Climate Change Essay for Students and Children

500+ words climate change essay.

Climate change refers to the change in the environmental conditions of the earth. This happens due to many internal and external factors. The climatic change has become a global concern over the last few decades. Besides, these climatic changes affect life on the earth in various ways. These climatic changes are having various impacts on the ecosystem and ecology. Due to these changes, a number of species of plants and animals have gone extinct.

climate change essay for class 5

When Did it Start?

The climate started changing a long time ago due to human activities but we came to know about it in the last century. During the last century, we started noticing the climatic change and its effect on human life. We started researching on climate change and came to know that the earth temperature is rising due to a phenomenon called the greenhouse effect. The warming up of earth surface causes many ozone depletion, affect our agriculture , water supply, transportation, and several other problems.

Reason Of Climate Change

Although there are hundreds of reason for the climatic change we are only going to discuss the natural and manmade (human) reasons.

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Natural Reasons

These include volcanic eruption , solar radiation, tectonic plate movement, orbital variations. Due to these activities, the geographical condition of an area become quite harmful for life to survive. Also, these activities raise the temperature of the earth to a great extent causing an imbalance in nature.

Human Reasons

Man due to his need and greed has done many activities that not only harm the environment but himself too. Many plant and animal species go extinct due to human activity. Human activities that harm the climate include deforestation, using fossil fuel , industrial waste , a different type of pollution and many more. All these things damage the climate and ecosystem very badly. And many species of animals and birds got extinct or on a verge of extinction due to hunting.

Effects Of Climatic Change

These climatic changes have a negative impact on the environment. The ocean level is rising, glaciers are melting, CO2 in the air is increasing, forest and wildlife are declining, and water life is also getting disturbed due to climatic changes. Apart from that, it is calculated that if this change keeps on going then many species of plants and animals will get extinct. And there will be a heavy loss to the environment.

What will be Future?

If we do not do anything and things continue to go on like right now then a day in future will come when humans will become extinct from the surface of the earth. But instead of neglecting these problems we start acting on then we can save the earth and our future.

climate change essay for class 5

Although humans mistake has caused great damage to the climate and ecosystem. But, it is not late to start again and try to undo what we have done until now to damage the environment. And if every human start contributing to the environment then we can be sure of our existence in the future.

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Climate Change Essay

500+ words essay on climate change.

Climate change is a major global challenge today, and the world is becoming more vulnerable to this change. Climate change refers to the changes in Earth’s climate condition. It describes the changes in the atmosphere which have taken place over a period ranging from decades to millions of years. A recent report from the United Nations predicted that the average global temperature could increase by 6˚ Celsius at the end of the century. Climate change has an adverse effect on the environment and ecosystem. With the help of this essay, students will get to know the causes and effects of climate change and possible solutions. Also, they will be able to write essays on similar topics and can boost their writing skills.

What Causes Climate Change?

The Earth’s climate has always changed and evolved. Some of these changes have been due to natural causes such as volcanic eruptions, floods, forest fires etc., but quite a few of them are due to human activities. Human activities such as deforestation, burning fossil fuels, farming livestock etc., generate an enormous amount of greenhouse gases. This results in the greenhouse effect and global warming which are the major causes of climate change.

Effects of Climate Change

If the current situation of climate change continues in a similar manner, then it will impact all forms of life on the earth. The earth’s temperature will rise, the monsoon patterns will change, sea levels will rise, and storms, volcanic eruptions and natural disasters will occur frequently. The biological and ecological balance of the earth will get disturbed. The environment will get polluted and humans will not be able to get fresh air to breathe and fresh water to drink. Life on earth will come to an end.

Steps to be Taken to Reduce Climate Change

The Government of India has taken many measures to improve the dire situation of Climate Change. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency for climate change issues in India. It has initiated several climate-friendly measures, particularly in the area of renewable energy. India took several steps and policy initiatives to create awareness about climate change and help capacity building for adaptation measures. It has initiated a “Green India” programme under which various trees are planted to make the forest land more green and fertile.

We need to follow the path of sustainable development to effectively address the concerns of climate change. We need to minimise the use of fossil fuels, which is the major cause of global warming. We must adopt alternative sources of energy, such as hydropower, solar and wind energy to make a progressive transition to clean energy. Mahatma Gandhi said that “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not any man’s greed”. With this view, we must remodel our outlook and achieve the goal of sustainable development. By adopting clean technologies, equitable distribution of resources and addressing the issues of equity and justice, we can make our developmental process more harmonious with nature.

We hope students liked this essay on Climate Change and gathered useful information on this topic so that they can write essays in their own words. To get more study material related to the CBSE, ICSE, State Board and Competitive exams, keep visiting the BYJU’S website.

Frequently Asked Questions on climate change Essay

What are the reasons for climate change.

1. Deforestation 2. Excessive usage of fossil fuels 3. Water, Soil pollution 4. Plastic and other non-biodegradable waste 5. Wildlife and nature extinction

How can we save this climate change situation?

1. Avoid over usage of natural resources 2. Do not use or buy items made from animals 3. Avoid plastic usage and pollution

Are there any natural causes for climate change?

Yes, some of the natural causes for climate change are: 1. Solar variations 2. Volcanic eruption and tsunamis 3. Earth’s orbital changes

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Essay on Climate Change

Climate Change Essay - The globe is growing increasingly sensitive to climate change. It is currently a serious worldwide concern. The term "Climate Change" describes changes to the earth's climate. It explains the atmospheric changes that have occurred across time, spanning from decades to millions of years. Here are some sample essays on climate change.

100 Words Essay on Climate Change

200 words essay on climate change, 500 words essay on climate change.

Essay on Climate Change

The climatic conditions on Earth are changing due to climate change. Several internal and external variables, such as solar radiation, variations in the Earth's orbit, volcanic eruptions, plate tectonics, etc., are to blame for this.

There are strategies for climate change reduction. If not implemented, the weather might get worse, there might be water scarcity, there could be lower agricultural output, and it might affect people's ability to make a living. In order to breathe clean air and drink pure water, you must concentrate on limiting human activity. These are the simple measures that may be taken to safeguard the environment and its resources.

The climate of the Earth has changed significantly over time. While some of these changes were brought on by natural events like volcanic eruptions, floods, forest fires, etc., many of the changes were brought on by human activity. The burning of fossil fuels, domesticating livestock, and other human activities produce a significant quantity of greenhouse gases. This results in an increase of greenhouse effect and global warming which are the major causes for climate change.

Reasons of Climate Change

Some of the reasons of climate change are:


Excessive use of fossil fuels

Water and soil pollution

Plastic and other non biodegradable waste

Wildlife and nature extinction

Consequences of Climate Change

All kinds of life on earth will be affected by climate change if it continues to change at the same pace. The earth's temperature will increase, the monsoon patterns will shift, the sea level will rise, and there will be more frequent storms, volcano eruptions, and other natural calamities. The earth's biological and ecological equilibrium will be disturbed. Humans won't be able to access clean water or air to breathe when the environment becomes contaminated. The end of life on this earth is imminent. To reduce the issue of climate change, we need to bring social awareness along with strict measures to protect and preserve the natural environment.

A shift in the world's climatic pattern is referred to as climate change. Over the centuries, the climate pattern of our planet has undergone modifications. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has significantly grown.

When Did Climate Change Begin

It is possible to see signs of climate change as early as the beginning of the industrial revolution. The pace at which the manufacturers produced things on a large scale required a significant amount of raw materials. Since the raw materials being transformed into finished products now have such huge potential for profit, these business models have spread quickly over the world. Hazardous substances and chemicals build up in the environment as a result of company emissions and waste disposal.

Although climate change is a natural occurrence, it is evident that human activity is turning into the primary cause of the current climate change situation. The major cause is the growing population. Natural resources are utilised more and more as a result of the population's fast growth placing a heavy burden on the available resources. Over time, as more and more products and services are created, pollution will eventually increase.

Causes of Climate Change

There are a number of factors that have contributed towards weather change in the past and continue to do so. Let us look at a few:

Solar Radiation |The climate of earth is determined by how quickly the sun's energy is absorbed and distributed throughout space. This energy is transmitted throughout the world by the winds, ocean currents etc which affects the climatic conditions of the world. Changes in solar intensity have an effect on the world's climate.

Deforestation | The atmosphere's carbon dioxide is stored by trees. As a result of their destruction, carbon dioxide builds up more quickly since there are no trees to absorb it. Additionally, trees release the carbon they stored when we burn them.

Agriculture | Many kinds of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere by growing crops and raising livestock. Animals, for instance, create methane, a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The nitrous oxide used in fertilisers is roughly 300 times more strong than carbon dioxide.

How to Prevent Climate Change

We need to look out for drastic steps to stop climate change since it is affecting the resources and life on our planet. We can stop climate change if the right solutions are put in place. Here are some strategies for reducing climate change:

Raising public awareness of climate change

Prohibiting tree-cutting and deforestation.

Ensure the surroundings are clean.

Refrain from using chemical fertilisers.

Water and other natural resource waste should be reduced.

Protect the animals and plants.

Purchase energy-efficient goods and equipment.

Increase the number of trees in the neighbourhood and its surroundings.

Follow the law and safeguard the environment's resources.

Reduce the amount of energy you use.

During the last few decades especially, climate change has grown to be of concern. Global concern has been raised over changes in the Earth's climatic pattern. The causes of climate change are numerous, as well as the effects of it and it is our responsibility as inhabitants of this planet to look after its well being and leave it in a better condition for future generations.

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What are climate and climate change (grades 5-8), nasa stem team, what is the difference between weather and climate, is earth’s climate changing, what is causing earth’s climate to change, what is the forecast for earth’s climate, what is the impact of earth’s warming climate, what is the difference between “climate change” and “global warming”, how does nasa study climate change, what is being done about climate change, what can you do to help, more about climate change.

This article is for students grades 5-8.

The climate of a region or city is its typical or average weather. For example, the climate of Hawaii is sunny and warm. But the climate of Antarctica is freezing cold. Earth’s climate is the average of all the world’s regional climates.

Climate change, therefore, is a change in the typical or average weather of a region or city. This could be a change in a region’s average annual rainfall, for example. Or it could be a change in a city’s average temperature for a given month or season.

Climate change is also a change in Earth’s overall climate. This could be a change in Earth’s average temperature, for example. Or it could be a change in Earth’s typical precipitation patterns.

A photo of a desert landscape

Weather is the short-term changes we see in temperature, clouds, precipitation, humidity and wind in a region or a city. Weather can vary greatly from one day to the next, or even within the same day. In the morning the weather may be cloudy and cool. But by afternoon it may be sunny and warm.

The climate of a region or city is its weather averaged over many years. This is usually different for different seasons. For example, a region or city may tend to be warm and humid during summer. But it may tend to be cold and snowy during winter.

The climate of a city, region or the entire planet changes very slowly. These changes take place on the scale of tens, hundreds and thousands of years.

Earth’s climate is always changing. In the past, Earth’s climate has gone through warmer and cooler periods, each lasting thousands of years.

Observations show that Earth’s climate has been warming. Its average temperature has risen a little more than one degree Fahrenheit during the past 100 years or so. This amount may not seem like much. But small changes in Earth’s average temperature can lead to big impacts.

Some causes of climate change are natural. These include changes in Earth’s orbit and in the amount of energy coming from the sun. Ocean changes and volcanic eruptions are also natural causes of climate change.

Most scientists think that recent warming can’t be explained by nature alone. Most scientists say it’s very likely that most of the warming since the mid-1900s is due to the burning of coal, oil and gas. Burning these fuels is how we produce most of the energy that we use every day. This burning adds heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the air. These gases are called greenhouse gases.

Photo of a factory smokestack in New Jersey emitting pollutants into the atmosphere.

Scientists use climate models to predict how Earth’s climate will change. Climate models are computer programs with mathematical equations. They are programmed to simulate past climate as accurately as possible. This gives scientists some confidence in a climate model’s ability to predict the future.

Climate models predict that Earth’s average temperature will keep rising over the next 100 years or so. There may be a year or years where Earth’s average temperature is steady or even falls. But the overall trend is expected to be up.

Earth’s average temperature is expected to rise even if the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere decreases. But the rise would be less than if greenhouse gas amounts remain the same or increase.

Some impacts already are occurring. For example, sea levels are rising, and snow and ice cover is decreasing. Rainfall patterns and growing seasons are changing.

Further sea-level rise and melting of snow and ice are likely as Earth warms. The warming climate likely will cause more floods, droughts and heat waves. The heat waves may get hotter, and hurricanes may get stronger.

Two views of a glacier as seen from space

“Global warming” refers to the long-term increase in Earth’s average temperature.

“Climate change” refers to any long-term change in Earth’s climate, or in the climate of a region or city. This includes warming, cooling and changes besides temperature.

Some NASA satellites and instruments observe Earth’s land, air, water and ice. Others monitor the sun and the amount of energy coming from it. Together, these observations are important for knowing the past and present state of Earth’s climate. They are important for understanding how Earth’s climate works. And they are important for predicting future climate change.

The United States and other countries are taking steps to limit or reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These steps include using energy more efficiently and using more clean energy. Clean energy is energy that puts less or no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The sun, wind and water are sources of clean energy.

Many nations, states and communities are planning for climate change impacts that may be unavoidable. For example, some coastal areas are planning for flooding and land loss that may result from rising sea levels.

Artist's concept of satellites scanning Earth from orbit

Another way to help is by learning about Earth and its climate. The more you know about how Earth’s climate works, the more you’ll be able to help solve problems related to climate change.

You can help by using less energy and water. For example, turn off lights and TVs when you leave a room. And turn off the water when brushing your teeth. You can help by planting trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Climate Kids

Read What Is Climate Change? (Grades K-4)

Earth's Changing Climate

Climate change is a long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns. Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid 20th century to present.

