Earlier this summer, a report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations, found that some devastating effects of global warming were inevitable. But there is still a short window to keep things from getting worse.
This report will be at the heart of COP26, the international climate summit where around 20,000 heads of state, diplomats and activists meet in person this week to set new targets for reducing emissions from coal, oil and gas. that heat the planet.
In this lesson, you’ll learn seven ways to slow climate change and avoid some of its most catastrophic consequences while we still have time. Using a puzzle activity, you will become an expert in one of these strategies or technologies and share what you learn with your classmates. Then you will develop your own climate plan and consider ways to make a difference based on your new knowledge.
What do you know about the ways the world can slow climate change? Start by making a list of strategies, technologies or policies that could help solve the climate crisis.
Which of your ideas do you think could have the greatest impact on climate change? Circle what you think are the top three.
Now test your knowledge by taking this interactive quiz 2017:
Once you’re done, think for yourself in writing or talking to a partner:
What solutions to climate change have you learned that you did not know before?
Were you surprised by any of the answers to the quiz? If so, which ones and why?
What questions do you still have about solving climate change?
As you learned during warming up, there are many ways to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Below, we’ve rounded up seven of the most effective solutions, many of which you may have seen in the quiz above.
In this puzzle activity, you will become an expert on one of the climate solutions listed below and then present what you have learned to your classmates. Teachers can assign one student or small group to each topic, or allow them to choose. Students, read at least one of the related articles on your subject; you can also use this article as a starting point for further research.
Solutions to climate change
Renewable energy: Scientists agree that to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, countries must immediately move away from dirty energy sources like coal, oil and gas, and instead turn to renewable energy sources like wind, solar or nuclear power. Discover the powerful possibilities of one of these producers, offshore wind farms, and see how they work.
Refrigerants: It’s not the most exciting solution to climate change, but it is one of the most effective. Find out how to make refrigerants, like air conditioners, more efficient could eliminate a full degree of warming by 2100.
Transport: Governments around the world are focused on limiting one of the world’s biggest sources of pollution: gasoline cars. Learn about the promises and challenges of electric vehicles or how countries are rethinking their transit systems.
Methane emissions: You hear a lot about the need to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but what about its dangerous cousin, methane? Find out ideas for stopping methane emissions and why it could be powerful in the short-term fight against climate change.
Agriculture: Efforts to limit global warming often target fossil fuels, but reducing greenhouse gases from food production is also urgent, according to research. Read about four solutions to the earth’s food supply that could go a long way.
Preservation of nature: Scientists agree that reversing biodiversity loss is a crucial way to slow climate change. Find out how protecting and restoring nature can help cool the planet or how indigenous communities could lead the way.
Carbon capture: Eliminating emissions alone may not be enough to avoid some of the worst effects of climate change, which is why some companies are investing in technology that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air. Learn more about what is known as artificial carbon removal.
Questions to consider
As you read your climate solution, answer the questions below. You can save your answers in this graphic organizer (PDF).
1. What is the solution? How it works?
2. What problem linked to climate change does this strategy respond to?
3. What effect could this have on global warming?
4. How effective is this compared to other means of mitigating climate change? Why?
5. What are the limits of this solution?
6. What are some of the challenges or risks (political, social, economic or technical) of this idea?
7. What other questions do you have about this strategy?
When you are finished, you will meet in “teaching groups” with at least one expert in each of the other climate solutions. Share what you know about your topic with your classmates and record what you learn from them in your graphic organizer.
Option 1: Develop a climate plan.
Scientists say that to prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the threshold beyond which the dangers of global warming increase dramatically, we will have to adopt all solutions you’ve learned – and more. However, the reality is that countries will not be able to do it right away. They will need to determine which ones can have the greatest or fastest impact on climate change, which are the most profitable, and which are the most politically and socially feasible.
Imagine being asked to come up with a plan to fight climate change. If you were in charge, which of these seven solutions would you favor and why? You can start by ranking the solutions you’ve learned from most effective or urgent to least.
Next, write a proposal for your plan that answers the following questions:
What are the top three priority solutions? That is, what do you think are the most urgent to tackle now and the most effective in slowing global warming?
Explain your decisions. Based on your research – the articles you read and the quiz you answered at the start of the lesson – why should these solutions take priority?
How to encourage businesses and citizens to adopt these changes? For some ideas, you can read more about the climate policies that countries around the world have adopted to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Option 2: Take action.
Thinking about solutions to climate change on such a large scale can be overwhelming, but there are things you can do in your own life and in your community to make a difference. Choose one of the activities below to take action, or create one of your own:
Share climate solutions through the media. Often, the news media focus more on the problems of climate change than on the solutions. Counter this narrative by creating something to post that relates to one or more of the solutions you’ve learned. For example, you can send a letter to the editor, write an article for your school newspaper, enter one of our upcoming student contests, or create an infographic to share on social media.
Make changes in your own life. How can you make good climate choices related to one or more of the topics you have learned? For example, you could eat less meat, take public transportation, or turn off your air conditioner. Write a plan, explaining what you’re going to do (or what you’re already doing) and how that might help mitigate climate change, research shows.
Join a movement. This guest essay urges people to focus on the systems, not themselves. What groups could you get involved with and who are working on some of the solutions you learned? Identify at least one group, local, national or international, and a way to support it. Or, if you’re of voting age, think of a local, state, or federal politician you’d like to support based on their climate policies.
Want more lessons of the day? You can find them all here.