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Lesson 4


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Lesson 4

  1. 1. Martha VasquezBeatriz SarabiaAlma VacaHeidi MiedeckeGeography 300February 07, 2013Lesson Plan 4LESSON PLAN Introduction to climate change Task: to teach children about global warming, the greenhouse effect, their own carbon footprint and what they can do to reduce it Time – 1 to 2 hours 4th grade The notes are accompanied by a powerpoint presentation.The sections are as follows:Section 1: What is climate change? Recent climate history and 15-20 minutesfuture projections 10-15 minutesSection 2: The greenhouse effect OptionalSection 3: Human activities causing climate change 10-15 minutesSection 4: Why does climate change matter? 10-15 minutesWhat can be done about it? 10-15 minutesSection 5: What can governments do? Optional
  2. 2. Section 6: What can you and your family do? 10-15 minutesSection 7: Summary 5-10 minutesSection 1: What is climate change? Recent climate history andfuture projectionsDOWNLOADS o Variations in the Earth’s surface temperature for the past 140 years (global) and 1000 years (Northern Hemisphere). Source Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report 2001.Click on the picture to enlarge or follow this link: o Forecasts to 2100: Variations in the Earth’s surface temperature 1000 to 2100. Source Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report 2001.Click on the picture to enlarge or follow this link:
  3. 3. o Regional temperature increases predicted by 2100. Source Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report 2004.Click on the picture to enlarge or follow this link: o Melting glaciers. The retreat of mountain glaciers is captured in these photographs of the Triftgletscher glacier comparing 1948 with 2002 and 2006.Click on the picture to enlarge.TEACHER NOTESFirst of all what is climate?Climate is the long-term average of measurements of a regions ‘weather’. Imagine thatevery day for a year you measured how much rain fell and how many hours of sunshinethere were. You could also measure the temperature – once in the morning, once in theafternoon and once at night, say.
  4. 4. [Practical - ask children to measure the outside temperature at a given spot twicea day for the week before / after the lesson. They could also measure rainfall].You could work out an ‘average’ level of rainfall and sunshine for each month, and an‘average’ temperature. These seasonal averages can be used to describe a region’sclimate.[Discuss the climate in different parts of the world – the UK, the desert, Asia,Spain. Which countries have they visited and what was the weather like?]How does climate differ from weather?Weather describes whatever is happening outdoors in a given place at a given time.Weather is what happens from minute to minute. The weather can change a lot within avery short time. For example, it may rain for an hour and then become sunny and clear.Weather is what we hear about on the television news every night. What is it likeoutdoors now? What was it like on Christmas Day?Climate describes the total of all weather occurring over a period of years in a givenplace. This includes average weather conditions, regular weather sequences (likewinter, spring, summer, and fall), and special weather events (like heat waves andfloods). Climate tells us what its usually like in the place where you live.Climate changeClimate change represents a change in these long-term weather patterns. Averagetemperatures can increase or decrease. Rainfall can increase or decrease, as canhours of sunshine.Climate change has occurred naturally over millions and millions of years. Howeverwhen scientists talk about the issue of climate change, their concern is about globalwarming caused by human activities.The earth is warmingSee DOWNLOADS.The earth has warmed by over 0.5°C in the last 100 years. The eleven years 1995-2006rank amongst the twelve warmest years since records of global surface temperaturebegan in 1850.A warmer earth may lead to changes in rainfall patterns, a rise in sea level, and a widerange of impacts on plants, wildlife, and humans.Melting Glaciers: a glacier is a large sheet of ice that moves very, very slowly. Manyglaciers in the world are now melting. Some scientists think the glaciers are meltingpartly because the Earth is getting warmer. The summer ice in the arctic is predicted to
  5. 5. disappear completely between 2013 and 2040; a state not seen on earth for more thana million years.Rising Sea Levels: the level of the sea is rising, so high tides are higher than they werebefore. Over the last 100 years, the level of the sea has risen about 15-20cm worldwide.Scientists think the sea has risen partly because of melting glaciers and sea ice. Whensome glaciers melt, they release water into the sea and make it higher than it wasbefore. Scientists also think that warmer temperatures in the sea make it rise evenmore. Heat makes water expand. When the ocean expands, it takes up more space.Seeing into the futurePredicting changes in the climate over the next 100 years and beyond is difficult.However in general scientists agree that temperature rises of 2°C above pre-industriallevels are almost inevitable, and rises of 3°C are likely. The most pessimistic modelspredict that the average global temperature might increase to 6°C above its pre-industrial level.This may not sound like much, but it could change the earths climate as never before.At the peak of the last ice age (18,000 years ago), the temperature was only 4ºC colderthan it is today, and glaciers covered much of North America.Even a small increase in temperature over a long time can change the climate. Whenthe climate changes, there may be big changes in the things that people depend on.These things include the level of the oceans and the places where we plant crops. Theyalso include the air we breathe and the water we drink.The download (Regional temperature increases predicted by 2100) shows surfacetemperature increases across the globe expected by the end of this century, assuminga world of very rapid economic growth, a global population that peaks in mid-centuryand rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies.The largest temperature increases are expected to be over land at high latitudes in theNorthern hemisphere, with the maximum increase in the Arctic. The smallest increasesare over the Southern Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean.Section 2: The greenhouse effectDOWNLOADS o Greenhouse schematic
