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The Climate Reality Project


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, History, Health

Resource Type

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 11 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States


Ask a Question

  • This engaging video shows how the strategy to spread doubt and denial about climate change is the same strategy that the tobacco industry used to spread denial of smoking's cancer-causing effects.
  • This is an interesting video with a documentary, exposé-like tone.
Teaching Tips


  • This video can be used as an introduction to the fossil fuel industry's continuing marketing, greenwashing, and propaganda.
  • Making the link between tobacco use and the burning of fossil fuels is incredibly powerful. Smoking tobacco is widely seen as harmful. In most social circles, it is frowned upon and culturally unacceptable. Secondhand smoke harms all those around the smoker. This is the same as emissions from burning fossil fuels. However, we as a society are not there yet.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers will need to prepare discussion questions or embed the video into a lesson.


  • Teachers can integrate this video into language arts curricula when teaching how to evaluate the credibility of sources.
  • Students can discuss the questions, "Why do we accept the societal dangers of burning fossil fuels when we don't accept the societal dangers of secondhand smoke?"
  • Teachers can also mention current marketing from fossil fuel companies, such as BP's carbon footprint calculator. Students can analyze why BP, a company that sells oil for money, wants consumers to calculate their own carbon footprints.
  • A possible extension could be to share this source as well. It's an opinion piece from the BBC where Andrew Simms argues that cars with internal combustion engines should come with health warnings as well. He argues that mandatory warning labels should be things like "cars cause cancer, stroke, and heart disease" and "cars cause climate change."
  • Teachers can also follow up with this lesson plan about analyzing letters from different sources with conflicting opinions about teaching climate change.
Scientist Notes
Source data and reports in the video are properly cited and referenced. Only the statement by Dr. Jay Lehr "global warming is the biggest pollution..." is contradictory and misleading. Date: 04/02/2021
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 3: Gathering and Evaluating Sources
      • D3.2.6-8 Evaluate the credibility of a source by determining its relevance and intended use.
    • Dimension 4: Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions
      • D4.4.6-8 Critique arguments for credibility.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
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