A person walk's beneath fall foliage on Gonzaga's campus.

Certificate in Climate Action Planning

Learn to create actionable plans for addressing climate change

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The last third of the twentieth century we have witnessed a shift in Earth-human relations. The human species now threatens Earth’s capacity to sustain life as we know it. Communities across the country and around the world are increasingly interested in creating concrete plans to mitigate their contributions to the climate crisis and to adapt to current and projected effects, such as extreme heat, wildfire, and flooding. Groups of all sizes have an important role to play in climate change mitigation planning, yet there's a lack of education on the topic. To meet this need, the Gonzaga Institute for Climate, Water, and the Environment and the Center for Lifelong Learning have collaborated to offer the Certificate in Climate Action Planning.

About the Certificate in Climate Action Planning

This certificate is a non-degree program designed for professionals who wish to develop knowledge, skills and best practices related to climate action planning. A climate action plan is a road map that guides a local community (municipality, business, or faith group) to achieving its emission-reduction goals, while making it more resilient to climate change.

Topics covered

  • Community engagement, collaboration, and communication strategies
  • Climate impact and vulnerability assessment
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting
  • Strategies for mitigating GHG emissions and creating resilient communities
  • Climate and social justice
  • Implementation, monitoring, and reporting

Learning outcomes

  • Engage with stakeholders in politically diverse climates.
  • Understand the principles of greenhouse gas accounting.
  • Use climate modeling tools to conduct a climate impact assessment.
  • Conduct a climate vulnerability assessment with attention to equity and social and environmental justice.
  • Take steps to creating a climate action plan. 

Who should participate

  • Municipal employees and consultants that support municipalities.
  • University, business, non-profit and parish employees looking to develop climate action plans 
  • Educators interested in growing their knowledge of climate action planning

The value to you and your community

  • The Gonzaga University Institute for Climate, Water, and the Environment brings its rich, nationally-recognized expertise in climate leadership to this program.

  • This is not simply a check-the-box course, but a rich, skill-based program that challenges participants to consider new perspectives and approaches.

  • Incorporation of real-world case studies, concrete application to your community’s circumstances, and individual assessments allow you to immediately apply your skills and gain greater depth of understanding.
  • Real-time virtual classes with instructors and peers provide you with transformational learning opportunities, as well as the flexibility and convenience of online classes.


Details for 2024 Cohort

  • Cost: $3,500
    • Payment plans available.
    • 10% discount for 4 or more registrations from the same organization.
  • Duration: 4.5 months/ 18 weeks
  • Dates: August 27, 2024 to January 14, 2025      
    • Includes 3 weeks off during the holiday season.
  • Format: Zoom classes held weekly on Tuesday afternoons from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Pacific Time
  • Time commitment: Students report they spend 2-3 hours per week of reading and work outside of class sessions.
  • Credits: You will receive 7 (seven) Continuing Education Credits representing 70 hours of class time and independent learning. This program also counts towards 70 OSPI clock hours in WA State. CE Credits will appear on a Gonzaga University transcript.  
  • Grading: Pass/Fail basis
  • Textbook: You will be expected to acquire the book Climate Action Planning: A Guide to Creating Low-Carbon, Resilient Communities 
  • Prerequisites and expectations:
    • No prior knowledge or experience is required.
    • To enroll, you must have a Bachelor degree or at least five (5) years of any kind of work experience (which can include jobs held during high school).
    • You will need to have access to reliable internet and a functioning computer with a webcam and microphone.
    • You will be expected to attend all or nearly all weekly class sessions and to actively participate with your video on. (Note: In some cases of unforeseen circumstances, your instructor will endeavor to work with you to determine make-up work.)
    * Details may be subject to change.

Ready to enroll in the Fall 2024 course?


Gonzaga Climate Institute

Founded in 2021, the Gonzaga Institute for Climate, Water, and the Environment provides resources and opportunities to students, faculty, community members, and leaders in the inland northwest to meet the unprecedented challenges facing humanity and the wider natural environment in the 21st century.

Contact the Center for Lifelong Learning