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Unit 1: Climate Change
Human-induced climate change is an urgent global issue and is the primary environmental
challenge of this century. Increased levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and
methane are enhancing the greenhouse effect and causing irreversible changes in the climate.
The main sources of greenhouse gas emissions are from transport, energy production,
agriculture, industrial processes and deforestation. Irish per capita emissions of greenhouse
gases are among the highest in Europe and indeed the world.
Teaching Point
Climate change is a real issue; we are part of the cause and must now find ways to tackle causes
and effects globally, nationally, locally and on an individual level.
Students will:
• Identify the main causes of climate change.
• Identify the main contributions to the problem in Ireland.
• Understand that climate change has local causes but global consequence.
• Suggest local and individual actions to deal with the issue.
Eco Eye Clips and Comprehensions
(NB remember to print and prepare these in advance).
Climate change and Ireland – an introduction
This clip introduces the topic of climate change, causes, effects and how Ireland plans to tackle
the issue.
Global effects of climate change
Here we look at the effects of climate change in different parts of the world and the countries
most severely affected like Bangladesh. It becomes clear that the poorer countries responsible for
least emissions will suffer most because of climate change.
Local effects of climate change - Protecting Dublin from flood risk
In this clip we hear about how climate change is effecting Irish weather, we look at the
consequences on a local level in Dublin (flooding in East Wall and Ringsend) and hear about
measures being taken to protect the City from flooding in the future.
Measuring our carbon footprint
What can we as individuals do to tackle climate change? We can measure our carbon footprint or
the amount of CO2 emissions each of us causes in our daily lives through our travel, energy use
and lifestyle. Duncan helps a volunteer to calculate her carbon footprint and find ways to reduce
Watch the clips (choose some or all) and complete the comprehension exercises.
1. Brainstorming
Following the viewing of the clips and the completion of the comprehensions the class should
identify and clarify their understanding of the problem both in written and graphic form.
Using questions the teacher should ask the class to:
• Outline the main causes of climate change.
• Outline the main global impacts and explore the reality of climate change for people in
different areas of the globe.
• Focus the questions on how people in Ireland contribute to the problem and the
consequences for this country over the next 50 years. Ask students:
What can they do now in relation to cutting back their emissions? (e.g. turning off
lights, walking to school)
What sustainable choices could they make in years to come:
• 10 years (e.g. buying electrical vehicles)
• 20 years (e.g. buying eco houses)
• 30 years(e.g. transport, lifestyle, holidays)
• The overarching question here is what decisions the students will be making into the
future that will have long term emission consequences (this includes work and lifestyle
2. Group work
Divide the class into three groups to draw diagrams and create posters or in other ways illustrate
the following aspects of climate change (e.g. Powerpoint presentation, short film, newspaper
• Section 1: Climate change and its causes.
• Section 2: Awareness of the problem and possible solutions.
• Section 3: Measuring our carbon footprint using the calculator at Use what they learn to encourage others to think about the
Provide students with A3 sheets of paper, markers, colouring pencils or other materials as
Group 1 students should each produce a piece of work which is designed to highlight the
enhanced greenhouse effect and its main causes. Topics covered might include, the enhanced
greenhouse effect, the sources of greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, NO2) including burning
fossil fuels and the impact of farming activities, transport and industrial processes.
Group 2 students should each produce a piece of work which is designed to highlight the
possible impacts of climate change. Topics could include issues like flooding, sea level rise,
climate change, desertification and the local impacts on agriculture and water supply. Students
work could be used as a local information campaign in the school, local library or civic offices.
Group 3 students will calculate their carbon number at and design
a campaign encouraging others to do the same.
Useful websites