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Author

MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Podcasts, 12 minutes, 20 seconds
  • Lesson Plans
  • Articles and Websites
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

Geoengineering and Climate Change

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Synopsis
  • This resource explains the benefits and risks of using geoengineering to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • The lesson leads students through a series of geoengineering articles and poses questions for discussion. 


Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The episode does a good job of explaining the moral complexities of solar radiation management.
  • A full transcript of the episode is available.
  • The accompanying Educator Guide includes a helpful glossary on p. 10.

Additional Prerequisites

  • A robust and detailed 10-page Educator Guide accompanies the podcast.
  • On page 3 of the Educator Guide, the Detailed Table of Contents lists and links to the wrong podcast episode. Students should listen to "TIL About Geoengineering."
  • The episode can be separated into the following sections:
    • The first section introduces listeners to geoengineering. (0:00-3:40)
    • The second section focuses on solar radiation management. (3:41-7:34)
    • The third section questions who is in charge of geoengineering. (7:35-9:54)
    • The last section is a call to action. (9:55-11:01)

Differentiation

  • Social studies, civics, or government classes could have a debate about who should make geoengineering decisions.
  • Science classes could do group research projects on the following topics: increased albedo, cloud seeding, cirrus thinning, stratospheric aerosol injection, and space mirrors.
  • Other resources on this topic include this Grist video on geoengineering, this Hot Mess video on using space mirrors to cool the earth, and this video on why geoengineering might be necessary.
Scientist Notes
This resource includes a podcast in which an MIT expert is interviewed and discusses geoengineering proposals for addressing climate change. Geoengineering strategies are compared to alternative strategies including mitigation and adaptation strategies. Specifically, carbon capture, solar radiation management, and stratospheric aerosol injection strategies and their uncertainties and risks are discussed. A transcript and educator's guide, along with additional resource links, are provided. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS.ESS2.4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • HS.ESS3.6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity (i.e., climate change).
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS.ETS1.1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS.ETS1.3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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