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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, History

Resource Types

  • Video, 4 minutes, 26 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Digital Text
  • Lesson Plan

Regional Focus



Google Docs, PDF

CFR Education: What Is Climate Change?

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  • This video examines the 18th century origins of worldwide fossil fuel usage, how fossil fuel production and other human activities are causing greenhouse gas emissions and warming the Earth, and the primary approaches for solving the climate crisis through policy, mitigation, and adaptation.
  • Below the video, teachers will find a linked lesson plan for grades 9-12, a linked discussion guide for higher education classes, and a short description of the World 101 Climate Change module.
  • This is the first section of the Climate Change module.
Teaching Tips


  • This video has a transcript that can be downloaded as a PDF.
  • This video is well-produced and filled with engaging visuals.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know the difference between a developed country and a developing country.
  • Students can reference the section about the 2015 Paris Agreement to gain additional context on this agreement.
  • The discussion and essay questions are for the entire module and the lesson plan includes multiple sections of the module.


  • This video is a great introduction to the Industrial Revolution, carbon emissions, and the effects of climate change that could be used in history, social studies, geography, or science classes.
  • To assess prior knowledge, the teacher could ask the class questions about climate change before watching the video.
  • This video could support a classroom discussion on how multinational corporations and industries influence the response to climate change in various nations.
  • This video could enhance a lesson on the Industrial Revolution and it's long-lasting impact.
Scientist Notes
This video is a very good and short (under 5 minutes) primer on the issue of climate change, covering everything from why it is happening, how it is affecting people, and what can be done to address it. 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.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.1.9-12 Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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