  6. 6. Click on the picture to enlarge. o The Greenhouse EffectClick on the picture to enlarge.TEACHER NOTESFor an advanced discussion of the greenhouse effect, see The Greenhouse effect(Advanced Maths and Physics).The greenhouse analogyHave you ever seen a greenhouse? Most greenhouses look like a small glass house.Greenhouses are used to grow plants, especially in the winter. Greenhouses work bytrapping heat from the sun. The glass panels of the greenhouse let in light but keep heatfrom escaping. This causes the greenhouse to heat up, much like the inside of a carparked in sunlight, and keeps the plants warm enough to live in the winter.Explaining the greenhouse effect in terms of incoming and outgoing radiation
  7. 7. The earth’s atmosphere (the air that we breathe) contains a number of so calledgreenhouse gases. The ones most closely associated with global warming are carbondioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). These gases behave like the glass panes in agreenhouse.Section 3: Human activities causing climate changeDOWNLOADS o Burning fossil fuelsClick on the picture to enlarge. o Busy people
  8. 8. Click on the picture to enlarge. o Harnessing methane from cows ...TEACHER NOTESDuring the Industrial Revolution, we began altering our climate and environment throughagricultural and industrial practices. The Industrial Revolution was a time when peoplebegan using machines to make life easier. It started more than 200 years ago andchanged the way humans live. Before the Industrial Revolution, human activity releasedvery few gases into the atmosphere, but now through population growth, fossil fuelburning, and deforestation, we are affecting the mixture of gases in the atmosphere.Burning fossil fuelsSince the Industrial Revolution, the need for energy to run machines has steadilyincreased. Much of this energy comes from fuels like coal and oil � fossil fuels. Burningthese fuels releases greenhouse gases. Note that coal and oil are the primary fuel usedby power plants in making electricity � so most things that run on electricity indirectly
  9. 9. cause greenhouse gas emissions (unless they use what�s called renewable energy �solar, wind, nuclear).All of these every day activities contribute to global warming:Flying is very bad for global warming. Why?One short-haul return flight for a family of four will add 33% to the family’s annualcarbon emissions.The emissions from one person flying to Australia and back equal the emissions for anaverage family of four for a whole year.As well as emitting CO2 aircraft emit nitrogen oxides which are particularly effective informing the greenhouse gas ozone when emitted at cruising altitudes. Aircraft alsotrigger the formation of condensation trails which are suspected of enhancing theformation of cirrus clouds, which add to the global warming effect.Aviation emissions account for at least 9% of UK greenhouse effect. Over a singlejourney of 500km an aircraft emits six times more greenhouse gas than a high speedtrain, and 12 times more than a coach.Deforestation o Mature forests store enormous quantities of carbon, both in the trees and vegetation itself and within the soil in the form of decaying plant matter. o When trees are cut down or burnt, the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere. o We are destroying forests at an alarming rate: global forest cover is currently around 3952 million hectare (30% of the world’s land area). Between 2000 and 2005 the net loss of forest was 28,000 square miles per annum, with the largest losses in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. 1,250 square miles were lost in the Amazon in the last five months of 2007 alone. Deforestation is such a problem that Indonesia and Brazil are now the third and fourth largest emitters of carbon dioxide on the planet.For more information about rainforests and deforestation see: things producing greenhouse gases
  10. 10. o Rubbish sent to landfills produces methane. o Methane is also produced by the animals we raise for dairy and meat products (primarily cows). Could this be harnessed? (See Downloads!)Section 4: Why does climate change matter?DOWNLOADS o The human cost of climate changeRight click the image and select save target/link as to download the file. o Species endangered by climate changeRight click the image and select save target/link as to download the file.TEACHER NOTES
  11. 11. The human cost of climate changeIt is clear that climate change threatens the basic elements of life for peoplearound the world - access to water, food production, health, and use of land andthe environment.Milder winters, warmer summers ... in theory global warming sounds quite appealing.Indeed there will be some benefits from climate change in some region – higheragricultural yields and increased water availability in certain areas. However these areexpected to be far outweighed by the negatives. o Scientists have warned that half the worlds population could face a shortage of clean water by 2080 because of climate change. o More than one sixth of the world’s population live in regions supplied by melt water from major mountain ranges (e.g. Himalayas, Andes). Contracting glaciers and melting snow will significantly reduce the water available for drinking, irrigation and hydropower. o By 2020 between 75 and 250 million people in Africa are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. Looking further ahead, that number could increase to 600 million, with