NCWR

About NCWR

Acting for Climate

In a nutshell

How are the greenhouse gases emitted? We examine the main human activities that generate them and discuss what measures countries are taking for climate change. Moreover, we undertake collective action for climate at school and at community level.

3 class hours

12-13 years old

In class

Our objectives

In this activity you will:

  • Get to know the main sectors contributing to climate change, globally.
  • Find out the main sectors contributing to climate change in your country.
  • Be informed about major international conventions to cope with it.
  • Undertake action for climate at school and community level.

Things to use

Notebook and pens

Water-readings

Global emissions by sector

Changing our lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprint in our homes is already one important action, we should all be doing. However, climate change is a complex phenomenon with many causes, and the residential activities is a relatively small CO2 contributor, globally.

We can only make informed decisions and undertake responsible climate action -as students, citizens and voters-  if we are well aware of the broader picture: We need to know the causes, by sector, at a global and at a country level, as well the eventual impact of our actions in anyone of these sectors. For example, advocating for a green mayor who is committed in adopting renewable energy resources throughout the city may be a more effective action than switching off the lights at home.

The following pie chart presents the global greenhouse gas emissions by sector.

Each sector represents the sum of the following activities:

  • Energy: emissions from electricity production, public heating, manufacturing and construction industry.
  • Transport: emissions from aviation, road & rail transport, shipping, or other transportation.
  • Residential & commercial: emissions from heating our homes and shops and offices, from cooking etc.
  • Industry: emissions from processing minerals, chemicals, metals etc. and from producing paper, food, drink, electronics & electrical equipment, including cooling devices.
  • Waste: emissions (mostly CH4) from solid waste disposal and incineration, sewage treatment, other waste handling.
  • Agriculture: emissions (mostly CH4 and NOx) from enteric fermentation; manure management & application in soils; rice cultivation; synthetic fertilisers; crop residues & burning etc.
  • Land use: emissions from the net conversion of forest; cropland; grassland and burning biomass for agriculture or other uses.
  • Other sources: emissions from fossil fuel fires & other anthropogenic sources.

Group activity

GROUP ACTIVITY


Visit this website and compare the sectoral global greenhouse gases emissions to your county’s.

  • How are these two different?
  • Make your country’s “pie diagram” to represent its profile when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Is your per capita greenhouse gas emission higher or lower than the global average?

All around the world countries, cities, companies, but also people already undertake a series of adaptation and mitigation measures for climate change.

Mitigation refers to actions for reducing or preventing further greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. These actions can be undertaken from the home level to global level. Mitigation examples: switching to renewable energy sources, making devices more energy efficient, recycling, making pathways and bike-ways in cities, renewing the public transport fleet, improving forest management, changing consumer behaviour, etc.

Adaptation: As changes in climate are already inevitable, we should get prepared and take action to minimise the damage and disruption they may cause. These adaptation actions can take place from individual to global level. Examples of adaptation: changing crops to more water-resistant ones; constructing  water permeable roads & pavements in densely built cities; maintaining & restoring wetlands as flood regulators, improving the forest management, e.g. by removing aged trees, etc.

GROUP ACTIVITY


For each sector you have identified in your country’s pie diagram give one example of remedy actions to take:

  • at a personal or home or city level, and
  • at a country level (policy, law, etc.)

Your examples could refer to the present (what your country is already doing) or the future (what the country should do). Make sure you propose mitigation as well as adaptation measures.

Present them in class.

Stop and wonder

Climate Justice

Countries do not contribute equally to climate change, and unfortunately, they do not bear its impacts in a fair way. As you may assume, the poorer countries typically contribute lower CO2 emissions, while they may be more susceptible to some impacts, such as to droughts or floods. For example, African countries account for only 3% of the world’s greenhouse gases emissions. On the contrary, Europe and North America, with about the same population as Africa, together account for the 2/3 of the emissions. This makes clear that the richer countries enjoy a consumer lifestyle at the expense of the poorest ones.

Sadly, inequalities exist also within the countries: the poorest citizens are often the most affected, e.g. because they live in degraded areas and homes, vulnerable to floods or heatwaves.

Some good news! In recent years, due to bold climate policies and technology advances, some rich countries (i.e. Scandinavian) have succeeded to drop their emissions below global average without giving up their high  living standards.


Can you think of an example of climate injustice from your country or region?

Can you propose an action to address it?

Water-readings

International Agreements on Climate

The fact that climate change affects areas beyond countries’ borders imposes solutions that are irreversibly global and should be the result of international cooperation and agreements. Such agreements set the global goals for tackling climate change in a fair way and establish efficient as well as measures for countries to meet their differentiated targets.

Milestone agreements on climate, so far:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)

In early 1990s, the international community finally decided to create a formal body for addressing climate change, that came into being at the famous Earth Summit in Rio, in 1992. This body is called the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC) and since then it has been the global driver for climate agreements, being the highest decision-making forum in the world, delivering, among others, the Kioto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

The Kyoto Protocol (1997)

In 1997, for the first time ever, there was an agreement by countries to reduce their greenhouse gases emissions. The Protocol was based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: Recognising that developed countries are mainly responsible for most of the existing CO2 emissions (as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity), the Protocol placed a heavier burden on these countries: The Protocol set specific reduction targets only for developed countries.

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005 and it was partly successful: Despite the 36 developed countries that actually reduced their carbon emissions, the global carbon emissions kept rising. This was due to the development of poor countries e.g. in Asia and also due to the withdrawal of some rich countries from the Protocol.