Earth Science, Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography

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Climate is the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area. Weather can change from hour to hour, day to day, month to month or even from year to year. Climate refers to what the weather is generally like over 30 years or more. A desert might experience a rainy week, but over the long term, it receives very little rainfall . It has a dry climate .

Living things adjust to climates. Polar bears ( Ursus maritimus ) have adjusted to stay warm in polar climates . Over time, cacti have evolved to hold onto water in dry climates. The number of different kinds of life on Earth is partially due to the number of different climates.

Climates do change. They just change very slowly, over hundreds or even thousands of years. As climates change, organisms that live in the area must adjust, relocate , or risk dying out.

Earth's climate has changed many times. For example, fossils from the Cretaceous period (144 million to 65 million years ago) show that Earth was much warmer than it is today. Breadfruit ( Artocarpus altilis —also called "jackfruit"—trees are now found on tropical islands . However, millions of years ago they even grew on Greenland.

Earth has also experienced several major ice ages . There have been at least four in the past 500,000 years. During these periods, Earth's temperature decreased , causing ice sheets and glaciers to expand. The most recent ice age began about two million years ago and only started ending about 18,000 years ago.

Warmer temperatures have caused the glaciers to shrink. The glaciers have not disappeared completely, however—they still exist in Antarctica and Greenland. Scientists think we live in an " interglacial period ," or a time between glaciers. They have gone away somewhat for now, but hundreds of years from now, the glaciers may grow again.

Scientists who study climate look for proof of past climate change in many different places. Like clumsy criminals, glaciers leave many clues behind. They scratch and rub rocks as they move. They leave little bits of material behind known as "glacial till ." This sometimes forms mounds or ridges. Glaciers also form long, oval-shaped hills. If you see a piece of land with any of these signs, it suggests that a glacier was once there.

Some types of rocks only form from materials left behind from glaciers. When scientists find these rocks, it tells them that glaciers were once there.

Scientists also have proof of glaciers from fossils . Fossils show what kinds of animals and plants lived in certain areas. Looking for fossils of animals that lived in the cold can show scientists how far across the planet the glaciers reached.

Climate changes happen over shorter periods, as well. For example, there was a " Little Ice Age " that lasted only a few hundred years. It peaked during the 1500s and 1600s. During this time, average temperatures around the world were two to three degrees Fahrenheit cooler (about one to 1.5 degrees Celsius) than they are today. A change of one or two degrees might not seem like much, but it was enough to cause major changes. Glaciers grew larger and sometimes engulfed whole mountain villages. Winters were longer than usual, limiting the growing seasons of crops . In northern Europe, people left their farms and villages to avoid starving.

One way scientists have learned about the Little Ice Age is by studying the rings of trees. The thickness of tree rings is related to how much the tree grew each year. During times when it was very dry or very cold, trees could not grow as much and rings would be closer together.

Some climate changes are almost predictable . El Niño , which means "The Child" in Spanish, is a good example of this. El Niño refers to the warming of the surface waters in the Pacific Ocean around the equator . In normal years, winds blow across the ocean from east to west. This drags warm water along in the same direction.

Every few years, normal winds change and ocean currents reverse. This is El Niño . Warm water deepens in the eastern Pacific, near South America. This, in turn, produces big climate changes . Rain decreases in Australia and southern Asia, and crazy storms may pound Pacific islands and the west coast of the Americas. Within a year or two, El Niño ends, and climate systems return to normal.

Natural Causes of Climate Change

Climate changes happen for many reasons. Some of these reasons have to do with Earth's atmosphere . The climate change brought by El Niño , which relies on winds and ocean currents , is an example of natural changes in the atmosphere .

Natural climate change can also be affected by forces outside Earth's atmosphere . Earth's relationship to the sun also affects climate . This includes how Earth is tilted and how it orbits around the sun. These change slowly over time and affect how much of the sun's light reaches different parts of the world at different times. The 100,000-year cycles of ice ages are most likely caused by changes in these things.

Large meteorites hitting Earth could also cause climate change . If a meteor hit Earth, it would send millions of tons of dirt and dust into the atmosphere . This would block some of the sun's rays, making it cold and dark. Many plants and animals would die. Many paleontologists believe that dinosaurs went extinct partially due to a meteor or comet hitting Earth. Dinosaurs could not survive in a cool, dark climate . Their bodies could not adjust to the cold, and the dark killed many plants that they ate. Without the plants , the plant -eating dinosaurs died. And without those plant -eating dinosaurs , the dinosaurs that ate them died too.

Plate tectonics also play a role in climate changes . Earth is made of many layers. The top part is the crust, and just beneath that is the mantle. Together, these make up the "plates" in plate tectonics . We now know there are 15 major plates that cover the planet's surface. They move about as fast as our fingernails grow.

Earth's continental plates have moved a great deal over time. More than 200 million years ago, the continents were merged together as one giant landmass called Pangaea . As the continents broke apart and moved, their positions on Earth changed. The movements of ocean currents also changed. Both of these changes affected climate .

Another cause of climate change is called the greenhouse effect . The greenhouse effect happens when gases like carbon dioxide trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere . Gases that do this are called greenhouse gases . They keep Earth warm. Without any greenhouse gases in the atmosphere , most life on Earth would freeze to death. However, adding too much of these gases to the atmosphere slowly makes the planet warmer.

Human Causes of Climate Change

Some human activities release greenhouse gases . For example, humans burn fossil fuels such as coal , oil and natural gas . People often use them for transportation and electricity . Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases , like carbon dioxide . Trees soak up carbon dioxide , so cutting down forests also adds to the greenhouse effect . Factories send greenhouse gases into the atmosphere too.

Many scientists are worried that these activities are causing dangerous changes in Earth's climate . Average temperatures around the world have risen since about 1880. The seven warmest years of the 1900s happened in the 1990s. This warming trend may be a sign that the greenhouse effect is increasing because of human activity. This is often referred to as " global warming ." It is estimated that humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 30 percent in the past 150 years.

Other greenhouse gases are increasing, as well. Methane is an example. Methane is a greenhouse gas produced by rotting plants and animals . As populations grow, they use more goods and throw away more. Large landfills , filled with rotting waste, release tons of methane into the atmosphere .

Some chemicals that are used in refrigeration, air conditioning, and aerosol sprays are also greenhouse gases. Many countries are working to get rid of them. Some have laws to prevent companies from manufacturing them.

Global Warming

As the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rises, so does the temperature of Earth. Scientists worry that the temperature will increase so much that ice caps will begin seriously melting within the next several decades . This would cause the sea level to rise. Coastal areas and small islands would be flooded. Severe climate change may bring more severe weather patterns . This could include more hurricanes , typhoons , and tornadoes . More rain and snow would fall in some places and far less in others. Places where crops now grow could become deserts .

As climates change, so do the homes for many living things. Animals may not be able to survive in their current homes. Many human societies depend on specific crops for food , clothing, and trade . If the climate of an area changes, the same crops may not grow. Some scientists worry that as the planet warms, tropical diseases will spread further.

The temperature will continue to rise unless steps are taken to stop it. Most scientists agree that we must reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. There are many ways to do this, including:

  • Drive less. Use public transportation , carpool , walk, or ride a bike.
  • Fly less. Airplanes produce huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions .
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • Plant a tree. Trees soak up carbon dioxide, keeping it out of the atmosphere.
  • Use less electricity.
  • Eat less meat. Cows are one of the biggest methane producers.
  • Support alternative power sources that don't burn fossil fuels. These include power that comes from the sun and from wind.

The climate has changed many times during Earth's history. However, those changes have happened slowly, over thousands of years. Only since the Industrial Revolution have human activities begun to influence climate. Scientists are still working to understand what the consequences might be.

Cool Warming Could the current phase of climate change cause another Little Ice Age? As strange as it sounds, some scientists believe it could. If melting glaciers release large amounts of freshwater into the oceans, this could disrupt the ocean conveyor belt, an important circulation system that moves seawater around the globe. Stopping this cycle could possibly cause cooling of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5-9 degrees Fahrenheit) in the ocean and atmosphere.

Early Squirrels The North American red squirrel has started breeding earlier in the year as a result of climate change. Food becomes available to the squirrels earlier because of warmer winters.

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Teaching Ideas

Resources for Teaching About Climate Change With The New York Times

Dozens of resources to help students understand why our planet is warming and what we can do to stop it.

climate change essay for class 5

By The Learning Network

How much do your students know about climate change — what causes it, what its consequences are and what we can do to stop it?

A 2022 report from the United Nations found that countries around the world are failing to live up to their commitments to fight climate change, pointing Earth toward a future marked by more intense flooding, wildfires, drought, heat waves and species extinction.

Young people in particular are feeling the effects — both physical and emotional — of a warming planet. In response to a writing prompt about extreme weather that has been intensified by climate change, teenagers told us about experiencing deadly heat waves in Washington, devastating hurricanes in North Carolina and even smoke from the California wildfires in Vermont. They’re also feeling the anxiety of facing a future that could be even worse: “How long do I have before the Earth becomes uninhabitable? I ask myself this every day,” one student wrote .

Over the years, we’ve created dozens of resources to help young people learn about climate change with New York Times articles, interactive quizzes, graphs, films and more. To mark this moment, we’re collecting 60 of them, along with selected recent Times reporting and Opinion pieces on the topic, all in one place.

To get you started, we’ve highlighted several of those resources and offered ideas for how you can use them in your classroom. Whether it’s a short video about a teenage climate activist, a math problem about electric vehicles, or a writing prompt about their diet’s carbon footprint, we hope these activities can get your students thinking and talking about climate change and inspire them to make a difference.

How are you teaching about the climate crisis, its consequences and its solutions? Let us know in the comments.

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Introductory essay

Written by the educators who created Climate Change, a brief look at the key facts, tough questions and big ideas in their field. Begin this TED Study with a fascinating read that gives context and clarity to the material.

The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now. James Hansen, June 24, 1988

The drought that crippled much of the U.S. and Canada in 1988-89 was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history prior to Hurricane Katrina. It spawned dust storms in the Midwest and forest fires in Yellowstone National Park. That summer, thousands died during an intense heat wave.

It was against this backdrop, on a 101-degree day in the nation's capital, that NASA scientist James Hansen delivered his landmark testimony to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The next day, The New York Times ran a headline that read "Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Warns." Coverage of Hansen's testimony by the Times and other national and global media organizations transformed climate change from a relatively obscure scientific topic to one that people began to discuss over dinner, in the pub, at school and at work.

It remained newsworthy over the rest of that pivotal year. Days after Hansen's testimony, the World Meteorological Association (WMO) hosted a conference called "Our Changing Atmosphere," one of the earliest international climate change gatherings. 300 scientists and policy makers representing 46 countries attended. Participants called upon countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent or more by 2005, and by the end of the year the WMO and the United Nations Environment Program had established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously became one of the first world leaders to talk about climate change in a speech delivered that September to the Royal Society. "For generations, we have assumed that the efforts of mankind would leave the fundamental equilibrium of the world's systems and atmosphere stable," remarked Thatcher. "But it is possible that… we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself." In this speech and others she gave during the remainder of her tenure, Thatcher advocated for expanded climate research and for policies that would safeguard the environment and promote sustainable development.

As global public awareness of the issue grew in the 1980s and beyond, the science and its significance were vigorously debated. Is there credible evidence that climate change is real? If it's real, when and how will we feel its effects? If it's real, what should be done, and who should do it? (Thatcher herself reversed position many years later, calling climate change "the doomsters' favorite subject" predicated on science that is "extremely obscure" and leading to "worldwide, supra-national socialism.")

Climate change is still hotly contested and the debate is often shrill, with skeptics branded as "climate deniers" and activists derisively labeled "warmists." Tensions are palpable, as when nearly 800 NGO representatives walked out of the 2013 international climate negotiations in Poland.

How has climate change become so politicized? It requires us to tackle thorny ethical and economic dilemmas, like how the least developed nations will cope with the effects of climate change and who should help them. It highlights serious structural issues like how to reckon with entrenched carbon-based industry interests and the connected yet complex resistances to decarbonization efforts. It calls for global governmental collaboration on an unprecedented scale. Atmospheric chemist Rachel Pike comments, "It goes, of course, to the top of our sky, but it goes to the bottom of the ocean, to every corner of the globe. It's every nation, every people. It's political, it's economic, it requires debate; it's scientific, it's engineering. It's the biggest problem you could ever imagine." It's no surprise, then, that climate change prompts a range of individual psychological and collective societal responses—avoidance, fatalism, denial, paralysis and wishful thinking, to name a few.

It's also not surprising that the scientific evidence is contested, given that the indicators of climate change -- like changing precipitation patterns over decadal time scales -- may be difficult for ordinary citizens to detect, and given what's at stake once we acknowledge that those indicators are correct. Initially -- and even today, despite the fact that we've reached the gold standard for scientific certainty -- some have questioned the quantity and quality of the evidence, feeding the public's perception that the science is half-baked. In reality, by the time Hansen delivered his congressional testimony in 1988, he'd been researching the relationship between atmospheric components and temperature since the 1960s, building upon a line of scientific inquiry stretching back at least a century.

A crash course on climate science

During the previous century, French physicist Joseph Fourier (1821) and Irish physicist John Tyndall (1861) described the Earth's natural "greenhouse effect" whereby water vapor and other gases in the atmosphere regulate the planet's surface temperatures. By the end of the 1800s, Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius had made the prediction that industrialized coal-burning would intensify the natural greenhouse effect. Remarkably, when Arrhenius calculated the quantitative effects on temperature his results were relatively close to what's predicted by modern climate change models.

