Toward a Climate and Energy Literate Society: What Will it Take?


The National Center for Science Education, a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California, is widely known for its work defending and supporting the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Last year, NCSE added defending and supporting the teaching of climate change to its portfolio.

On Tuesday, the organization released a new report, “Toward a Climate and Energy Literate Society,” aimed at improving climate and energy literacy in the United States over the course of the next decade.

That’s no easy feat: many Americans do not understand the basic science of climate change and energy and how they are connected.

“We have lots of information about climate change, but much of it is falling on deaf ears,” said NCSE’s Mark McCaffrey in a statement.

Here in California, a recent Field Poll found that while 64 percent of California voters believe there is sufficient evidence of global warming to justify action, overall concern about climate change has diminished since Field posed the same questions in 2007, when 76 percent of Californians responded that global warming required either “immediate action” or “some action.”

NCSE has a host of recommendations, including supporting the climate and energy-related aspects of the forthcoming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The new standards, which make teaching about climate change part of school curricula expected to be adopted by several states, are slated to be released this month.

Dana Hull Dana Hull (252 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.