The implementation of the Kioto commitments would go as far as 2020. So what would happen next? In recent years, and as the CO2 emissions kept rising, negotiations pushed for a new universal agreement in which all countries –not just developed ones– have some responsibility and specific reduction targets , and the result was the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement (2015)

In 2015, the leaders of 196 countries took a historic decision in Paris. Recognising that a bigger than 2°C global temperature rise (compared to pre-industrial levels) would be unpredictably catastrophic, they agreed to take measures to keep the increase below 2°C ; and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C. Since the average global temperature has already risen by 1.2°C* then it becomes obvious that we are running out of time.

Under the Paris Agreement, each country determines its own plans, takes adaptation and mitigation measures and regularly reports on its CO2 emissions. Often, local authorities set their own goals and mechanisms for tackling climate change.

SDGs: 17 Goals for people and the planet

2015 was a  milestone year for one more reason: the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States, who agreed on a 15-year plan to achieve them. The Goals call for action by all countries -rich and poor alike – and address a range of topics including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.


*IPCC report , 2015

 

Play & learn

Besides the well-known global warming phenomenon, how many impacts of climate change can you think of? This True or False activity will help you discover some of them!

1. Higher temperature means more evaporation, more cloud formation, therefore more rain, and that is good, right?


2. Due to climate change there will be an increase in precipitation intensity; this means that more rain will fall in shorter periods, compared to the past.


3. Due to climate change, we will get more rain than snow.


4. The absence of the white coloured mountain tops and glaciers will decrease the reflection of sunlight back to space, and lead to further global warming.


5. The higher precipitation we will get due to climate change will result to more fertile soils.


6. Thankfully, forests are resilient to climate change.


7. The main impact of climate change for the ocean is the sea level rise, due to ice melting.


8. In developing countries women are more climate vulnerable than men.


9. Climate change is expected to increase the health and disease risks we will face.


Group activity

Collective Action on Climate

Living our climate values in small ways in our daily lives shows ourselves and others that we care, so it is a great starting point. But we should not stop there. Real change comes when citizens come together to demand changes that work. Making real change takes all kind of citizens. When you realise what you are good at and what you like to do Acting for Climate is not so hard. Whatever you have to offer, a better future needs it.

The following activity  can be an opportunity to ask yourself “what kind of changer am I?” Our climate emergency needs all kinds of talents of people: investigators, advocates, communicators, activists, networkers, teachers, etc.

GROUP ACTIVITY


In your groups discuss about the following and fill in the table below.

  • What could the various actors of the school community do to address the issue of climate change? Identify examples of actions e.g. start a bike-to-school campaign, or adopt meat-free day, etc.
  • How could you motivate the actors to undertake these actions? Talk to them to find out what is preventing them from undertaking the needed action, and consider how you can motivate to do more pro-active for climate.
Who
(actor)
What (could
this actor do?)
How  (can I motivate
him/her to take action?)
Students
Teachers
School principal
Technicians
Canteen staff
Parents
Neighbours
Municipality

 

Water shares

Join forces

Solving climate change starts with the belief that we can and continues with undertaking committed climate action. One step further, we could join forces with others: in the fight against climate change we are all needed!

Do you want to get inspired from what others are doing to address climate change? Here are some initiatives from all around the world you could consider joining:

  • In case you doubt if we can solve climate change, the climate optimist presents inspiring arguments, plus ideas for action!
  • Practical Action uses ingenious ideas to help people in poverty adapt to the new climate reality.
  • Design for Change collects inspiring “I Can” stories of change driven by children, all around the world!
  • The Story of Stuff Project presents videos and rich material looking at the underside of our production and consumption patterns, and ways out!
  • The Project Green Challenge, a call to action featuring 30 days of environmentally–themed challenges.
  • Climate heroes is a multimedia project which gathers worldwide stories of men and women, citizens, scientists, media, politicians and entrepreneurs who have started acting for the climate.
  • The youth-led USA based sunrise movement.

Water meter

I liked this activity . . .

Way forward

Surfing around the Internet

There are many online video clips that explain greenhouse effect such as this clip  by Deutse Welle (2012) .

Dive in…

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice and Greywater recycling in practice to learn how rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling respectively can support us to deal with the climate change challenges.

Go back to the homepage!

Water works through time

Water in the city

The water basins

Desalination

Greywater recycling in practice

Do you know about grey water?

Wastewater treatment

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

Rainwater harvesting

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Acting for Climate

Climate change: Why should I care?

Water resources

The water cycle

Where do I begin?

Water works through time

Let's discover the story behind the old fountains, cisterns and aqueducts of our town!

Continue!

Water in the city

What is the "urban water cycle"? Which are the important aspects of water management within a city environment?

Continue!

The water basins

In this activity we learn what a water drainage basin is and why it is important for the experts to study it.

Continue!

Desalination

Let's find out how sea and brackish water can become a freshwater resource!

Continue!

Greywater recycling in practice

How a greywater system is installed? Let's find out!

Continue!

Do you know about grey water?

Let's find out what "greywater” is and how we can use it!

Continue!

Wastewater treatment

In this activity we learn about how wastewater is treated and what we can do with the treated water.

Continue!

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

What are the various types of rainwater harvesting systems? Let's find out more about them!

Continue!

Rainwater harvesting

Can we collect rainwater? And how do we use it? Let's find out!

Continue!

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

What is our water footprint and how can we reduce it?

Continue!

Acting for Climate

What are the main sectors contributing to climate change? What are countries doing to address it? What can we do for climate collectively at school and at community level?

Continue!

Climate change: Why should I care?

We discuss the greenhouse effect and the greenhouse gases, how climate change is linked to our lifestyles and ways we can cope with it on a personal level.

Continue!

Water resources

Lt's discover the water resources of our region.

Continue!

The water cycle

Let's travel within the water cycle!

Continue!

Where do I begin?

Let's see why it is important to know about water in our region.

Continue!