another billion under pressure in Asia. o Production from agriculture and forestry will also decline in many places including Africa and parts of Australia and New Zealand. By 2020, yields from rain-fed agriculture in some parts of Africa could be reduced by up to 50%, leaving hundreds of millions without the ability to produce or purchase sufficient food. o Increased variability in rainfall is expected to increase the risks of flooding even in areas in which the overall level of rainfall is projected to decrease. According to one estimate, by the middle of the century, 200 million people may become permanently displaced due to rising sea levels, heavier floods, and more intense droughts. o Increased mortality from floods, heat waves and droughts are expected in many parts of the world, including Europe and North America. Heat waves like that experienced in 2003 in Europe, when 35,000 people died and agricultural losses reached $15 billion, will be commonplace by the middle of the century. o The fallout could be political and economic instability which would have implications for everyone.
  12. 12. Species endangered by climate changeClimate change may alter the worlds habitats and ecosystems – all living things areincluded in and rely on these places. Many of these places depend on a delicatebalance of rainfall, temperature, and soil type. A rapid change in climate could upset thisbalance and seriously endanger many living things.Most past climate changes occurred slowly, allowing plants and animals to adapt to thenew environment or move somewhere else. However, if future climate changes occuras rapidly as some scientists predict, plants and animals may not be able to reactquickly enough to survive. The oceans ecosystems also could be affected for the samereasons.Species at risk around the worldScientists predict that global warming could contribute to the mass extinction of wildanimals in the near future.An overheating world is creating a big change in climatic conditions and this can harmthe delicate ecosystems in which species live. Threatened species can already be foundall over the world - see the examples below.CanadaThe polar bear could disappear in the wild unless the pace of global warming slows.Dependent on sea ice, the animal uses it as a floating platform to catch prey. Expertsbelieve that the Arctic sea ice is melting at a rate of 9% per decade, endangering thepolar bear’s habitat and existence.South AmericaSea turtles lay their eggs on Brazilian beaches, many of which are threatened by risingsea levels. Climate change also threatens the offspring of sea turtles, as nesttemperature strongly determines the sex: the coldest sites produce male offspring, whilethe warmer sites produce female offspring.This nest-warming trend is reducing the number of male offspring and seriouslythreatens turtle populations.AmericaThe North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered of all large whales, witha long history of human exploitation. Since warming waters contain less plankton forwhales to feed on, the availability of food due to climate fluctuations is also becoming anincreasing cause of mortality. Between 300 and 350 individuals still exist, with little hopeof population growth.ChinaThe giant pandas future remains uncertain due to a number of threats. Its foresthabitat in the mountainous areas of south-western China is fragmented, and giantpanda populations are small and isolated from each other. Bamboo, the panda’s staple
  13. 13. diet, is also part of a delicate ecosystem that could be affected by the changes causedby global warming. Poaching too remains an everpresent threat, with only 1,600individuals left in the wild.IndonesiaAsia’s only ape – the orang-utan – is in deep trouble. Its last remaining strongholds inthe rainforests of Indonesia are being threatened by a range of pressures, includingclimate change, putting the animal at risk of extinction within a few decades. With globalwarming increasing the duration and frequency of droughts, bushfires are occurringmore often in these heavily logged forests, further fragmenting the orang-utan’s livingspace.AfricaIn Africa, elephants face a range of threats including shrinking living space, whichbrings them more frequently into conflict with people. With diminished living space,elephants will be unable to escape any changes to their natural habitat caused by globalwarming, including more frequent and longer dry periods, placing further pressure ontheir existence.AustraliaClimate change is affecting home range, abundance and breeding cycles of many ofAustralia’s frog species. Since frogs rely on water to breed, any reduction or change inrainfall could reduce frog reproduction. Higher temperatures contribute to the drying outof breeding pools, and as a result, to the deaths of tadpoles and eggs. Drier conditionsalso cause adult frogs to die, due to increased rates of internal water loss through theirpermeable skin.IndiaOnly 6,000 or so tigers remain in the wild, due to poaching, the loss of their habitat anddepletion of the tiger’s natural prey. Hunters, traders and poor local residents use theforest for subsistence, directly competing with the tiger. Some of the largest remainingareas where tigers occur are the mangrove forests of India. The projected rise in sealevels could cause these living spaces of the tiger to vanish altogether.Rising sea levels, melting iceGlobal warming may make the sea level become higher. Why? Well, warmer weathermakes glaciers melt. A glacier is a large sheet of ice that moves very, very slowly. Somemelting glaciers add more water to the ocean. Warmer temperatures also make waterexpand. When water expands in the ocean, it takes up more space and the level of thesea rises.Sea level may rise between 20cm and 1m during the next century. Thermal expansioncould continue for many centuries, due to the time required to transport heat into thedeep ocean. The final equilibrium sea levels could be almost 4 metres higher than pre-industrial levels.
