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Climate Science in a Nutshell: Where Does Carbon Dioxide Come From?

Planet Nutshell, Utah Education Network

This short video discusses where carbon dioxide, the gas that is mainly responsible for warming up our planet and changing the climate, comes from. It discusses how the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide comes directly from the burning of fossil fuels and indirectly from the human need for energy.

Video length: 2:49 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • This video provides a short overview of sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It needs to be supplemented by more thorough materials and activities.
  • Best used in conjunction with the other 10 short videos in the series.

About the Content

  • Video uses a very simplified graphic of the greenhouse effect that does not really explain it. Addresses carbon dioxide but not other greenhouse gases.
  • The claims made in this video are not supported by references in the video or on its webpage. However, this information is generally consistent with accepted science.
  • The video perpetuates a persistent misconception that fossil fuels are made of dinosaur fossils. This is shown in the cartoon but not explicitly stated.
  • The video says that atmospheric carbon dioxide is 392 ppm, but it is now over 400 ppm. The video states that most electricity is generated from coal, but that has been changing in favor of natural gas.
  • The video gives a rosy projection of how we can lower the concentration of CO2 to 350 ppm. This is somewhat misleading, given the rising emissions and the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It is presented in a simple way and visually really well prepared, but it is missing references to scientific work/literature.

About the Pedagogy

  • Engaging cartoon format.
  • The breezy style and playful animations of this video will likely engage most students. It lacks a teacher's guide, background materials, etc. that would support its use in a classroom.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This is a HD video that can easily be projected in a classroom.
Entered the Collection: May 2013 Last Reviewed: October 2016

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