SGBK20005U Geoengineering

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Climate Change - restricted elective


Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth's natural systems to counteract climate change. Why do we need to consider geoengineering? Could existing technologies work? This course introduces various proposals within the two major categories: Solar Radiation Management (SRM) and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) aimed at cooling the planet either by reflecting more solar energy back to space or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to directly counter global warming and ocean acidification. Existing technology proposals will be introduced as well as their potential impact, advantages and disadvantages. The impact and risks of various climate mitigation proposals will be assessed in relation to forecast models for future climate change (the IPCC report). Will investments in any of the proposed technologies be sufficient for humanity to steward Earth's climate system in a sustainable manner in the future? 

Learning Outcome


  • What geoengineering is and why we consider it
  • Basic principles of SRM and CDR mechanisms
  • SRM processes including albedo enhancement, space reflectors and stratospheric aerosols.
  • CDR processes including afforestation, biochar, bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration, direct air capture, ocean fertilisation, enhanced weathering, ocean alkalinity enhancement and soil carbon sequestration.



  • Demonstrate understanding of the governing parameters in Earth's climate system.
  • Assess the advantages and disadvantages of various climate mitigation proposals.
  • Assess cost-benefit of proposed technologies.



  • Ability to explain the concepts of geoengineering and why we must consider it.
  • Be familiar with existing climate mitigation proposals.
  • Appreciating limitations to various SRM and CDR technologies.

Students will read primary scientific literature and reports. See Absalon for a list of course litterature.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended. Basic calculation skills equivalent to Danish High school level B is recommended (these are used for comparison of energy consumptions, CO2 emissions, and costs).
Weekly lectures and exercises.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 36
  • Preparation
  • 89
  • Exercises
  • 54
  • Project work
  • 26
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Each student writes an essay (ca. 5 pages) within an aspect of geoengineering during the course. Deadline for submission is 14 days before the exam.

Oral exam is 30 min (no preparation) and will address the essay topic and the curriculum.

Final grade is given by a combination of the oral and written exam, where the oral exam counts 67% and the essay counts 33%.
Exam registration requirements

Approved essay.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner

Identical to the ordinary exam.

If an essay has been submitted originally, then this also counts during the re-exam. If an essay has not been submitted, then a new essay topic is given approximately 4 weeks prior to the oral exam. It must be handed in no later than two weeks before the re-exam.

It is the student's responsibility to contact the course responsible in sufficient time to agree on a new essay topic.

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome.