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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States



CFR Education: Solar Geoengineering Simulation

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  • This article discusses the merits and drawbacks of solar geoengineering as a possible solution to global warming and is accompanied by guidelines for a classroom discussion. 
  • After reading about what solar geoengineering is, what needs to be done for it to be effective, and its downfalls, students can choose one of three provided stances and take part in a discussion or debate.
Teaching Tips


  • In the Pop-Up Case Guidelines, there are many useful suggestions for implementing discussions.
  • This resource does an excellent job of informing students about real environmental policy in a way that is easy to understand.

Additional Prerequisites

  • If you will be discussing the policy options using an NSC simulation, it may help for students to see one in action, before participating.
  • Students may need the terms solar geoengineering, carbon-capture technology, decarbonizing, stopgap, unilaterally, contentious, and others defined prior to reading the article.


  • Either individually or as a class, students can create a list of the costs and benefits associated with solar geoengineering.
  • Language arts students can further research solar geoengineering, choose one of the three stances provided, and write a persuasive essay or letter to the government about their chosen stance.
  • Students can read the full article on the right of this Pop-Up Case to extend learning.
  • Have students consider the effects of solar geoengineering on ecosystems, the services they provide to humanity and the world, and the risks that are involved with altering these globally connected systems.
Scientist Notes
This article introduces students to solar geoengineering and has them think about, and potentially debate, whether the US should pursue solar geoengineering. This article does a nice job explaining both the pros and cons of geoengineering, as well as highlighting that no matter what is chosen, climate change will still be an issue. This article and activity is a great way to allow students to come to their own conclusions based on the information provided. The article does touch on a lot of related climate and climate change topics, so students have the ability to connect this lesson to more climate change and weather topics. The webpage also includes a handout that further explains how to use the article as a class activity and includes other resources. The information presented is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.9-12 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
      • D2.Civ.11.9-12 Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
      • D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
      • D2.Civ.7.9-12 Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.
      • D2.Civ.9.9-12 Use appropriate deliberative processes in multiple settings.
    • 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.
    • Dimension 4: Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions
      • D4.2.9-12 Construct explanations using sound reasoning, correct sequence (linear or non-linear), examples, and details with significant and pertinent information and data, while acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of the explanation given its purpose (e.g., cause and effect, chronological, procedural, technical).
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
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