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Nigel Topping


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Economics

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

3 Rules for a Zero Carbon World

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  • In this TED video, Nigel Topping, the UN's High-Level Climate Action Champion, outlines three key rules that will help the global economy achieve a zero-carbon future. 
  • Students will learn that each industry will have to harness ambition loops, set exponential goals, and create shared action pathways to eliminate greenhouse emissions. 
Teaching Tips


  • Nigel Topping shares his pathway to becoming involved in climate action, which could inspire students to consider similar careers.
  • The video emphasizes the importance of telling positive stories about the future of our planet.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video is best for advanced students as it is dense and uses business language.
  • Students should have a strong understanding of climate change.
  • Subtitles and transcripts are available in 12 languages; however, the transcript is not available in English.


  • Teachers could pause the video throughout to debrief and help students understand the language.
  • Economics, business, politics, and government classes could discuss the way that Nigel Topping sees systems as sets of repeating patterns.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on using economic tools to achieve environmental goals and this timeline on the UN climate talks.
Scientist Notes
This 12-minute TED talk is a presentation of three rules that can help drive collaborative action and innovation within industries and the economy. It's a business language-heavy video that might be difficult to follow for students unfamiliar with business language but is otherwise a good way to learn about how economic and business innovation geared towards climate action takes place. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
      • D2.Civ.14.9-12 Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.15.9-12 Explain how current globalization trends and policies affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of citizens, the environment, and resource and income distribution in different nations.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
      • D2.Eco.4.9-12 Evaluate the extent to which competition among sellers and among buyers exists in specific markets.
      • D2.Eco.7.9-12 Use benefits and costs to evaluate the effectiveness of government policies to improve market outcomes.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.11.9-12 Evaluate how economic globalization and the expanding use of scarce resources contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among countries.
      • D2.Geo.12.9-12 Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.
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