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The Causes of Climate Change

Author: NASA
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences
Resource Types:
  • Article
  • Video, 17 seconds
  • Data
  • This NASA resource describes the influence of the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases on climate change. 
  • The resource provides an animation, images, and data about the greenhouse effect; how the greenhouse effect on Earth compares to Mars and Venus; and how we know that solar activity is not causing the warming we are experiencing today. 
Teaching Tips


  • This resource addresses some of the skeptics' arguments about the causes of climate change with data and evidence.
  • The comparisons to Mars and Venus might be hooks for some students.

Additional Prerequisites

  • You may want to provide additional context about CFCs, the Montreal Protocol, and other halogenated or fluorinated gases that are still being used as refrigerants and insulators.
  • Students should know how to read a graph.


  • ELA, social studies, and civics classes could use this resource for debates, position papers, or lessons about the importance of media literacy, source verification, and data-based evidence for public policy. 
  • Other resources related to this topic include Climate Politics and Is It Real?.
Scientist Notes
This resource succinctly lays out the causes of climate change. Almost as important as showing what causes climate change, the resource also gives evidence as to what is not causing climate change. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
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