.

Lesson 9

In this class we are going to talk about the consequences of climate change. By the end of this lesson we should also start the discussion about setting up the platform and your tasks for creating and delivering the Climate Change Trivia event for the MSYP closing ceremony.

Lesson 10

As I previously mentioned I will, unfortunately, not be able to join this class today. However, you should be joined by another staff member who will help you finish up the Trivia event. I would like one of you to be the “manager” of the project with the responsibility of setting up the quiz at , (just follow the instructions, and make sure to share and invite everyone to join with a link). All of you should contribute with 5 interesting questions, a picture to accompany it, and of course the multiple choice answers. For example:

  1. What is the current carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere?
    1. 300 ppm
    2. 212 ppm
    3. 417 ppm
    4. 560 ppm

Lastly, I would like to thank each one of you for being great students, and for making this program a wonderful experience for me. You are all great and I cannot wait to see your future successes.


Mirza Bečević