In the 1930s, British engineer and citizen scientist Guy Callendar demonstrated that global temperatures were rising, using data from more than 140 weather stations around the world. Callendar argued that rising CO2 levels were to blame, but his hypothesis failed to gain widespread acceptance in the scientific community. Two decades later, American researcher Gilbert Plass analyzed the infrared absorption of various gases and created the early computational models suggesting that a 3- to 4-degree rise in temperature would result from doubling the concentration of atmospheric CO2. For the scientists aware of Plass's work, Dave Keeling's findings a few years later were undoubtedly unsettling: the American geochemist provided the first unequivocal proof that atmospheric CO2 levels were increasing, based on analysis of atmospheric samples he collected at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

Many scientists assumed that the world's oceans would absorb the extra atmospheric CO2 that human industry was producing, until American oceanographer Roger Revelle and chemist Hans Suess demonstrated otherwise. The authors of a 1957 National Academy of Sciences climatology report quoted Revelle: "In consuming our fossil fuels at a prodigious rate, our civilization is conducting a grandiose scientific experiment."

Revelle's subsequent testimony before a Congressional committee helped put climate change on the radar of elected officials. In 1965, a presidential advisory panel warned that the greenhouse effect was a "real concern," and the U.S. government's engagement deepened when Nixon established the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1970. Political and scientific interest in climate change grew during the ‘70s, culminating in the First World Climate Conference sponsored by the WMO in 1979. The Second World Climate Conference a decade later paved the way for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, where the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was launched and the groundwork laid for subsequent international climate change negotiations.

The challenge of communicating climate change

The task of translating climate research for policymakers and the general public has been hampered by multiple definitions of climate change within and outside of the scientific community. As Roger Pielke Jr. argued in his 2005 article " Misdefining climate change: Consequences for science and action ," definitions used by the UNFCCC, IPCC and others profoundly influence public opinion and the range of probable policy choices. Additionally, the conflation of "climate change," "global warming" and "the greenhouse effect" in news coverage has fueled public confusion about how to diagnose and treat the problem. For our purposes here, "climate change" is any change in climate over time due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This is consistent with the IPCC's use of the term.

Rachel Pike's comment that it's the "biggest problem you could ever imagine" reminds us that climate change is a dense and multifaceted issue. There are facets of climate science and policy where convergent agreement dominates, while in other areas, contentious disagreement has generated worthwhile debate and discussion. The media's conflation of these diverse dimensions into one sweeping issue has contributed to confusion and created a breeding ground for manipulation from outlier viewpoints to inadvertently or deliberately skew public opinion.

It's important that we critically assess who ‘speaks for climate change' and understand their agendas. To the extent that their claims are flatly reported, or that in the name of fairness and balance speakers are frequently placed on equal footing irrespective of their expertise, individuals and organizations have become empowered to speak with authority through mass media. This skews how citizens and policy makers understand climate change issues, the stakes involved and the spectrum of possible actions to take. Cognizant of this, in 2013 the L.A. Times announced it would no longer print letters from climate change detractors. L.A. Times letters editor Paul Thornton wrote, "Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy."

About this TED Studies collection

While poorly communicated information can hamper the ability to make important decisions related to climate change causes and consequences, accurate and engaging information accessed through these TED Talks gives you power: power to understand, power to share your understanding with others, and power to take action.

Here we'll consider the environment as our planet's renewable and non-renewable natural resources, and a support system for the quantity, quality and sustainability of human activities. We'll see science as a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge, sorting through the unceasing flow of human experience. We'll explore policy as guides for decision making about human management of environment, articulating the principles, intentions, and mandates about who gets what, when and how. And we'll contemplate values as systems of conduct and broad preferences (individual to societal) concerning the morality of outcomes.

We begin with three modules that center our considerations on the climate science. First, through science journalist Lee Hotz's TED Talk, we explore the evidence that the climate is changing. Next, photographer James Balog contributes additional compelling, visible, measurable documentation of certain climate change effects. Balog's talk also highlights critical elements of the certainty/uncertainty debate that has dogged the issue. Third, through the TED Talk by climate scientist James Hansen, we explore the convergent agreement in the scientific community that humans contribute to contemporary climate change.

We continue with three modules exploring the politics of taking action through mitigation, adaptation and cross-cutting market-based, risk-reduction regulatory measures. We start with a TED Talk from former United States Vice President Al Gore, who calls for various ways to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (mitigation). Next, we turn to the TED Talk by environmental lawyer Vicki Arroyo, who suggests ways in which human communities can reduce their vulnerability to climate change and increase resilience (adaptation). Then we consider cross-cutting, often market-based risk reduction efforts by way of a TED Talk from journalist Naomi Klein. Her talk opens a space where we can critically evaluate climate risk reduction endeavors such as the market-based cap and trade proposals that are considered an essential tool by some, and merely a shell game by others.

We finish with two modules that focus our attention on important values and ethics questions. First, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown challenges us to build a stronger global society by cutting carbon emissions in a way that is beneficial and equitable to all nations. Finally we turn to sustainabily strategist Johan Rockström's TED Talk about how nine ‘planetary boundaries' (which include climate change) can usefully guide ecosystem and environmental protection for future generations.

Let's begin with a look at the scientific evidence that's being unearthed at" the South Pole; science journalist Lee Hotz takes us there via his TED Talk "Inside an Antarctic time machine."

Inside an Antarctic time machine

Inside an Antarctic time machine

Relevant talks.

New thinking on the climate crisis

New thinking on the climate crisis

Global ethic vs. national interest

Gordon Brown

Global ethic vs. national interest.

Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss

James Balog

Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss.

Why I must speak out about climate change

James Hansen

Why i must speak out about climate change.

Let the environment guide our development

Johan Rockström

Let the environment guide our development.

Addicted to risk

Naomi Klein

Addicted to risk.

Let's prepare for our new climate

Vicki Arroyo

Let's prepare for our new climate.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

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Home / For Educators: Grades 6-12

For Educators: Grades 6-12

Climate change is a complex topic to teach. In addition to teaching the science behind climate change, it is critical to help students become effective climate change communicators.

We have developed materials for teachers who are interested in using our resources in their classrooms, such as the Yale Climate Opinion Maps and Yale Climate Connections. These materials were developed based on recommendations from educators across the United States. They aim to immerse students in climate change issues in an accessible, digestible, and interactive way. While these NGSS and Common Core-aligned activities were designed for middle and high schoolers, you can easily convert them to Word documents using free platforms like so that you can customize them for your students. We’d also love to hear about your experience using our materials with your students! Please fill out this brief survey .

climate change essay for class 5

  • Audio Story

Backgrounders for Educators

  • Climate Change Audiences
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  • Intermediate
  • Introductory

climate change essay for class 5

Climate Change Basics: Five Facts, Ten Words

To simplify the scientific complexity of climate change, we focus on communicating five key facts about climate change that everyone should know. 

climate change essay for class 5

Climate Change Communication Investigation

Advanced Interactive Maps

The Yale Climate Opinion Maps help us compare Americans’ beliefs around climate change across different parts of the country. For this project, students will get to be researchers collecting data in their own communities, just like the researchers at YPCCC.

climate change essay for class 5

Climate Change Jigsaw

Introductory Audio Story

This Jigsaw exercise offers two ways in which students can discuss our radio stories as a team to deepen thinking around climate change issues.

climate change essay for class 5

Climate Explained: Introductory Essays About Climate Change Topics

Climate Explained, a part of Yale Climate Connections, is an essay collection that addresses an array of climate change questions and topics, including why it’s cold outside if global warming is real, how we know that humans are responsible for global warming, and the relationship between climate change and national security.  

climate change essay for class 5

Connecting Data to Storytelling

Advanced Audio Story

There are many ways to tell stories. We can write, speak, or even use art to tell a story. Data can tell a story, too. In this activity, students will draw connections between a Yale Climate Connections radio story and data from the Yale Climate Opinion Maps.

climate change essay for class 5

Decoding the Data

Intermediate Climate Change Audiences

This activity is inspired by the New York Times What’s Going On in This Graph? feature and offers students the chance to practice their data interpretation skills.

climate change essay for class 5

External Resources

Looking for resources to help you and your students build a solid climate change science foundation? We’ve compiled a list of reputable, student-friendly links to help you do just that!  

climate change essay for class 5

Meet Global Warming’s Six Americas

Introductory Climate Change Audiences

Our research has identified “Global Warming’s Six Americas” as six unique audiences within the American public that each responds to the issue of climate change in a distinct way. Introduce Global Warming’s Six Americas to your students with this text.

climate change essay for class 5

Navigating the Yale Climate Opinion Maps

Intermediate Interactive Maps

The Yale Climate Opinion Maps tool is a way to explore how Americans’ climate change beliefs vary across the country. Navigating the Yale Climate Opinion Maps is a question guide that will help students use this interactive tool. 

climate change essay for class 5

Question Bank

Use this Question Bank as a guide to discuss any of our 90-second daily podcasts! These questions can help start a full class conversation, be used in small group discussion, or function as writing prompts.

climate change essay for class 5

Re-representing a Climate Change Story

Intermediate Audio Story

Stories can build understanding around a topic and can also help students explore connections between classroom content and their own lives. In this activity, students will get to be the storyteller and will choose how they would like to retell one of our radio stories.

climate change essay for class 5

Role Play: Six Americas, Six Views on Global Warming

Advanced Climate Change Audiences

An important part of stopping climate change is being able to communicate with people who may have different opinions about it. This is an exercise to help students practice engaging with people of varying perspectives.

climate change essay for class 5

What is a Survey?

This annotated list of links can be used to teach your students about surveying in general and scientific polling in particular. These resources can help answer questions about what polls are, why we use polling and surveying, and what reliable survey data shows us.   

climate change essay for class 5

Why should we care about climate change?

Having different perspectives about global warming is natural, but the most important thing that anyone should know about climate change is why it matters.  

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climate change essay for class 5

Introduction to Climate Change

Our climate is changing

Our climate is changing (filo, iStockphoto)

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Learn more about the causes and impacts of global climate change.

What is climate change?

Climate change  is a change in the usual weather patterns in a region over time. Temperatures on Earth have been rising dramatically for many years. This change is impacting local climates all around the world.

Changes in  weather  happen all the time. But weather and  climate  are not the same thing. Weather is the day to day change in temperature and precipitation in a place. You can describe the weather in your community by looking outside. If it’s cold and snowy right now, that’s today’s weather.

Climate , on the other hand, is the usual weather in a place over a long period of time. Weather can change quickly. It might be sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. Climate changes much more slowly. Until recently, Earth’s climate had been about the same for  9000 years .

Analogy of weather and climate using clothes and clothing in a closet

Shown is a colour illustration of a set of clothes for one day, labelled “Weather,” and a closet full of clothes, labelled “Climate.” On the top left of the image is the title “Weather” in black letters. Below, a subtitle reads “What you wear each day.” Below, several items of clothing and a yellow sun are against a green background. These include a baseball cap, sunglasses, t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops.  On the top right of the image is the title "Climate" in black letters. Below, a subtitle reads“What you wear over the year”. Below is a wardrobe with both doors open. Inside, clothes are hanging on the doors and piled on shelves. These include jackets, jeans, sweaters, a vest, t-shirts, scarves, toques and mittens. On the floor in front are winter boots, running shoes, brown shoes and an umbrella.

How do we know the world’s climate is changing?

The world’s average temperature has  changed throughout history . Sometimes the world’s temperature has been warmer and sometimes it has been colder. Factors like ocean currents and volcanic eruptions caused these shifts. They are part of a natural cycle of heating and cooling. This usually happens over tens of thousands of years.

Graph of global temperatures from 1880 to 20202

Shown is a black and white graph that shows the change in global surface temperature compared to the long-term average.  The y axis is labelled “Temperature Anomaly (C)". It runs from -0.5 to 1.5. The x axis is labelled “Year.” It runs from 1880 to 2020. A wavy, black horizontal line shows an overview of the temperature anomaly through the years. Small grey dots are shown above and below this, representing specific anomalies. Between 1880 and 1980, the line dips just above and below 0.0 degrees Celsius. From 1980 to 2020, the line slopes up, reaching 1 degree Celsius.

But now Earth’s climate is changing faster than it ever has during human history. Earth’s average temperature has increased by at least 1.1 °C since 1880. And most of that warming has happened since 1975. In fact, 2023 will probably be the warmest year ever recorded . 

This trend of rising global temperatures is called Global warming . Global warming is one of the ways that Earth’s climate is changing. Climate change also involves changing global weather patterns, ocean currents, and other systems.

We are already experiencing these changes. Scientists have observed  rising sea levels, melting ice and increasing extreme weather events . These changes affect each region differently. For example, snow and ice are melting so quickly that the Arctic could have no summer sea ice by 2030 . Coastal areas are experiencing more flooding . These are all evidence of climate change.

Shown is a colour illustration of an area of ice around Earth’s north pole, with a line showing a larger area between 1981 and 2010.

Shown is a colour illustration of an area of ice around Earth’s north pole, with a line showing a larger area between 1981 and 2010. Near the centre of the image is a dark blue sunburst representing the north pole. It is surrounded by an uneven blob of cloudy white. The edges of this area fade into the dark blue that represents water. The ice extends to northern Canada and Greenland, but does not touch Russia or Europe. Outside this area, a wavy yellow line in the water is labelled “median extent 1981-2010.” This extends much further, touching northern Russia, coming close to Alaska, and halfway down the coast of Greenland.

Why is the climate changing?

These changes to Earth’s climate are not natural shifts. Scientists are confident that human activities are the leading cause of climate change. Human activities release gases that change Earth’s atmosphere. These gases are making our atmosphere better at trapping the Sun's heat. We call this the  greenhouse effect . The greenhouse effect is the main cause of rising temperatures on Earth.

So what is the greenhouse effect? Plants can grow better in a greenhouse because it stays warmer than the outside air. This is because heat from the Sun enters through clear glass or plastic, then gets trapped inside. This heat keeps the greenhouse warm.