  14. 14. This will effect both natural systems and manmade structures along coastlines. Coastalflooding could cause saltwater to flow into areas where salt is harmful, threateningplants and animals in those areas. Oceanfront property would be affected by flooding,and beach erosion could leave structures even more vulnerable to storm waves.Whether we move back from the water or build barricades in the face of a rising sea, itcould cost billions of dollars to adapt to such change. Coastal flooding also may reducethe quality of drinking water in coastal areas.The Arctic Ocean is today losing sea ice at a rate that was not expected to be reachedfor another 30 years. The summer sea ice is expected to disappear completely between2013 and 2040; a state not seen on earth for more than a million years.In 2007 the area of the Greenland Ice Sheet affected by melting was 60% greater thanin 1998.Sections 5 and 6: What can we do about climate change?What we do in the next 10 or 20 years will have a profound effect on the climate in thesecond half of this century and in the next.But what can we do?The answer is simple: we need to stop burning fossil fuels at such an alarming rate andwe need to stop destroying the rain forests.Section 5: What can governments can do? (Optional)TEACHER NOTESPutting a price on carbon; the polluter paysAlmost every aspect of economic activity results in greenhouse gas emissions. The fightagainst climate change requires a fundamental change to the basis of our fossil fuelledeconomies.The most effective way to motivate such fundamental change is to ensure that thetrue environmental cost of carbon is reflected in the cost of fuel, electricity andfood.This can be achieved through taxation, regulation and through the ‘shadow price ofcarbon’, used by the government to evaluate investment decisions.The carbon price is an amount payable per tonne of carbon dioxide released intothe atmosphere:
  15. 15. o Carbon prices around US$20-50 /tCO2 eq are felt to be sufficient to drive large scale fuel-switching and make both CCS (carbon capture and storage) and low-carbon power sources economic as technologies mature.To put this in perspective the average UK household emits approximately 9tonnes of carbon dioxide per year (excluding emissions from flights). At a carbonprice of £25 per tonne, average fuel and energy bills will rise by £225 per year. Ata carbon price of £50 per tonne, average fuel and energy bills will rise by £450 peryear.A flight to Australia and back emits over 10 tonnes of carbon per passenger whenthe effects of radiative forcing are taken into account. At a carbon price of £50 peryear, the price of the flight would rise by £500.Caps on emissions; emissions tradingKyotos clean development mechanism caps emissions by rich countries, forcing themto buy permits from poor countries to emit greenhouse gasesThe emissions trading program of the European Union is the hub of the global market;the value of EU carbon emissions trading reached $50bn in 2007.Cutting emissions from energy generationIt is estimated that 60-80% of reductions in emissions will need to come from energygeneration, by saving energy and by using carbon-free technology (renewable, nuclearand carbon capture and storage).Future energy infrastructure investment decisions (expected to total over US$20 trillionbetween 2007 and 2030) will have long term impacts on greenhouse gas emissions. Awide range of energy-supply mitigation options are available: o Fuel switching and plant efficiency o Nuclear o Hydro o Wind o Bio-energy o Geothermal o Solar PV and concentrated solar power o Coal in conjunction with carbon capture and storage (burying carbon dioxide emissions underground)
  16. 16. o Gas in conjunction with carbon capture and storage (burying carbon dioxide emissions underground)Cutting emissions from deforestationLand use and deforestation account for approximately 20% of global greenhouse gasemissions.Action to prevent further deforestation is needed urgently. Most proposals involvecountries claiming credits for valuable forests, which they could then trade.Developing countriesThe poorest developing countries will be hit earliest and hardest by climatechange, even though they have contributed little to causing the problem. Theirlow incomes make it difficult to finance adaptation.The international community has an obligation to support them in adapting to climatechange, and in switching to a low carbon economy.Developing countries are already taking significant action to decouple their economicgrowth from the growth in greenhouse gas emissions. For example, China has adoptedvery ambitious domestic goals to reduce energy used for each unit of GDP by 20% from2006-2010 and to promote the use of renewable energy. India hascreated an