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Climate Action Tracker


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Social Studies, Civics, Geography

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Climate Action Tracker: Countries

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  • This comprehensive platform tracks countries' emissions targets and places each country into one of the following categories: critically insufficient, highly insufficient, insufficient, almost sufficient, and Paris Agreement compatible. 
  • Students can research individual countries to see details about historical emissions, modelled domestic pathways, fair share targets, and other details. 
Teaching Tips


  • There is a wealth of data here that can be used in social studies, mathematics, and statistics classes.

Additional Prerequisites

  • As of March 2022, there were 38 countries being tracked.
  • As of March 2022, 0 of the 38 countries' emissions targets were compatible with the 1.5°C Paris Agreement targets.
  • Useful vocabulary:
    • NDC - Nationally Determined Contribution, or what a country pledges to do to cut their own emissions
    • LULUCF - Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry, or how humans' use of land and forests emits or releases carbon dioxide (further explanation about LULUCF from the United Nations)
    • MtCO2e / year - million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent released per year
  • When exploring the page of an individual country, students can view the following:
    • A dropdown bar at the top showing historical emissions targets back through 2011 or 2012.
    • A table showing the overall rating and then ratings for policies and action, internationally supported target, fair share target, and climate finance. This table also features the net zero target year and if the country's land use and forestry management has been a historical source or sink for carbon dioxide.
    • A country summary featuring tabs for summary, targets, policies & action, net zero targets, assumptions, and sources.
    • A graph featuring both modelled domestic pathways and modelled domestic pathways based on fair share.
    • A blue button labeled "Data Download" to download data.
    • A blue button labeled "How to Read Graph."
    • Accompanying explanatory text with background information on the country.
    • Links to further analysis and latest publications.


  • There is a lot of data here and some students will most likely need help to sort through it. Grouping students to explore this data together is probably best.
  • Students can click on the "How to Read Graph" button for more detailed instructions on how to analyze each country's graph.
  • Social studies or government students can select one country and conduct research on their NDC.
  • Social studies or government classes can discuss the historic responsibility of industrialized countries' emissions and how best to decarbonize the world (i.e., have rich, industrialized countries financially assist poor, developing countries to decarbonize and gain access to renewable energy).
  • Mathematics or statistics students could analyze the graphs for individual countries and try to design better, more user-friendly graphs.
  • Students could also watch this Hot Mess video about responsibility for climate change or take this interactive ClimateScience course before or after studying the Climate Action Tracker.
Scientist Notes

Setting ambitious net zero targets can guide the implementation of Paris-aligned actions in the short and medium-term, in particular, 2030 emissions reduction goals. This tracker offers a platform that announces and evaluates nationally determined contributions (NDCs) from countries and sectors aimed at reducing CO2 levels to achieve 1.5°C, a little above the preindustrial limit. Students would gain insights on emission gaps, assessment and evaluation of benchmarks, and compatible pathways to an equitable, nuanced, and transparent net zero. Above all, this resource is recommended for teaching.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • 9-10.RI.1 Analyze what the text says explicitly as well as inferentially; cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support the analysis.
  • Social Sciences
    • Civics and Government (K-12)
      • HS.11 Analyze and evaluate the methods for challenging, resisting, and changing society in the promotion of equity, justice, and equality.
    • Geography (K-12)
      • HS.45 Identify and explain how political and economic power dynamics throughout time have influenced cultural and environmental characteristics of various places and regions.
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