Image showing how a greenhouse traps heat

Shown is a colour illustration of sunbeams shining into a glass greenhouse, where they are trapped.  The beams are long yellow arrows that stretch diagonally down from the Sun at the top left of the image. They go through the roof and walls of the greenhouse. There, they bounce up from the plants on the ground, and stop when they hit the roof above.  Outside the greenhouse, the ground is covered in snow. To the left, a snowman has a worried expression.

Earth’s atmosphere also acts like a greenhouse. Sunlight reaches our planet and warms it. Some of this heat is reflected back into space. Some of it is trapped by gases in Earth’s atmosphere. These  greenhouse gases  include  carbon dioxide  (CO 2 ), water vapour, methane, and nitrous oxide.

A simplified animation of the greenhouse effect (Source: ESA ).

Shown is a colour animation illustrating how heat from sunlight is trapped in Earth’s atmosphere. The title “The Greenhouse Effect” is in bold letters at the top right. Earth is shown as a half circle at the bottom of the screen. There is a thick stripe of misty, pale blue above the surface. A blue line along the top of this area is labelled “Atmosphere.” The Sun is shown as a glowing white circle in the top left corner.  First, curved white lines radiate down from the sun, through space to the surface of Earth. Text appears reading “Sunlight reaches the Earth.” Next, smaller, fainter curved lines radiate from Earth, up into space. Text appears reading “Some energy is reflected back to space.” Then, text appears reading “Some is absorbed and re-radiated as heat.” Earth’s atmosphere begins to turn from blue to pink. Finally, bursts of bright orange arrows appear in the atmosphere. Text appears reading “Most of the heat is reflected by greenhouse gases and then radiated in all directions, warming the Earth.”

The greenhouse gases in our atmosphere help keep our planet warm enough for us to survive. Too little greenhouse gas would make Earth too cold for humans. But, too much greenhouse gas makes Earth too warm. Over the past century, humans have added a lot of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere.

Did you know? The average temperature on Earth would be  -18°C without the greenhouse effect . 

Carbon dioxide  is the most common greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. Carbon moves between the Earth, living things, and the atmosphere in the  carbon cycle . Like all animals, humans add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere when we breathe. We also  emit  a lot more carbon dioxide when we burn  fossil fuels . These are fuels we dig up like oil, gas and coal which are made of plant and animal remains from millions of years ago. We burn fossil fuels when we drive cars, heat our homes, and generate electricity. Humans have burned large amounts of fossil fuels over the last century.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is now nearly 50% more than in 1750. About 25% of that change has happened since 2000 . Carbon dioxide concentrations haven’t been so high for  over three million years .

Graph of carbon dioxide levels over time

Shown is a line graph overlaid on a colour photograph of Earth’s atmosphere.  The x axis is labelled “years before today (0 = 1950).” This runs from 800,000 on the left to 0 on the right. The y axis is labelled “carbon dioxide levels (parts per million).” This runs from 160 at the bottom to 480 at the top. A horizontal, dotted line crosses the whole graph at 300 ppm. This is labelled “For millennia, carbon dioxide had never been above this line.” Below, the jagged line representing carbon dioxide levels zig-zags up and down 800, 000 years before today to almost 0. Just before 0, the line shoots up past 300 ppm, becoming completely vertical. Just over 300 ppm, this is labelled “1950 level.” The top of this, about 420 ppm, is labelled “current level.” The photograph in the background shows streaks of colour indicating sun and clouds at Earth’s surface, and blue sky darkening into black space.

Methane  (CH 4 ) is the next most common greenhouse gas. Methane has about 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide. This makes methane an important gas to keep an eye on. The  main sources of methane in Canada  are from fossil fuels use,  farming , and waste.

What are the impacts of climate change?

Increasing the global temperature by a few degrees may not seem that bad. This is especially true if you live in a relatively cold country like Canada. But, think about how you feel when you have a fever.  Raising your body temperature by just a couple degrees  can make you feel terrible. Like our bodies, Earth is a series of intertwined systems. Rising global temperatures have complex and sometimes unexpected impacts that affect us all. These can already be felt in Canada and around the world .

The impacts of climate change are complex. And they are different for every region. In some places, higher temperatures have already led to megadroughts and heat waves . They are also causing extreme rain and snowstorms in some places. Climate change could continue causing melting sea ice , glaciers , warming oceans , and rising sea levels . These changes impact people , plants, and animals .

Dry lake bed

Shown is a colour photograph of dry, cracked mud with puddles of water. The camera is focused on a light brown, nearly flat surface in the foreground. Here, mud has dried forming deep, jagged cracks. On the right and left, wide, shallow puddles of brown water gleam in the sun.  In the background, the Sun peeks out over low, hazy, blue green mountains.

Additionally, climate change will continue to affect our planet for many years. Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. It can take some time for Earth's complex systems to respond to changes.

How can we tackle this problem?

Our response will determine how much our climate will change. There are two main ways to deal with climate change. These are adaptation and mitigation.  Adaptation  is about finding ways to cope with our changing climate. For example, cities could adapt to rising sea levels by building walls or using pumps to prevent flooding.

Flooded neighbourhood surrounded by sandbags

Shown is a colour photograph of a pile of sandbags on a street filled with water.  The camera is focused on a concrete barrier in the foreground. It is covered in a sheet of plastic and topped with small cinched white bags filled with a heavy material. In the background, a street is filled with water. A row of houses on the right is blocked off with yellow caution tape.

Mitigation  is about finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, we could burn less fossil fuel by using cars and other gas-powered vehicles less. We can also use solar or wind power, instead of fossil fuels, to generate electricity. These changes need work and cooperation from people around the world.

Solar panels in the foreground and wind turbines in the background

Shown is a colour photograph of three wind turbines and two rows of solar panels. The camera is focused on the blue, gridded panels in the foreground. The backs of another row of panels is visible to the left. Both rows stretch toward the horizon. The Sun is close to the horizon and its light is reflecting off the panels. The wind turbines are in the background, silhouetted against blue and gold sky.

Climate change is a difficult issue to solve because of its global scale and complexity. Luckily,  many people  are concerned about climate change.  Young people in particular  are encouraging governments and businesses to take action. Many organizations are trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Government plans ,  international agreements , and  emerging technologies  will all need to play a role. There is a lot of work and research that still needs to be done. But we humans are up for it!

What is the Greenhouse Effect? Learn more about the greenhouse effect with this hands-on activity from Let’s Talk Science. 

Timelapse - Warming Planet (2023) See how Earth has changed since 1987 with images of melting ice and glaciers, shrinking lakes, increasing fires, and extreme weather.

What is Climate Change? Learn more about climate change from NASA Kids. 

Why Does Climate Change Matter NASA Earth Minute: Usual Suspects (2023) This video (1:34 min.) from NASA explains how we are already feeling the effects of climate change, and how scientists are helping us understand and prepare for it.

Climate 101 with Bill Nye  (2012) Learn about the basics of climate change in this video (4:33 min.) with Bill Nye.

Climate Reality Project. (November 7, 2019).  Climate Adaptation vs.Mitigation: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?  

NASA. (n.d.).  Global Climate Change . 

NASA. (n.d.).  How do we know the climate is changing? 

NASA. (n.d.).  What is the greenhouse effect?

NOAA. (August 7, 2020).  Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get

Oss Foundation. (2014).  Milankovitch Cycles .

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Climate change

What is climate change? What could happen? Get all the facts you need to know.

A polar bear walks along a rocky shore, looking for food. The bear would usually be on the sea ice hunting for seals , pouncing when the seal comes up to breathe. But the ice has started to melt earlier and re-form later than it has in the past. Without the sea ice, the polar bear must scavenge for other, less nutritious food.

These changes in polar sea ice are a result of climate change. But this isn’t just affecting polar bears—climate change affects everyone.

What is climate change?

Weather changes day to day—sometimes it rains, other days it’s hot. Climate is the pattern of the weather conditions over a long period of time for a large area. And climate can be affected by Earth’s atmosphere.

Our Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere made up of gases. When sunlight enters our atmosphere, some of the sun’s heat is trapped by the gas, and some bounces back out into space. By trapping that heat, our atmosphere keeps Earth warm enough to live on. Without it, our planet would be very cold, like Mars .

Earth’s climate has always naturally cycled through change, caused by how much of the sun’s energy was absorbed by the atmosphere. In fact over the past 650,000 years, the Earth has gone through seven ice ages and warming periods.

What's different now?

But during the past few hundred years, oil, gas, and coal have powered homes, cars, and factories. These energy sources release a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This gas traps heat that would otherwise escape Earth’s atmosphere. That increases Earth’s temperature, which contributes to the planet’s warming.

That’s why many scientists agree that the Earth is now warming because of human activity. How do they know? Through careful study, they know that the climate is warming about 10 times faster than the average previous warming times. They’ve also ruled out the natural factors that caused warming in the past.

The Earth’s average temperature has increased about 1.5°F in the past hundred years. It doesn’t sound like much, but scientists think that the temperature increase has caused melting glaciers, drought, and coral reef die-off. (Coral can’t survive in water that’s too warm.) They expect the climate will warm another .5°F to 8.6°F by the year 2100.

What could happen?

Climate change affects more than temperature. Warmer water changes the patterns of ocean currents, affecting global weather patterns.

Some places will receive more rainfall, which could lead to flooding, while other places will get less, which might mean drought. Tropical storms could be stronger, and a continuing rise in sea level due to melting polar ice might push people out of their homes.

Hundreds of plant and animal species have already experienced changes because of climate change. The American pika , for example, is a small mammal that lives in cool mountainous areas in western North America—in fact, it can die when exposed to temperatures warmer than 78˚F. So as the mountain climate heats up, the pika climbs the slopes in search of cooler habitat. But what happens when temperatures at the top become too warm for the pika?

Other species will benefit from a warmer world—but in some cases that would be bad news for humans. Because disease-carrying mosquitoes thrive in warm, wet weather, more people could contract illnesses such as malaria as the Earth warms.

What can we do about it?

You can do a lot! It’s simple to make a difference to keep the Earth healthy. Try some of these tips to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you add to the atmosphere.

  • Instead of traveling in a car, use public transportation, walk, or ride your bike when you can. Biking or walking 10 miles each day instead of riding in a car can save up to 1.9 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere every year.
  • Reduce and reuse things as much as possible. Factories emit lots of carbon dioxide when making new products. (Buying products that are made with recycled glass and plastic also emits carbon dioxide, though less so.) Fix your appliances and clothes instead of buying new products. Good thing holey jeans are back in style!
  • Wash your clothes in cold water, and hang them to dry.
  • Electronics use energy even when they’re turned off, so unplug them when you’re not using them. It could save your family about $200 a year on its energy bill.
  • Eat less meat and dairy. Farm animals, er, emit another heat-trapping gas, methane. And some studies have found that livestock account for about half of the world’s heat-trapping gas emissions.
  • Buy locally grown and in-season foods and products to reduce emissions from transporting products.
  • Wear a warm sweater at home in the winter instead of turning up the heat, and open your windows instead of blasting the air conditioning in the summer.
  • Talk to your parents and the other adults that you know about climate change. Send a letter or drawing to your mayor, Senate or House representative, or even to the president. These leaders can vote to regulate and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Your everyday actions affect people, plants, and animals all over the world—including polar bears! So be cool by doing your best to keep Earth well … cool!

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Learn about plastic and how to reduce your use., save the earth, save the earth tips, endangered species act.

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Illustration of a question mark that links to the Climate Kids Big Questions menu.

A Guide to Climate Change for Kids

Have you heard your parents or people in videos talking about climate change? Ever wondered what it is and why we care about it so much? NASA scientists have been studying Earth’s climate for more than 40 years. We used what we’ve learned in that time to answer some of your biggest questions below!

Click here to download this guide as a printable PDF!

Illustration of snow falling outside a window.

What is the difference between weather and climate?

The main difference is time. Weather is only temporary. For example, a blizzard can turn into a flood after just a few warm spring days. Climate, on the other hand, is more than just a few warm or cool days. Climate describes the typical weather conditions in an entire region for a very long time – 30 years or more.

Click here to learn more about the difference between weather and climate!

Illustration of a tree in snowy weather in 1970 and then the same tree, now larger, in a green landscape in 2010.

What is climate change?

Climate change describes a change in the typical weather for a region — such as high and low temperatures and amount of rainfall — over a long period of time. Scientists have observed that, overall, Earth is warming. In fact, many of the warmest years on record have happened in the past 20 years. This rise in global temperature is sometimes called global warming.

Click here to learn more about climate change!

Illustration of Earth with a thermometer next to it.

How do we know Earth’s climate is getting warmer?

Scientists have been observing Earth for a long time. They use NASA satellites and other instruments to collect many types of information about Earth's land, atmosphere, ocean, and ice. This information tells us that Earth's climate is getting warmer.

Click here to learn more about how we know the climate is changing!

Illustration of the Sun sending heat toward Earth, with some of it staying in Earth's atmosphere.

Why is Earth warming?

Some of the gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap heat from the Sun—like the glass roof and walls of a greenhouse. These greenhouse gases keep Earth warm enough to live on. But human activities, such as the destruction of forests and burning fossil fuels, create extra greenhouse gases. This traps even more of the Sun’s heat, leading to a warmer Earth.

Click here to learn more about the greenhouse effect!

Illustration of smoke stacks and vehicles releasing smoke into the air.

What does carbon have to do with it?

Carbon is in all living things on Earth. As plants and animals die, they get buried in the ground. After enough years, these squished underground remains can turn into fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. When we burn those fuels, the carbon that was in the ground goes into the air as a gas called carbon dioxide, or CO2. Plants and trees can absorb some of this extra carbon dioxide. But a lot of it stays in the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas that warms up the planet.

Click here to learn more about carbon!

Illustration of a brown mammoth with a light blue circle behind it.