IntegratedEnergy Policy for the same period that includes measures to expand access to cleanerenergy for poor people and to increase energy efficiency.The Clean Development Mechanism, created by the Kyoto Protocol, is currently themain formal channel for supporting low-carbon investment in developing countries. Itallows both governments and the private sector to invest in projects that reduceemissions in fast-growing emerging economies.Section 6: What can you and your family can do?TEACHER NOTESAny activity that uses energy produced by burning fossil fuels increases the levelof greenhouse gases in the air.Transport:These activities all increase the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: o Riding in a car o Getting on a bus or train
  17. 17. o FlyingHome energy use:Unless you are using ‘renewable’ energy – eg from a wind turbine or from solar panels,these activities all increase the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: o Turning on the lights o Watching TV o Using the computer o Washing and drying clothes o Cooking a meal o Heating your water o Heating your homeFood for thought: o In the UK emissions from homes are responsible for an estimated 27% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. You and your family’s behaviour and choice and use of technologies are major determinants of your energy use. o A report by the Energy Saving Trust predicts that by 2010 the UK could waste up to £11 billion annually and emit around 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide through wasted energy, such as leaving lights on and appliances on standby. o More than 30% of the trips made by cars in Europe are for less than 2 miles and 50% for less than 3 miles. Walking or cycling will cut emissions and improve air quality, reduce congestion and improve road safety.Cutting all of these activities will help to cut your contribution to climate change: o Ride a bike or walk instead of going by car o Turn the lights off when you leave the room o Cut your TV watching. Don’t leave the TV on standby – turn it off at the wall. o Recycle as much as possible. Recycle cans, bottles, plastic bags, and newspapers. When you recycle, you send less
  18. 18. rubbish to the landfill and you help save natural resources, like trees, oil, and elements such as aluminium. o Don’t waste food o Eat less beef and dairy products. Cows produce methane which is one of the most damaging greenhouse gases. o Plant trees. Planting trees is fun and a great way to reduce greenhouse gases. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air. o When You Buy, Buy Cool Stuff. Buy recycled products which don’t use ‘new’ resources and don’t require so much energy to make. Buy energy efficient electrical goods.Ask your parents to: o Try not to fly (the emissions from flights are really high). Take the train instead: a short haul flight emits six times as much carbon per passenger as a high speed train, and 12 times as much as a coach. o Use low energy light bulbs o Turn the thermostat down o Make sure their loft and hot water tank are properly insulated to stop heat from being lost unnecessarily. o Switch to ‘green energy’. Companies like ‘Good energy’ offer energy produced by solar power and wind turbines. o Install their own solar panels or wind turbine. o Make their car as energy efficient as possible. Choose a smaller engine: small is beautiful. A 2.0 litre engine emits 40% more CO2 per mile than a car with an engine size 1.4 – 2.0 litres. They could also switch their vehicle to LPG (autogas) - it’s 40% cheaper and greener. As well as cutting CO2 emissions by 20%, they will also cut production of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide by more than half.And don’t forget to tell your friends and family what you have learnt!Section 7: Summary
  19. 19. DOWNLOADSUMMARY OF WHAT WE HAVE LEARNTAverage temperatures around the world are increasing.Whenever we burn fossil fuels or cut down trees we release greenhouse gases into theatmosphere, primarily carbon dioxide and methane.These gases trap heat in the atmosphere and warm up the earth. The more we burnfossil fuels and cut down trees, the more the earth’s surface heats up.The average temperature is expected to rise by at least 2°C by the end of this century,probably more.Whilst this doesn’t sound like much, it is enough to ensure billions of people could sufferfrom water shortages and heatwaves. In addition melting ice sheets and rising sealevels could cause flooding and the displacement of millions of people.30% of animal species are thought to be at risk of extinction.We all need to tackle climate change – by cutting our use of energy and switching torenewable sources of energy (energy produced by the sun, wind, hydro-electricity andnuclear).