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8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus


Hitting the "Emergency Brake" on Climate

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  • This article highlights the need to prioritize specific climate solutions that have an immediate impact on greenhouse gas concentrations in order to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
  • The author describes the "low-hanging fruit" of climate solutions like stopping deforestation, preventing methane leaks, and reducing black carbon emissions over the next ten years.
Teaching Tips


  • This article communicates the urgency of solving climate change clearly and concisely, using graphs to depict climate projections.
  • The article is entirely solutions-oriented and includes increasing efficiency and reducing waste as top solutions with immediate impact.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Before reading the article, students should have an understanding of the causes of global warming.
  • Students should be comfortable reading and interpreting graphs.


  • More advanced students can be asked to discuss the factors most likely to limit progress toward the 2030 and 2050 goals.
  • As a follow-up activity, students can each research a specific climate solution that individuals can participate in directly and then, as a class, rank them.
  • Social studies and civics classes can discuss the incentives or regulations that could help motivate individuals, businesses, and municipalities to act immediately on these specific climate solutions.
  • Engineering students can discuss the many ways to reduce methane leaks or clean-up cook stoves and reduce black carbon emissions using technology.
  • Use these articles to have students learn more about some of the solutions presented in the article, including building efficiency, clean cooking, and land sinks.
Scientist Notes
This article discusses different options and actions that need to be taken in order to reduce global warming to be under 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, as is the goal of the Paris Accords. A large focus of this article is that many climate solutions cannot be put in place quickly, or we do not have the technology readily available for it. The author suggests some solutions that we need to focus on to immediately stabilize greenhouse gas emissions and eventually reduce them and emphasizes these solutions are extremely time sensitive. The information presented is accurate, however the author does express his opinion on which solutions are most important. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.10 By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-4 Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.
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