Has the climate ever changed before?

Yes, but this time is different. Over millions of years, Earth's climate has warmed up and cooled down many times. In the past, Earth often warmed up when the Sun was very active. But nowadays, we can carefully measure the Sun’s activity. We know Earth is warming now, even when the Sun is less active. Today, the planet is warming much faster than it has over human history.

Illustration of the ocean floor with coral, a sea turtle, various fish and a shark.

It doesn’t feel hotter where I live. Why does climate change matter?

The average air temperatures near Earth's surface have gone up about 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. A couple of degrees over a hundred years may not seem like much. However, this change can have big impacts on the health of Earth's plants and animals.

Click here to learn more about how we know the climate is changing!!

Illustration of a mountain, beach and ocean with a measurement stick in it to measure sea level.

What does climate change do to the ocean?

As Earth warms, NASA has observed that sea levels are rising. This is partly due to melting ice. Glaciers and ice sheets are large masses of ice that sit on the land. As our planet warms, this ice melts and flows into the oceans. More water in the oceans makes sea level higher. Also, water expands as it gets warmer. So, warm water takes up more room in our oceans – making sea levels higher.

The properties of ocean water are also changing. One change is called ocean acidification and it can be harmful for plants and animals. Scientists have observed that the ocean is becoming more acidic as its water absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Click here to learn more about how we measure sea level!

Illustration of a satellite orbiting Earth.

How are scientists studying climate change?

Scientists study Earth’s climate using lots of tools on the ground, in the air, and in space. For example, NASA satellites are orbiting Earth all the time. They measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They monitor melting ice and measure rising seas and many other things, too. This information helps scientists learn more about Earth’s changing climate.

Click here to learn more about why NASA studies Earth!

Illustration of a green sprout with 3 leaves growing from the dirt.

What can I do?

Climate change seems big, but it’s something that we can learn about and work on together! NASA’s scientists are studying and monitoring climate change—and there are a few ways you can help them learn more.

Learn. Have more questions about climate change? Read, play, and watch more about it on NASA Climate Kids .

Do. Want to collect real data for climate scientists? Check out these NASA citizen science projects to see how you can contribute to what we know about our planet. Some examples include:

  • Globe Observer
  • Community Snow Observations
  • Air Quality Citizen Science

Screenshot of the A Guide to Climate Change for Kids PDF, which contains all the information from this web page.


20 Guiding Questions For Climate Change

The classroom’s role in empowering the future climate workforce contributed by Bob Powell, founder and CEO, Brightmark The world is amid a climate crisis that demands urgent action. Around the globe, members of the United Nations are striving toward 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, and climate action….

Guiding Questions For Plastic And The Environment

The classroom’s role in empowering the future climate workforce

contributed by Bob Powell , founder and CEO, Brightmark

The world is amid a climate crisis that demands urgent action.

Around the globe, members of the United Nations are striving toward 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, and climate action. In a month’s time, world leaders will convene in Dubai for COP28 to discuss global progress toward climate resolutions. Domestically, businesses are feeling the pressure to respond as well. Up until this point, companies have not been made accountable for the commitments they have made. That all is changing. 

Organizations across sectors are expected to incorporate environmental factors into their short and long-term decision-making process, and as a climate emergency becomes more apparent with every natural disaster and global headline, the world needs a workforce equipped with the understanding and skills to guide the planet toward a better future.

The process of addressing this needs to start in the classroom. Yet, the challenge lies in the potential obsolescence of current educational resources, such as state standards and textbooks, which may become outdated almost as soon as they are published. It needs to be ensured that teachers have access to relevant and up-to-date climate-focused curriculum created and vetted by trusted experts and organizations.

See also What Are Mindfulness Skills?

But it’s not enough to solely focus on science to discuss climate change concepts. This sort of systems-level thinking should permeate subjects like math, history, social studies, and technology. Students must see every part of their education through the lens of climate change to fully understand its importance and develop the critical skills needed to drive meaningful environmental change.

A workforce in transition

The 2023 Global Green Skills Report from LinkedIn revealed that only one in eight workers worldwide have one or more green skills, and the growth in job postings requiring at least one of these skills saw a median increase of 15.2 percent from 2022 to 2023. According to analysis from Lightcast and WorkingNation , there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of green jobs, and occupations that contribute to preserve or restore the environment as defined by the International Labour Organization, since 2019.

These findings emphasize the growing importance of preparing our students for the jobs of the future, those that will require a deeply nuanced understanding of climate-related issues. 

Climate change is reshaping multiple sectors all at once, including the energy sector, with the emergence of government regulations focused on reducing fossil fuel dependency to support the transition to clean energy.

Other industries like agriculture and transportation are currently experiencing significant transformations as a direct result of climate change.

Climate change is altering growing seasons, impacting livestock health, and causing widespread soil degradation. Warmer temperatures are affecting the agricultural industry by speeding up the growth of certain crops and simultaneously limiting yields for crops like grains—potentially resulting in elevated food prices and significant economic losses in regions that rely on them. Because of this, the agricultural workforce of the future would benefit from more technical expertise like climate science and weather forecasting, soil sequestration, and more.

Within the transportation sector, climate change is causing damage to key infrastructure, generating increased energy consumption and emissions, and presenting critical safety risks. At the same time, the industry is undergoing several fundamental transformations, including a notable shift toward producing electric vehicles. Some optimistic projections expect 52 percent of new vehicle sales to be all-electric by 2030. The industry is constantly working to reinvent itself as it researches and implements solutions around biogas for methane avoidance, hydrogen fuel cells, and other carbon emission-reducing technologies.

Companies in these sectors and others are recognizing the need for a skilled workforce that is well-equipped in both subject matter knowledge and know-how to address the ever-changing needs of how climate impacts key sectors. To address this, corporations are now looking to schools that are adopting climate-friendly curriculum to create job pipelines for the climate and sustainability workforce of the future.

Placing an early emphasis on climate literacy

With the needs of the future workforce in mind, it is key to introduce students to climate change concepts in early learning and postsecondary education to build the workforce required to transform our economy. Emphasizing climate literacy early can enhance students’ understanding of problem-solving, global citizenship, and informed decision-making. 

Incorporating climate literacy concepts into the classroom can be made accessible, fun, and engaging by focusing on simple and familiar concepts. This is why understanding how plastics contribute to climate change is crucial for children–the students in your classroom who will inherit how we respond to these critical challenges.

Here are a series of age-appropriate climate-related topics for classroom discussions, along with corresponding questions to guide the conversation:

Science: 20 Guiding Questions About Plastic And Climate Change

Kindergarten: Sorting plastics

  • What do you know about sorting plastic?
  • What are the traits of plastic?
  • What are the different types of plastic?
  • How many different plastics can you find in the classroom?

First Grade: Comparing strengths of different plastics

  • What are the properties of plastic?
  • What are alternatives to plastic?
  • What makes one plastic stronger than another?
  • How can we limit our usage of the more harmful types of plastic?

Second Grade: Microplastics

  • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of plastics?
  • How does heat alter different types of plastics?
  • What impact do microplastics have on the environment?

Third Grade: Impact of plastics on humans and animals

  • What do you know about the impacts of plastic on humans and animals?
  • What makes a healthy ecosystem?
  • How does plastic pollution harm ecosystems? 
  • Can you think of an example of the negative effects of plastic in our city?

Fourth Grade: Recycling

  • How can we improve our school’s recycling processes?
  • What are the limitations of plastic recycling?

Fifth Grade: Innovations in recycling technology

  • How have recycling processes improved?
  • Do you have anything made out of recycled material? Why can recycle some plastics and not others?
  • What are the current limitations of recycling technology?

It’s essential that the activities these questions lead to are demonstrative of the effects of pollution and climate change, align with skills that will be necessary for the future workforce and are fun and engaging to foster excitement and interest in making a positive difference on the environment.

However, the reality is that many teachers are stretched extremely thin and focused on leveraging curriculum that closely aligns with state educational standards. Climate change concepts are highly complex and nuanced, and teachers may find it challenging to dedicate the time necessary to acquire in-depth knowledge of this intricate subject matter.

Organizations leading the way

Fortunately, organizations are dedicated to addressing this gap by providing accessible, free educational materials on climate change, which can support teachers in delivering environmental lessons even within the constraints of their busy schedules. Some examples include:

The Ocean First Institute offers in-person and virtual school programs that educate students about the importance of the ocean in our daily lives and aims to expand students’ knowledge of ocean science, marine biology, and conservation.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) , a nonprofit consortium of over 100 colleges and universities, provides lessons, curriculum units, and other materials for K-12 students focused on weather, climate, and Earth system science.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency that provides hundreds of learning activities, toolboxes for teaching climate and energy concepts, and curricula resources.

The Guy Harvey Foundation offers a blended learning model, including online and in-person content and provides professional development opportunities through teacher training workshops.

See also Types Of Blends Learning

These organizations, and many others, lighten the burden on teachers by offering diverse resources and programs that bring climate literacy to the forefront of education, a necessary adjustment to the educational pipeline to ensure that students are well-prepared for the climate-focused workforce of the future.

By enhancing our educational approach and ensuring that these essential resources are available to everyone, we can pave the way for a brighter and more sustainable future, where individuals are well-equipped to address climate-related issues and actively contribute to meaningful change.

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climate change essay for class 5

Causes and Effects of Climate Change

Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions. As greenhouse gas emissions blanket the Earth, they trap the sun’s heat. This leads to global warming and climate change. The world is now warming faster than at any point in recorded history. Warmer temperatures over time are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature. This poses many risks to human beings and all other forms of life on Earth. 

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4 Strategies for Teaching About Climate Change

Teachers can integrate local, solutions-based approaches to studying climate change in a variety of subject area lessons.

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Students, teachers, and parents across the U.S. are calling for improved climate education in schools : In an EdWeek survey , nearly two-thirds of U.S. high school students reported a desire to learn about “how climate change will affect the future of the Earth and society.” Climate change education is necessary for a full understanding of the world and should be central to a 21st-century civic education . 

Many educators across the United States are already integrating climate change into the classroom. Several state-level movements in favor of comprehensive climate education are also emerging. As this momentum develops, teachers need practical tools to help them implement climate change education in their classrooms. 

finding grade-specific Climate Change resources

Teachers can leverage online resource libraries to find resources customized to their grade level and subject area. SubjectToClimate’s database includes over 2,700 free educational resources that integrate climate change into all subjects and grade levels, all of which are vetted by climate scientists. The database includes SubjectToClimate lesson plans that are written by current teachers and include elements like social and emotional learning.

All of these lesson plans are aligned to nationally recognized educational standards; integrating climate change into standards that are already being taught can reduce the burden on teachers while also ensuring that the climate concepts presented are developmentally appropriate for students. The website also provides news articles for students, professional learning opportunities (including SubjectToClimate’s three-part Climate Essentials Courses ), and an interactive support center.

Teachers may also want to explore the Council on Foreign Relations’ free climate resources from CFR Education , which help connect climate topics to relevant issues in global affairs. These resources include videos, articles, infographics, and lesson plans that can expand students’ knowledge on climate change in the context of developments and dynamics unfolding around the world. CFR Education simulations help put students in the shoes of policy makers, presenting them with real-world climate scenarios from a global perspective and supporting them to identify and negotiate solutions. 

4 Ways to Teach About Climate Change

1. Focus on both problems and solutions. Climate anxiety is a growing issue among youth, and many teachers have concerns that teaching about climate change will exacerbate their students’ anxieties. To minimize this impact, climate education materials should highlight opportunities for action. These ideas about solutions will leave students feeling empowered rather than fatalistic. High school teachers could have their students participate in a mock trial modeled after a youth movement in Hawai‘i to sue the government over climate change . Another example is a lesson that helps explain how governments can respond to climate challenges , with details from the U.S. and around the world.

In addition, teachers can create opportunities to showcase climate learning beyond the classroom and empower civic learning. For example, a public service announcement created as part of a writing assignment could be shared with a local government official.

2. Connect climate change to your existing curriculum. Incorporate climate education into course curricula through topics you already teach. For example, in a lesson on conserving water, students write their own water-conservation law . The activities in the lesson fulfill social studies requirements while educating students about important climate topics. A lesson plan about the Industrial Revolution pushes students to consider their own consumption levels , simultaneously addressing sustainability issues while meeting history standards.

3. Lean on simulations and games. Simulations can help students learn about and negotiate real-world policy problems , from deforestation to carbon emissions standards. Games can help students gain a range of perspectives on an issue and engage in realistic tasks that mimic daily life. These approaches can lead to better learning outcomes, can improve skills, and are more engaging than traditional instructional methods.

4. Connect global issues to local ones. When possible, use local or place-based resources to discuss climate change issues that are happening in your state, city, or region. Many U.S. students feel that climate change does not affect their daily lives. Therefore, they are hard-pressed to place importance on learning about and taking action on climate change. It is crucial to educate your students on climate issues and movements within your region and connect these to wider national or global experiences, and vice versa. For example, a simulation on deforestation in the Amazon helps students understand how climate issues far away can impact them at home.

Showing interconnections between the globally relevant issue of climate change and visible, locally relevant issues will help students understand their context and how it connects to others around the world. For example, a lesson plan for Cancer Valley, Louisiana, shows an example of a Black community disproportionately affected by asthma, cancer, and death from Covid-19. The lesson plan is meant to spark a classroom discussion on the role of government and business in rectifying this issue, connecting environmental justice concepts to locally relevant climate concepts. Teachers could also use inquiry-based learning to show students real climate data and ask them to reach their own conclusions. 

To find information for your region, look to resources from local universities, your state’s Audubon Society website, or community-based climate nonprofits, or use the regional filters on SubjectToClimate’s resource database to find resources applicable to your locale.

