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Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK

This interactive addresses the question if we can reduce CO2 emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and help avoid dangerous climate change? Users of this interactive can manipulate changes to various sources and uses (supply and demand) of energy with the goal of reducing C02 emissions in Great Britain by 80% in the year 2050.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Energy Literacy

The quality of life of individuals and societies is affected by energy choices.
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Energy affects quality of life .
Energy decisions can be made using a systems-based approach.
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5.3 Systems-based approach.
Behavior and design affect the amount of energy used by human society.
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6.6 Behavior and design.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Pair students to work through their efforts to meet the goal. Pairs can then share and compare their solutions, and discuss with whole class whether or not their solutions are realistic, given social, political and economic constraints.
  • Educator may want to discuss how evolving green energies may become even more efficient in the future. Educator may want to supplement this with material about evolving green energies and efficiency.
  • Reference background http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121217150421/http://decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/tackling/2050/2050.aspx

About the Science

  • Resource focuses on the ways humans produce and consume energy, which impacts C02 levels in the atmosphere. Students experience how the United Kingdom is engaging the public in the choices and tradeoffs to make changes in the climate.
  • Text boxes provided for each source and use present the current status of each in the UK, as well as benefits and drawbacks of increasing or decreasing each. Underlying assumptions behind connecting changes in emissions to changes in supply/demand are not explicit.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The sliders allow for an understanding of the relative impact of each change in the supply and consumption of energy. Each energy production and consumption method is well explained in detail.

About the Pedagogy

  • Interactive may not be completely straightforward - instructor may want to spend some time playing with the interactive prior to use. Results can be modified. Feedback is provided on the net sum of changes to energy supply and demand so that consequences of choices made are evident.
  • Pop-up text provides guidance to use the tool. Reference below for additional.
  • Resource illustrates that if we are going to meet C02 emission reduction goals, we need to take multiple strategies and approaches ("we can't rely on one thing"). The fact that this is frustrating is helpful for learning ("it isn't an easy problem to solve").

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Quality is good and interactive easy to use.
  • Very cool, game-like simulator that students are sure to engage with and remember. Great visuals and graphics.

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