So far, more than 150 countries have outlined how, when, and by how much each would cut carbon dioxide emissions. So which countries are doing the most (or least) to tackle greenhouse gases? (Nat Geo News)
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.
- Does a country’s commitment to climate change correlate to its use of renewable energy? (Bookmark 1)
- How might a country’s population and economic health influence its carbon emission policies? (Bookmark 2)
- How does a region’s land cover influence its energy strategy? (Bookmark 3)
- The terrific Nat Geo News article says several countries deserve praise for their commitment to climate change. What makes these nations’ plans to cut carbon emissions “ambitious”? Click the countries highlighted in green on today’s MapMaker Interactive map for some help.
- Mexico: Most countries want to slow the rate of increase in greenhouse gases over coming decades but “Mexico is pledging an absolute reduction,” says Drew Jones, co-director of Climate Interactive.
- Morocco: Morocco is proposing some of the most detailed steps to reduce CO2 from land-clearing, deforestation, and agriculture. . . . [It is] already is building Africa’s largest solar-power project.
- India: India plans to increase the electricity it can get from renewable energy to about 40 percent by 2030. One climate expert called that proposal “nothing less than gargantuan.”
- Costa Rica: To eliminate some of the more than 1 million older cars on its streets, the country is considering a tax that would target the most-polluting older vehicles. Some lawmakers also are hoping to jumpstart a transition to electric vehicles. And the country is seeking financing for an electric commuter train.
- Ethiopia: The country, where fewer than 20% of residents have electricity, wants to ‘leapfrog’ the fossil fuel economy and grow using green building technology, electric transportation, and renewable power.
- The Nat Geo News article says climate proposals from Russia and Canada “need improvement.” How does landscape shared by these two northern giants allow their proposals to seem more impressive than they actually are?
- Both Russia and Canada are blanketed by the dense, rich forests of the taiga. These forests (the world’s largest terrestrial biome) are enormous carbon sinks—places that absorb more carbon dioxide than they release. Russia and Canada both categorize their natural forests as offsetting the countries’ carbon emissions. “But if forests are ignored,” the article says, “Canada’s emissions actually rise up to 8 percent.”
- Nat Geo News admits that comparing climate-change efforts is tricky because the standards are subjective. How would you (or your students) answer these no-right-answer questions?
- Should a country be judged on how much it cuts emissions overall, or by how much it reduces carbon pollution on average, for each citizen?
- Should poor countries get extra credit for trying, since most are not huge contributors to climate change?
- Should it matter if experts think a country’s commitment is unlikely to be achieved?
Nat Geo: Climate Change resources