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CLEAN, Climate Now


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


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

Resource Types

  • Videos, 8 minutes, 59 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States

The Social Cost of Carbon

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  • This video explores the "social cost of carbon," why this cost is necessary to increase climate change mitigation and adaptation, and how different United States administrations have approached this concept.
  • Students will learn that the "social cost of carbon" is a dollar value that combines all the social and economic harms that come from CO2 emissions, that presidential administrations have not been uniform in how they assess this concept, and the "social cost of carbon" can convince entities that climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies are worth the initial cost.
Teaching Tips


  • This video features a climate scientist and an economics professor, both knowledgeable in the field.
  • This video is thorough in its explanation of complex economic concepts.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may benefit students to have an intermediate understanding of climate change, its causes, and its impacts.
  • Discussing the United States government's approach to climate change, including the fact that policies change from administration to administration, may help students understand some of the information.
  • Students may need the terms anthropogenic, monetize, emissions, and others defined before watching the video.


  • Language arts students can use this video for an informative essay on how the two major United States political parties have approached climate change during the 21st century.
  • Civics students can watch the video at home to prepare for an in-class discussion on the United States government's effectiveness in dealing with climate change.
  • Students can research various climate change mitigation strategies, their costs and benefits, and their current adoption rate in the United States.
  • This video opens many avenues for further discussion and exploration, such as the prevalence of greenhouse gas emissions despite their harmful nature, the use of climate models to make projections for future climate change, the disproportionate effects of climate change on different socioeconomic groups, and others.
Scientist Notes
This resource discusses climate policies, the costs of policy implementation, and the overall cost of carbon emissions. The data examined is well-sourced and is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • 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.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
      • 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: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • 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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