Above all, incorporating climate education into your classroom does not have to be an entire unit, lesson, or class. Brief, purposeful integrations can be powerful. Whether calls for climate education come from the halls of the United Nations or from inside our neighborhoods, it’s never too late to educate about climate change and prepare the next generation to participate as informed citizens in our connected world.

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Our Future Is Now - A Climate Change Essay by Francesca Minicozzi, '21

Francesca Minicozzi (class of 2021) is a Writing/Biology major who plans to study medicine after graduation. She wrote this essay on climate change for WR 355/Travel Writing, which she took while studying abroad in Newcastle in spring 2020. Although the coronavirus pandemic curtailed Francesca’s time abroad, her months in Newcastle prompted her to learn more about climate change. Terre Ryan Associate Professor, Writing Department

Our Future Is Now

By Francesca Minicozzi, '21 Writing and Biology Major

 “If you don’t mind me asking, how is the United States preparing for climate change?” my flat mate, Zac, asked me back in March, when we were both still in Newcastle. He and I were accustomed to asking each other about the differences between our home countries; he came from Cambridge, while I originated in Long Island, New York. This was one of our numerous conversations about issues that impact our generation, which we usually discussed while cooking dinner in our communal kitchen. In the moment of our conversation, I did not have as strong an answer for him as I would have liked. Instead, I informed him of the few changes I had witnessed within my home state of New York.

Francesca Minicozzi, '21

Zac’s response was consistent with his normal, diplomatic self. “I have been following the BBC news in terms of the climate crisis for the past few years. The U.K. has been working hard to transition to renewable energy sources. Similar to the United States, here in the United Kingdom we have converted over to solar panels too. My home does not have solar panels, but a lot of our neighbors have switched to solar energy in the past few years.”

“Our two countries are similar, yet so different,” I thought. Our conversation continued as we prepared our meals, with topics ranging from climate change to the upcoming presidential election to Britain’s exit from the European Union. However, I could not shake the fact that I knew so little about a topic so crucial to my generation.

After I abruptly returned home from the United Kingdom because of the global pandemic, my conversation with my flat mate lingered in my mind. Before the coronavirus surpassed climate change headlines, I had seen the number of internet postings regarding protests to protect the planet dramatically increase. Yet the idea of our planet becoming barren and unlivable in a not-so-distant future had previously upset me to the point where a part of me refused to deal with it. After I returned from studying abroad, I decided to educate myself on the climate crisis.

My quest for climate change knowledge required a thorough understanding of the difference between “climate change” and “global warming.” Climate change is defined as “a pattern of change affecting global or regional climate,” based on “average temperature and rainfall measurements” as well as the frequency of extreme weather events. 1   These varied temperature and weather events link back to both natural incidents and human activity. 2   Likewise, the term global warming was coined “to describe climate change caused by humans.” 3   Not only that, but global warming is most recently attributed to an increase in “global average temperature,” mainly due to greenhouse gas emissions produced by humans. 4

I next questioned why the term “climate change” seemed to take over the term “global warming” in the United States. According to Frank Luntz, a leading Republican consultant, the term “global warming” functions as a rather intimidating phrase. During George W. Bush’s first presidential term, Luntz argued in favor of using the less daunting phrase “climate change” in an attempt to overcome the environmental battle amongst Democrats and Republicans. 5   Since President Bush’s term, Luntz remains just one political consultant out of many politicians who has recognized the need to address climate change. In an article from 2019, Luntz proclaimed that political parties aside, the climate crisis affects everyone. Luntz argued that politicians should steer clear of trying to communicate “the complicated science of climate change,” and instead engage voters by explaining how climate change personally impacts citizens with natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and forest fires. 6   He even suggested that a shift away from words like “sustainability” would gear Americans towards what they really want: a “cleaner, safer, healthier” environment. 7

The idea of a cleaner and heathier environment remains easier said than done. The Paris Climate Agreement, introduced in 2015, began the United Nations’ “effort to combat global climate change.” 8   This agreement marked a global initiative to “limit global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels,” while simultaneously “pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.” 9    Every country on earth has joined together in this agreement for the common purpose of saving our planet. 10   So, what could go wrong here? As much as this sounds like a compelling step in the right direction for climate change, President Donald Trump thought otherwise. In June 2017, President Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement with his proclamation of climate change as a “’hoax’ perpetrated by China.” 11   President Trump continued to question the scientific facts behind climate change, remaining an advocate for the expansion of domestic fossil fuel production. 12   He reversed environmental policies implemented by former President Barack Obama to reduce fossil fuel use. 13

Trump’s actions against the Paris Agreement, however, fail to represent the beliefs of Americans as a whole. The majority of American citizens feel passionate about the fight against climate change. To demonstrate their support, some have gone as far as creating initiatives including America’s Pledge and We Are Still In. 14   Although the United States officially exited the Paris Agreement on November 4, 2020, this withdrawal may not survive permanently. 15   According to experts, our new president “could rejoin in as short as a month’s time.” 16   This offers a glimmer of hope.

The Paris Agreement declares that the United States will reduce greenhouse gas emission levels by 26 to 28 percent by the year 2025. 17   As a leader in greenhouse gas emissions, the United States needs to accept the climate crisis for the serious challenge that it presents and work together with other nations. The concept of working coherently with all nations remains rather tricky; however, I remain optimistic. I think we can learn from how other countries have adapted to the increased heating of our planet. During my recent study abroad experience in the United Kingdom, I was struck by Great Britain’s commitment to combating climate change.

Since the United Kingdom joined the Paris Agreement, the country targets a “net-zero” greenhouse gas emission for 2050. 18   This substantial alteration would mark an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases from 1990, if “clear, stable, and well-designed policies are implemented without interruption.” 19   In order to stay on top of reducing emissions, the United Kingdom tracks electricity and car emissions, “size of onshore and offshore wind farms,” amount of homes and “walls insulated, and boilers upgraded,” as well as the development of government policies, including grants for electric vehicles. 20   A strong grip on this data allows the United Kingdom to target necessary modifications that keep the country on track for 2050. In my brief semester in Newcastle, I took note of these significant changes. The city of Newcastle is small enough that many students and faculty are able to walk or bike to campus and nearby essential shops. However, when driving is unavoidable, the majority of the vehicles used are electric, and many British citizens place a strong emphasis on carpooling to further reduce emissions. The United Kingdom’s determination to severely reduce greenhouse emissions is ambitious and particularly admirable, especially as the United States struggles to shy away from its dependence on fossil fuels.

So how can we, as Americans, stand together to combat global climate change? Here are five adjustments Americans can make to their homes and daily routines that can dramatically make a difference:

  • Stay cautious of food waste. Studies demonstrate that “Americans throw away up to 40 percent of the food they buy.” 21   By being more mindful of the foods we purchase, opting for leftovers, composting wastes, and donating surplus food to those in need, we can make an individual difference that impacts the greater good. 22   
  • Insulate your home. Insulation functions as a “cost-effective and accessible” method to combat climate change. 23   Homes with modern insulation reduce energy required to heat them, leading to a reduction of emissions and an overall savings; in comparison, older homes can “lose up to 35 percent of heat through their walls.” 24   
  • Switch to LED Lighting. LED stands for “light-emitting diodes,” which use “90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and half as much as compact fluorescents.” 25   LED lights create light without producing heat, and therefore do not waste energy. Additionally, these lights have a longer duration than other bulbs, which means they offer a continuing savings. 26  
  • Choose transportation wisely. Choose to walk or bike whenever the option presents itself. If walking or biking is not an option, use an electric or hybrid vehicle which emits less harmful gases. Furthermore, reduce the number of car trips taken, and carpool with others when applicable. 
  • Finally, make your voice heard. The future of our planet remains in our hands, so we might as well use our voices to our advantage. Social media serves as a great platform for this. Moreover, using social media to share helpful hints to combat climate change within your community or to promote an upcoming protest proves beneficial in the long run. If we collectively put our voices to good use, together we can advocate for change.

As many of us are stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these suggestions are slightly easier to put into place. With numerous “stay-at-home” orders in effect, Americans have the opportunity to make significant achievements for climate change. Personally, I have taken more precautions towards the amount of food consumed within my household during this pandemic. I have been more aware of food waste, opting for leftovers when too much food remains. Additionally, I have realized how powerful my voice is as a young college student. Now is the opportunity for Americans to share how they feel about climate change. During this unprecedented time, our voice is needed now more than ever in order to make a difference.

However, on a much larger scale, the coronavirus outbreak has shed light on reducing global energy consumption. Reductions in travel, both on the roads and in the air, have triggered a drop in emission rates. In fact, the International Energy Agency predicts a 6 percent decrease in energy consumption around the globe for this year alone. 27   This drop is “equivalent to losing the entire energy demand of India.” 28   Complete lockdowns have lowered the global demand for electricity and slashed CO2 emissions. However, in New York City, the shutdown has only decreased carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent. 29   This proves that a shift in personal behavior is simply not enough to “fix the carbon emission problem.” 30   Climate policies aimed to reduce fossil fuel production and promote clean technology will be crucial steppingstones to ameliorating climate change effects. Our current reduction of greenhouse gas emissions serves as “the sort of reduction we need every year until net-zero emissions are reached around 2050.” 31   From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, politicians came together for the common good of protecting humanity; this demonstrates that when necessary, global leaders are capable of putting humankind above the economy. 32

After researching statistics comparing the coronavirus to climate change, I thought back to the moment the virus reached pandemic status. I knew that a greater reason underlay all of this global turmoil. Our globe is in dire need of help, and the coronavirus reminds the world of what it means to work together. This pandemic marks a turning point in global efforts to slow down climate change. The methods we enact towards not only stopping the spread of the virus, but slowing down climate change, will ultimately depict how humanity will arise once this pandemic is suppressed. The future of our home planet lies in how we treat it right now. 

  • “Climate Change: What Do All the Terms Mean?,” BBC News (BBC, May 1, 2019), )
  • Ibid. 
  • Kate Yoder, “Frank Luntz, the GOP's Message Master, Calls for Climate Action,” Grist (Grist, July 26, 2019),
  • Melissa Denchak, “Paris Climate Agreement: Everything You Need to Know,” NRDC, April 29, 2020,
  • “Donald J. Trump's Foreign Policy Positions,” Council on Foreign Relations (Council on Foreign Relations), accessed May 7, 2020, and energy )
  • David Doniger, “Paris Climate Agreement Explained: Does Congress Need to Sign Off?,” NRDC, December 15, 2016, )
  • “How the UK Is Progressing,” Committee on Climate Change, March 9, 2020,
  • Ibid.  
  • “Top 10 Ways You Can Fight Climate Change,” Green America, accessed May 7, 2020, )
  • Matt McGrath, “Climate Change and Coronavirus: Five Charts about the Biggest Carbon Crash,” BBC News (BBC, May 5, 2020), )

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Essay on Global Warming


  • Updated on  
  • Apr 27, 2024

climate change essay for class 5

Being able to write an essay is an integral part of mastering any language. Essays form an integral part of many academic and scholastic exams like the SAT, and UPSC amongst many others. It is a crucial evaluative part of English proficiency tests as well like IELTS, TOEFL, etc. Major essays are meant to emphasize public issues of concern that can have significant consequences on the world. To understand the concept of Global Warming and its causes and effects, we must first examine the many factors that influence the planet’s temperature and what this implies for the world’s future. Here’s an unbiased look at the essay on Global Warming and other essential related topics.

Short Essay on Global Warming and Climate Change?

Since the industrial and scientific revolutions, Earth’s resources have been gradually depleted. Furthermore, the start of the world’s population’s exponential expansion is particularly hard on the environment. Simply put, as the population’s need for consumption grows, so does the use of natural resources , as well as the waste generated by that consumption.

Climate change has been one of the most significant long-term consequences of this. Climate change is more than just the rise or fall of global temperatures; it also affects rain cycles, wind patterns, cyclone frequencies, sea levels, and other factors. It has an impact on all major life groupings on the planet.

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What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century, primarily due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels . The greenhouse gases consist of methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, carbon dioxide, water vapour, and chlorofluorocarbons. The weather prediction has been becoming more complex with every passing year, with seasons more indistinguishable, and the general temperatures hotter.

The number of hurricanes, cyclones, droughts, floods, etc., has risen steadily since the onset of the 21st century. The supervillain behind all these changes is Global Warming. The name is quite self-explanatory; it means the rise in the temperature of the Earth.

Also Read: What is a Natural Disaster?

What are the Causes of Global Warming?

According to recent studies, many scientists believe the following are the primary four causes of global warming:

  • Deforestation 
  • Greenhouse emissions
  • Carbon emissions per capita

Extreme global warming is causing natural disasters , which can be seen all around us. One of the causes of global warming is the extreme release of greenhouse gases that become trapped on the earth’s surface, causing the temperature to rise. Similarly, volcanoes contribute to global warming by spewing excessive CO2 into the atmosphere.

The increase in population is one of the major causes of Global Warming. This increase in population also leads to increased air pollution . Automobiles emit a lot of CO2, which remains in the atmosphere. This increase in population is also causing deforestation, which contributes to global warming.

The earth’s surface emits energy into the atmosphere in the form of heat, keeping the balance with the incoming energy. Global warming depletes the ozone layer, bringing about the end of the world. There is a clear indication that increased global warming will result in the extinction of all life on Earth’s surface.

Also Read: Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation, and Wildlife Resources

Solutions for Global Warming

Of course, industries and multinational conglomerates emit more carbon than the average citizen. Nonetheless, activism and community effort are the only viable ways to slow the worsening effects of global warming. Furthermore, at the state or government level, world leaders must develop concrete plans and step-by-step programmes to ensure that no further harm is done to the environment in general.

Although we are almost too late to slow the rate of global warming, finding the right solution is critical. Everyone, from individuals to governments, must work together to find a solution to Global Warming. Some of the factors to consider are pollution control, population growth, and the use of natural resources.

