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Volume 30, Number 2
March/April 2014

Teaching Climate Change

Scientists and teachers target middle school as the place to start


Scientists today are in near total agreement (97 percent) about the human causes and dire nature of global warming, according to a 2013 research study of peer-reviewed climate change research published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Public opinion, however, is all over the map, with only 47 percent agreeing with scientists about the human causes, according to recent polling by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

Much of the issue, the academics and other experts say, is that the general public poorly understands the science behind global warming, including the teachers needed to prepare today’s youth for what is sizing up to be their generation’s greatest challenge.

But, at least for educators, there is some good news: Help is on the way, with much of it focused on middle schools.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

R. B. Stevenson, M. Brody, J. Dillon and A. Wals, eds. International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education. London: Routledge, 2012.

Climate Change Education Project:

Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN):

J. Cook et al. “Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature.” Environmental Research Letters 8, no. 2 (2013): 1–7.

B. Golden, J. Grooms, V. Sampson, and R. Oliveri. “Generating Arguments about Climate Change.” Science Scope. Arlington VA: National Science Teachers Association, March 2012.

A. Leiserowitz et al. Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in November 2013. New Haven, CT: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, 2014.