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Database Provider

Authors

Tim Gore, Mira Alestig and Anna Ratcliff

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Social Studies, Economics, Civics

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

Confronting Carbon Inequality

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Synopsis
  • This article explains that the richest people in the world are responsible for a disproportionately large percentage of the world's carbon emissions.
  • The report issues a strong recommendation for governments to use the historic economic pause from COVID-19 to build fairer economies that focus on curbing carbon emissions for the wealthy and raising economically disadvantaged people out of poverty.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This article provides the opportunity to look at the climate crisis through a socioeconomic lens.
  • The research provides excellent graphics to visualize the inequities of carbon consumption based on income.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with how fossil fuel use and economic activities contribute to greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change.
  • Teachers may want to explain the concept of the "global carbon budget" so students understand how the report refers to a finite amount of carbon emissions allocated for global use to meet goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The right margin on page 2 will help with this explanation.

Differentiation

  • Consider having students propose ideas for getting the richest individuals to reduce their carbon emissions.  Explain the concept of incentives and have students brainstorm what would motivate the top earners to reduce their carbon emissions.
  • Have students consider what it means to live in poverty. The report indicates that those in poverty live on less than $5.50 per day. Discuss what consumption looks like in their community compared to someone living in poverty and how carbon emissions correlate to different lifestyles.
Scientist Notes
There is no misconception in the article. This resource is recommended for students.
Standards
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
  • Social Studies
    • Personal Finance & Economics
      • Personal Finance (F1): Students understand the principles and processes of personal finance by explaining how scarcity influences choices and relates to the market economy.
      • Global Connections (F2): Students understand economic aspects of unity and diversity in Maine, the United States, and the world, including Maine Native American communities, by analyzing how resource distribution effects wealth, poverty, and other economic factors.
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