Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science

Guiding Principle: Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts.

  1. Climate information can be used to reduce vulnerabilities or enhance the resilience of communities and ecosystems affected by climate change. Continuing to improve scientific understanding of the climate system and the quality of reports to policy and decision-makers is crucial.
  1. Human activities are impacting the climate system.
    1. The overwhelming consensus of scientific studies on climate indicates that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the latter part of the 20th century is very likely due to human activities, primarily from increases in greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.
    2. Emissions from the widespread burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Because these gases can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years before being removed by natural processes, their warming influence is projected to persist into the next century.
    3. Human activities have affected the land, oceans, and atmosphere, and these changes have altered global climate patterns. Burning fossil fuels, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of forest cover, and rapid expansion of farming, development, and industrial activities are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and changing the balance of the climate system.

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A Framework for K-12 Science Education

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