One very important contribution you can make is to reduce your use of plastic. Plastic is the primary cause of global warming, and recycling it takes years. Another factor to consider is deforestation, which will aid in the control of global warming. More tree planting should be encouraged to green the environment. Certain rules should also govern industrialization. Building industries in green zones that affect plants and species should be prohibited.

Also Read: Essay on Pollution

Effects of Global Warming

Global warming is a real problem that many people want to disprove to gain political advantage. However, as global citizens, we must ensure that only the truth is presented in the media.

This decade has seen a significant impact from global warming. The two most common phenomena observed are glacier retreat and arctic shrinkage. Glaciers are rapidly melting. These are clear manifestations of climate change.

Another significant effect of global warming is the rise in sea level. Flooding is occurring in low-lying areas as a result of sea-level rise. Many countries have experienced extreme weather conditions. Every year, we have unusually heavy rain, extreme heat and cold, wildfires, and other natural disasters.

Similarly, as global warming continues, marine life is being severely impacted. This is causing the extinction of marine species as well as other problems. Furthermore, changes are expected in coral reefs, which will face extinction in the coming years. These effects will intensify in the coming years, effectively halting species expansion. Furthermore, humans will eventually feel the negative effects of Global Warming.

Also Read: Concept of Sustainable Development

Sample Essays on Global Warming

Here are some sample essays on Global Warming:

Essay on Global Warming Paragraph in 100 – 150 words

Global Warming is caused by the increase of carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere and is a result of human activities that have been causing harm to our environment for the past few centuries now. Global Warming is something that can’t be ignored and steps have to be taken to tackle the situation globally. The average temperature is constantly rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the last few years.

The best method to prevent future damage to the earth, cutting down more forests should be banned and Afforestation should be encouraged. Start by planting trees near your homes and offices, participate in events, and teach the importance of planting trees. It is impossible to undo the damage but it is possible to stop further harm.

Also Read: Social Forestry

Essay on Global Warming in 250 Words

Over a long period, it is observed that the temperature of the earth is increasing. This affected wildlife, animals, humans, and every living organism on earth. Glaciers have been melting, and many countries have started water shortages, flooding, and erosion and all this is because of global warming. 

No one can be blamed for global warming except for humans. Human activities such as gases released from power plants, transportation, and deforestation have increased gases such as carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants in the earth’s atmosphere.                                              The main question is how can we control the current situation and build a better world for future generations. It starts with little steps by every individual. 

Start using cloth bags made from sustainable materials for all shopping purposes, instead of using high-watt lights use energy-efficient bulbs, switch off the electricity, don’t waste water, abolish deforestation and encourage planting more trees. Shift the use of energy from petroleum or other fossil fuels to wind and solar energy. Instead of throwing out the old clothes donate them to someone so that it is recycled. 

Donate old books, don’t waste paper.  Above all, spread awareness about global warming. Every little thing a person does towards saving the earth will contribute in big or small amounts. We must learn that 1% effort is better than no effort. Pledge to take care of Mother Nature and speak up about global warming.

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Essay on Global Warming in 500 Words

Global warming isn’t a prediction, it is happening! A person denying it or unaware of it is in the most simple terms complicit. Do we have another planet to live on? Unfortunately, we have been bestowed with this one planet only that can sustain life yet over the years we have turned a blind eye to the plight it is in. Global warming is not an abstract concept but a global phenomenon occurring ever so slowly even at this moment. Global Warming is a phenomenon that is occurring every minute resulting in a gradual increase in the Earth’s overall climate. Brought about by greenhouse gases that trap the solar radiation in the atmosphere, global warming can change the entire map of the earth, displacing areas, flooding many countries, and destroying multiple lifeforms. Extreme weather is a direct consequence of global warming but it is not an exhaustive consequence. There are virtually limitless effects of global warming which are all harmful to life on earth. The sea level is increasing by 0.12 inches per year worldwide. This is happening because of the melting of polar ice caps because of global warming. This has increased the frequency of floods in many lowland areas and has caused damage to coral reefs. The Arctic is one of the worst-hit areas affected by global warming. Air quality has been adversely affected and the acidity of the seawater has also increased causing severe damage to marine life forms. Severe natural disasters are brought about by global warming which has had dire effects on life and property. As long as mankind produces greenhouse gases, global warming will continue to accelerate. The consequences are felt at a much smaller scale which will increase to become drastic shortly. The power to save the day lies in the hands of humans, the need is to seize the day. Energy consumption should be reduced on an individual basis. Fuel-efficient cars and other electronics should be encouraged to reduce the wastage of energy sources. This will also improve air quality and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is an evil that can only be defeated when fought together. It is better late than never. If we all take steps today, we will have a much brighter future tomorrow. Global warming is the bane of our existence and various policies have come up worldwide to fight it but that is not enough. The actual difference is made when we work at an individual level to fight it. Understanding its import now is crucial before it becomes an irrevocable mistake. Exterminating global warming is of utmost importance and each one of us is as responsible for it as the next.  

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Essay on Global Warming UPSC

Always hear about global warming everywhere, but do we know what it is? The evil of the worst form, global warming is a phenomenon that can affect life more fatally. Global warming refers to the increase in the earth’s temperature as a result of various human activities. The planet is gradually getting hotter and threatening the existence of lifeforms on it. Despite being relentlessly studied and researched, global warming for the majority of the population remains an abstract concept of science. It is this concept that over the years has culminated in making global warming a stark reality and not a concept covered in books. Global warming is not caused by one sole reason that can be curbed. Multifarious factors cause global warming most of which are a part of an individual’s daily existence. Burning of fuels for cooking, in vehicles, and for other conventional uses, a large amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, and methane amongst many others is produced which accelerates global warming. Rampant deforestation also results in global warming as lesser green cover results in an increased presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is a greenhouse gas.  Finding a solution to global warming is of immediate importance. Global warming is a phenomenon that has to be fought unitedly. Planting more trees can be the first step that can be taken toward warding off the severe consequences of global warming. Increasing the green cover will result in regulating the carbon cycle. There should be a shift from using nonrenewable energy to renewable energy such as wind or solar energy which causes less pollution and thereby hinder the acceleration of global warming. Reducing energy needs at an individual level and not wasting energy in any form is the most important step to be taken against global warming. The warning bells are tolling to awaken us from the deep slumber of complacency we have slipped into. Humans can fight against nature and it is high time we acknowledged that. With all our scientific progress and technological inventions, fighting off the negative effects of global warming is implausible. We have to remember that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors but borrow it from our future generations and the responsibility lies on our shoulders to bequeath them a healthy planet for life to exist. 

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Climate Change and Global Warming Essay

Global Warming and Climate Change are two sides of the same coin. Both are interrelated with each other and are two issues of major concern worldwide. Greenhouse gases released such as carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants in the earth’s atmosphere cause Global Warming which leads to climate change. Black holes have started to form in the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. 

Human activities have created climate change and global warming. Industrial waste and fumes are the major contributors to global warming. 

Another factor affecting is the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and also one of the reasons for climate change.  Global warming has resulted in shrinking mountain glaciers in Antarctica, Greenland, and the Arctic and causing climate change. Switching from the use of fossil fuels to energy sources like wind and solar. 

When buying any electronic appliance buy the best quality with energy savings stars. Don’t waste water and encourage rainwater harvesting in your community. 

Also Read: Essay on Air Pollution

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Also Read: I Love My India Essay: 100 and 500+ Words in English for School Students

Ans. Both natural and man-made factors contribute to global warming. The natural one also contains methane gas, volcanic eruptions, and greenhouse gases. Deforestation, mining, livestock raising, burning fossil fuels, and other man-made causes are next.

Ans. The government and the general public can work together to stop global warming. Trees must be planted more often, and deforestation must be prohibited. Auto usage needs to be curbed, and recycling needs to be promoted.

Ans. Switching to renewable energy sources , adopting sustainable farming, transportation, and energy methods, and conserving water and other natural resources.

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Digvijay Singh

Having 2+ years of experience in educational content writing, withholding a Bachelor's in Physical Education and Sports Science and a strong interest in writing educational content for students enrolled in domestic and foreign study abroad programmes. I believe in offering a distinct viewpoint to the table, to help students deal with the complexities of both domestic and foreign educational systems. Through engaging storytelling and insightful analysis, I aim to inspire my readers to embark on their educational journeys, whether abroad or at home, and to make the most of every learning opportunity that comes their way.

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This was really a good essay on global warming… There has been used many unic words..and I really liked it!!!Seriously I had been looking for a essay about Global warming just like this…

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I want to learn how to write essay writing so I joined this page.This page is very useful for everyone.

Hi, we are glad that we could help you to write essays. We have a beginner’s guide to write essays ( ) and we think this might help you.

It is not good , to have global warming in our earth .So we all have to afforestation program on all the world.

thank you so much

Very educative , helpful and it is really going to strength my English knowledge to structure my essay in future

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Global warming is the increase in 𝓽𝓱𝓮 ᴀᴠᴇʀᴀɢᴇ ᴛᴇᴍᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴜʀᴇs ᴏғ ᴇᴀʀᴛʜ🌎 ᴀᴛᴍᴏsᴘʜᴇʀᴇ

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What is the best site for researching quality climate change paper samples?

Samples is a website filled with sample essays and papers on the subject of climate change, as well as all related topics on this and many others.

How to use climate change essay examples to create my paper?

The examples are intended to help find primary sources for studying climate-related materials, help to get acquainted with the expertise and structure of writing from our writers and assist in getting acquainted with the features of writing different types of essays.

Is it allowed to submit your climate change essay samples as mine?

It is possible but be prepared that the professor or commission may not accept them since they are all in the public domain and are intended primarily for finding the necessary information, examples of text structuring, etc.

What college paper and essay examples can students find on our site?

The catalogue contains various topics and different types of works (essays, papers, etc.). Consequently, the number of examples in each category can exceed several dozen.

If you have a chance to look inside our climate change essay examples, it may turn out to be your winning ticket to the fascinating world of writing. Here, you may find research papers compiled by professionals. In addition, the range of topics related to climate and human impact on the environment can be used to create persuasive essays of the highest quality.

Climate Change Essay Examples: Problems & Solutions

When writing an essay about climate change, we consider it a distant problem as far as it is not real or visible to the naked eye. However, the suffering of our planet due to human intervention and a long-lasting bad influence on nature resulted in atmosphere changes, the greenhouse effect, and global warming.

The temperature will rise by 1.5 ℃ during the next 20 years. The problem might not seem urgent, but the results may be harmful, hazardous, and irreversible. Students may find it dull to write about the environment. Moreover, they need deep knowledge of geography and have developed analytical skills to predict consequences. Teachers try to guide students in the precise analysis of their effect on the Earth in essays about climate change.

Sample Essay on Climate Change: Ideal to Follow

In writing an argumentative essay, it may be challenging to figure out the main principles of writing and follow a logical outline. You may use any sample essay on climate change from our database to read and follow in such a situation.

Our Essays Inspire and Provoke Thinking

Reading piles of books can overload your mind and mess up your ideas. Sometimes, you need a short but logical and informative paper to grasp concepts for perfect argumentative essay writing. However, reading our samples of climate change essays, you will be excited with certain and understandable content that provides inspiration and food for thinking.

Right Structure and Topic: Crucial Moments

When you write a climate change opinion essay, you may pay attention more to your ideas, scientific facts, and results of further development of climate change. But your teacher considers correspondence of topic to the content and proper structure. Therefore, in our templates of essays on climate change, our writers adhere to all academic writing requirements.

Moreover, on the list of topics, you may find the most interesting and develop your ideas using additional resources. Finally, remember catchy phrases that draw attention from the first sight, as our samples do.

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climate change essay for class 5

In a troubling milestone, Earth surpasses 1.5 degrees C of warming for 12 consecutive months

A sign reads, "cooling center, open to the public."

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In a troubling milestone, June marked Earth’s 12th consecutive month of global warming at or above 1.5 degrees Celsius — the internationally accepted threshold for avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

A stifling month marked by heat waves and heat deaths , June was also about a quarter of a degree warmer than the previous hottest June on record in 2023, according to a report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. It is the 13th straight month to break its own monthly heat record.

climate change essay for class 5

Aggressive and impactful reporting on climate change, the environment, health and science.

The planet’s persistent soaring temperature is “more than a statistical oddity and it highlights a large and continuing shift in our climate,” Copernicus’ director Carlo Buontempo said in a statement.

“Even if this specific streak of extremes ends at some point, we are bound to see new records being broken as the climate continues to warm,” he said. “This is inevitable, unless we stop adding [greenhouse gases] into the atmosphere and the oceans.”

Chart shows rising pre-industrial global surface air temperature anomalies for the month of June since 1980. Temperatures reached 1.5 degrees Celsius last June.

The 1.5-degree Celsius threshold, about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, was established under the 2015 Paris agreement . Under that accord, the United States and nearly 200 other nations agreed to limit the global average temperature increase to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels — and preferably below 1.5 degrees Celsius — in order to reduce the worst effects of climate change.

The pre-industrial period refers to an era before humans began meaningfully altering the planet’s climate through fossil fuels and other heat trapping emissions, and is generally measured using temperature data from between 1850 and 1900. According to Copernicus, June’s global average temperature of 16.66 degrees Celsius (61.98 degrees Fahrenheit) was precisely 1.5 degrees Celsius above the estimated preindustrial average.

The unprecedented year-long stretch is “very noteworthy and disturbing,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national nonprofit organization.

Line chart shows temperature differences from pre-industrial levels for every year since 1940. The twelve-month period between July 2023 and June 2024 saw temperatures more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above normal, hotter than any other year.

However, surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius for one year does not necessarily mean humanity has failed to reach its goal, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has not officially defined how many years of warming over 1.5 degrees Celsius are needed in order for the threshold to be breached.

