Topic 7: Climate change and energy production

McCarty Glacier Retreat
Climate Change and Energy Production

This topic has been greatly updated and has moved from "the issue of global warming" to a much more integrated approach to energy and climate change.

This may be one of the fastest evolving subject areas and it will be important for you as a teacher to keep abreast of current developments to help your students engage with the topic. Indeed since starting this page, the Paris 2015 Agreement has meant that now there is talk of "the energy transition" and a commitment to decarbonise the world's economy by about 2050.

In this unit we will explore:

  • what energy security means
  • what are the causes of climate change
  • what are the impacts of climate change
  • mitigation and adaptation strategies which can be taken by individuals and countries.

I start with a discussion of the Energy Transition needed by 2050 using  The Great Energy Transition. This is a short video with guiding questions based on a Greenpeace report that we can by fully renewable energy dependent by 2050.

Significant Ideas:

  • There is a range of different energy sources available to societies that vary in their sustainability, availability, cost and socio-political implications.
  • The choice of energy sources is controversial and complex. Energy security is an important factor in making energy choices.
  • Climate change has been a normal feature of the Earth’s history, but human activity has contributed to recent changes.
  • There has been significant debate about the causes of climate change.
  • Climate change causes widespread and significant impacts on a global scale.
  • Mitigation attempts to reduce the causes of climate change.
  • Adaptation attempts to manage the impacts of climate change.

Recommended Teaching Time (not including practicals): 13 hours

7.1 Energy Choices and Security

The idea of energy resources has been reframed in the context of energy security. The global context of energy needs is growing and developing and will need to be understood.Students need to understand...

7.2 1 Climate Change - Causes

This subtopic contains a selection of slightly different angles on Climate Change. Students need to understand the difference between weather and climate, the difference between the greenhouse effect...

7.2 2 Climate Change - Debate and Models

In this page we will try to explore some of the debate surrounding global warming. In order to do this I use the BBC documentary The Climate Wars presented by Professor Iain Stewart. In the second episode...

7.2 3 Climate Change - Impacts

The image shown here is a still from a video showing the progress of Hurricane Sandy which hit New York and New Jersey in October 2012.In this section, we are going to examine the impacts of Climate Change...

7.3 Climate Change - Mitigation and Adaptation

In this sub-topic we explore what can be done to reduce the causes of climate change (mitigation) and what can be done to prepare societies to cope with the effects of climate change, managing the impacts...

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