It is a subject of much scientific discussion, Ekwurzel said, but many experts have suggested that the limit should refer to a period of at least 10 years of warming at that temperature.

“It is worth noting for humanity — for all life on the planet — that we have been hovering around what the Paris agreement set as a threshold, and this may be the first year of that 10-year average,” she said. “It means that we have already logged one year in that logbook.”

Glendora, CA - January 03: Storm clouds move on over downtown Los Angeles after rainfall totals of a quarter to one half inch of precipitation overnight on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Glendora, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

World & Nation

The planet is dangerously close to this climate threshold. Here’s what 1.5°C really means

Every bit of planetary warming will have impacts beyond those already occurring, including biodiversity loss, longer heat waves and extreme rainfall.

Feb. 1, 2024

The benchmark is not merely symbolic. A 2018 special report from the IPCC spelled out a worrisome future based on 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, with various emissions scenarios leading to deadlier heat waves, droughts, floods, famine, ecosystem destruction, and public unrest and political destabilization, among other outcomes.

Already, rising global temperatures have contributed to surging numbers of heat-related illnesses and deaths, including 1,300 deaths during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Last year, a record 31-day heat streak in Phoenix contributed to an estimated 645 deaths, while a 2022 heat wave in California killed an estimated 395 people .

“We still have not changed our cultural patterns to adjust to this climate change reality,” Ekwurzel said. “The timing of when we have sporting events, the timing of when we do certain cultural activities, were based on ancient temperature.”

It’s not only land surfaces that are simmering. The non-polar sea surface temperature in June was 69.53 degrees, the highest value on record for the month, Copernicus said. It was the fifteenth month in a row that the sea surface temperature has been the warmest on record.

The elevated temperatures occurred despite a waning El Niño — the climate pattern in the tropical Pacific associated with warming global temperatures. Scientists say El Niño contributed to the record planetary heat in recent months, and had hoped its dissipation would deliver a bit of cooling.

That may still happen in the months ahead, particularly as a La Niña pattern develops later this year , but the persistent heat indicates a “kind of pulling away from the natural cycles,” Ekwurzel said.

“Once you warm the ocean up, it’s harder to cool it down because it has such high heat capacity,” she said. She added that warm ocean waters can be dangerous for marine life and for people on land, as it can lead to more powerful winds, storms and waves.

The Atlantic Ocean is expected to experience an active hurricane season this year . Hurricane Beryl in the Caribbean has already become the earliest storm on record to reach Category 5.

A Pakistani youth, right, cools off under a hand pump at sunset during hot weather in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Climate & Environment

Earth breaks heat and CO₂ records once again: ‘Our planet is trying to tell us something’

Global average temperatures and CO₂ levels continue to soar. May was Earth’s 12th consecutive hottest month on record, officials announced this week.

June 5, 2024

Seasonal forecasts indicate that high temperatures will persist in the months ahead. Nearly all of the U.S. is projected to experience warmer-than-average temperatures in July, August and September, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with the highest likelihood of above-normal conditions in the Four Corners region and the far Southeast.

A dangerous heat wave that began in California last week delivered triple-digit temperatures across the state and contributed to a rash of wildfire ignitions.

High temperatures have also prompted a federal response. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week advanced a proposal to establish heat standards for 35 million indoor and outdoor workers, following California’s lead.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, too, is facing mounting pressure to broaden its definition of “major disasters ” to include extreme heat, which advocates say will open up new avenues of funding for cities and states struggling to deal with the rising threat.

Ekwurzel said it’s not too late for humanity to change course and avoid the 1.5-degree Celsius limit. However, urgent action and emissions reductions will be required.

“The Earth and ocean and atmosphere are telling us that we have to act really fast if we have any chance, and many, many, many people are losing hope,” she said. “We’d better be adapting to this 1.5-C world. Many people say this is the coolest decade, probably, of the 21st century.”

More to Read

Pescadores arrastran un barco danado por el paso del huracan Beryl para amarrarlo a puerto, en Bridgetown, Barbados, el 1 de julio de 2024. (AP Foto/Ricardo Mazalan)

Floods, fires and record heat: Climate disasters multiply around the world

July 4, 2024

A red flag fire weather warning will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday in San Diego County's inland valleys, foothills and mountains.

How is climate change affecting heat waves in California and the West?

June 2, 2024

FILE - With Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team in the background, a digital billboard updates the time and temperature as temperatures are expected to hit 116-degrees July 18, 2023, in Phoenix. President Joe Biden plans to announce new steps to address the extreme heat that has threatened millions of Americans, most recently in the Southwest. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Summer of 2023 was hottest in 2,000 years, study finds

May 14, 2024

climate change essay for class 5

Hayley Smith is an environment reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she covers the many ways climate change is reshaping life in California, including drought, floods, wildfires and deadly heat.

climate change essay for class 5

Lorena Iñiguez Elebee is a senior data and graphics journalist at the Los Angeles Times.

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Lancaster, CA - July 07: Leela Finley Little, 6, cools off in the 110 degree weather at Tierra Bonita Park on Sunday, July 7, 2024 in Lancaster, CA. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

‘Unprecedented’ heat wave in California brings death, fires, all-time highs

Dodger right fielder Raul Mondesi pauses at the batting cage at Dodger Stadium prior to recent game on August 30, 1997.Photo/Art by:Vince Compagnone

Ex-Dodger Raúl Mondesi free after serving 7 years under house arrest for embezzling millions

July 8, 2024

National Academies Press: OpenBook

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Update 2020 (2020)

Chapter: conclusion, c onclusion.

This document explains that there are well-understood physical mechanisms by which changes in the amounts of greenhouse gases cause climate changes. It discusses the evidence that the concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere have increased and are still increasing rapidly, that climate change is occurring, and that most of the recent change is almost certainly due to emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activities. Further climate change is inevitable; if emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated, future changes will substantially exceed those that have occurred so far. There remains a range of estimates of the magnitude and regional expression of future change, but increases in the extremes of climate that can adversely affect natural ecosystems and human activities and infrastructure are expected.

Citizens and governments can choose among several options (or a mixture of those options) in response to this information: they can change their pattern of energy production and usage in order to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and hence the magnitude of climate changes; they can wait for changes to occur and accept the losses, damage, and suffering that arise; they can adapt to actual and expected changes as much as possible; or they can seek as yet unproven “geoengineering” solutions to counteract some of the climate changes that would otherwise occur. Each of these options has risks, attractions and costs, and what is actually done may be a mixture of these different options. Different nations and communities will vary in their vulnerability and their capacity to adapt. There is an important debate to be had about choices among these options, to decide what is best for each group or nation, and most importantly for the global population as a whole. The options have to be discussed at a global scale because in many cases those communities that are most vulnerable control few of the emissions, either past or future. Our description of the science of climate change, with both its facts and its uncertainties, is offered as a basis to inform that policy debate.


The following individuals served as the primary writing team for the 2014 and 2020 editions of this document:

  • Eric Wolff FRS, (UK lead), University of Cambridge
  • Inez Fung (NAS, US lead), University of California, Berkeley
  • Brian Hoskins FRS, Grantham Institute for Climate Change
  • John F.B. Mitchell FRS, UK Met Office
  • Tim Palmer FRS, University of Oxford
  • Benjamin Santer (NAS), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • John Shepherd FRS, University of Southampton
  • Keith Shine FRS, University of Reading.
  • Susan Solomon (NAS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • John Walsh, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Don Wuebbles, University of Illinois

Staff support for the 2020 revision was provided by Richard Walker, Amanda Purcell, Nancy Huddleston, and Michael Hudson. We offer special thanks to Rebecca Lindsey and NOAA for providing data and figure updates.

The following individuals served as reviewers of the 2014 document in accordance with procedures approved by the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences:

  • Richard Alley (NAS), Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University
  • Alec Broers FRS, Former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Harry Elderfield FRS, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • Joanna Haigh FRS, Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Imperial College London
  • Isaac Held (NAS), NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
  • John Kutzbach (NAS), Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin
  • Jerry Meehl, Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • John Pendry FRS, Imperial College London
  • John Pyle FRS, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • Gavin Schmidt, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Emily Shuckburgh, British Antarctic Survey
  • Gabrielle Walker, Journalist
  • Andrew Watson FRS, University of East Anglia

The Support for the 2014 Edition was provided by NAS Endowment Funds. We offer sincere thanks to the Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions for supporting the production of this 2020 Edition.


For more detailed discussion of the topics addressed in this document (including references to the underlying original research), see:

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2019: Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate [ ]
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), 2019: Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration: A Research Agenda [ ]
  • Royal Society, 2018: Greenhouse gas removal [ ]
  • U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), 2018: Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States [ ]
  • IPCC, 2018: Global Warming of 1.5°C [ ]
  • USGCRP, 2017: Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume I: Climate Science Special Reports [ ]
  • NASEM, 2016: Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change [ ]
  • IPCC, 2013: Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Working Group 1. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis [ ]
  • NRC, 2013: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises [ ]
  • NRC, 2011: Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia [ ]
  • Royal Society 2010: Climate Change: A Summary of the Science [ ]
  • NRC, 2010: America’s Climate Choices: Advancing the Science of Climate Change [ ]

Much of the original data underlying the scientific findings discussed here are available at:

was established to advise the United States on scientific and technical issues when President Lincoln signed a Congressional charter in 1863. The National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, has issued numerous reports on the causes of and potential responses to climate change. Climate change resources from the National Research Council are available at .
is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists. Its members are drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. It is the national academy of science in the UK. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science, and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. More information on the Society’s climate change work is available at


Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth's climate. The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, with their similar missions to promote the use of science to benefit society and to inform critical policy debates, produced the original Climate Change: Evidence and Causes in 2014. It was written and reviewed by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists. This new edition, prepared by the same author team, has been updated with the most recent climate data and scientific analyses, all of which reinforce our understanding of human-caused climate change.

Scientific information is a vital component for society to make informed decisions about how to reduce the magnitude of climate change and how to adapt to its impacts. This booklet serves as a key reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and others seeking authoritative answers about the current state of climate-change science.


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UPSC EDITORIAL ANALYSIS – The shape of a five-year climate agenda for India

climate change essay for class 5

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, COP, IPCC, G20 etc
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests, Important international institutions etc


  • In K. Ranjitsinh and Ors. vs Union of India & Ors., the Supreme Court has upheld the right to ‘be free from the adverse effects of climate change’ , identifying both the right to life and the right to equality as its sources.



Supreme Court judgment on climate change:

climate change essay for class 5

India’s transformation

●      It has laid the foundation for global institutions such as the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and the Global Biofuels Alliance.

●      it shaped the green development pact under its g-20 presidency last year., ●      india has starte d talking about bolder and more ambitious emission mitigation targets., ○      the 2070 net-zero target and ambitious nationally determined contributions (ndc) are milestones., ○      the net-zero goal has changed the debate domestically with various actors, policymakers and the private sector., ●      sustainability-linked domestic economic policies: the creation of an indian emissions carbon trading scheme, an institution that should operate for at least 30-40 years., what steps need to be taken.

  • The country could host important international climate summits.
  • To host the United Nations Conference of Parties in 2028, it would need to be as successful as the G-20 Presidency.
  • In global negotiations: India needs ‘the world to agree to no new investment in oil and gas after 2030’ as part of the decision text
  • India needs big commitment on adaptation finance so that developing countries can shield themselves against increasing heat waves, storms, floods and droughts.
  • Socializing across countries to stitch alliances and allay concerns must start right away.
  • India should continue doubling down on the narrative of equity in international forums, and create leadership space for itself in global institutions that can deliver climate finance.
  • ‘Go wider’: India has to adopt and strongly communicate sectoral emission reduction targets that go beyond the power sector.
  • India has achieved significant progress in the power sector and will continue to do so to keep pace with its international non-fossil share-related and domestic renewable energy capacity targets.
  • It will help rural India become mobile, drive jobs in clean energy and sustainability, and promote economic growth.
  • The NDC for 2035, due to be submitted next year, can be an opportunity for going wider with India’s energy transition targets.

Way Forward

  • The government must accelerate and show the world t hat economic development can be sustainable, too.
  • India should follow the mantra of ‘go higher, go wider, go deeper ’ to align its climate leadership with economic prowess.
  • The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) is working across many States in India to support their net-zero plans through long-term climate and energy modeling.
  • promoting a deeper integration of scientific modeling capabilities in policymaking
  • facilitating a unified data measurement, reporting, verification (MRV) architecture at the State level.
  • Given India’s federal structure the climate actions should not be centralizing but ensuring that State-level actions are better coordinated without compromising their autonomy.
  • It should look ahead for at least the next four to five years, and not just a year at a time.


  • Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by the India conference? (UPSC 2021)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)

Editorial Analysis – 6 July 2024 [PDF ]

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Comment: What the world can learn from China about tackling climate change

  • Medium Text

Nio's Onvo L60 SUV in Shanghai

Peter Bakker is president and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Prior to joining WBCSD in 2012, he was the CEO of TNT NV, the global transport, postal and logistics company. TIME Magazine recently named Peter as one of the Top 100 Climate Leaders in Business. He was also a recipient of the Clinton Global Citizen Award (2009), the Sustainability Leadership Award (2010) and the Prix Voltaire International (2023). He holds several corporate sustainability advisory board positions in China, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC) and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED).

Fish swim at a coral reef garden in Nusa Dua, Bali

Sustainability Chevron

A pharmacist holds a bottle OxyContin made by Purdue Pharma at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah

Purdue creditors seek approval to sue Sackler family members

Purdue Pharma's creditors sought permission from a U.S. bankruptcy court on Monday to sue the company's wealthy owners, arguing that the litigation can serve as both a negotiating tool and a fallback option as the OxyContin maker re-starts talks on a bankruptcy settlement.

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