Climate Talks: The Good, the Bad, the Bewildering


So far, more than 150 countries have outlined how, when, and by how much each would cut carbon dioxide emissions. So which countries are doing the most (or least) to tackle greenhouse gases? (Nat Geo News)

Use our resources to learn more about climate change and what we can do to mitigate it.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

Learn a little about a few of the countries participating in next month’s climate talks in Paris, France, with today’s MapMaker Interactive map. Which climate-change commitments are good, bad, or bewildering?
  • Does a country’s commitment to climate change correlate to its use of renewable energy? (Bookmark 1)
  • How might a country’s population and economic health influence its carbon emission policies? (Bookmark 2)
  • How does a region’s land cover influence its energy strategy? (Bookmark 3)

Discussion Ideas

  • The terrific Nat Geo News article says several countries deserve praise for their commitment to climate change. What makes these nations’ plans to cut carbon emissions “ambitious”? Click the countries highlighted in green on today’s MapMaker Interactive map for some help.
    • Mexico: Most countries want to slow the rate of increase in greenhouse gases over coming decades but “Mexico is pledging an absolute reduction,” says Drew Jones, co-director of Climate Interactive.
    • Morocco: Morocco is proposing some of the most detailed steps to reduce CO2 from land-clearing, deforestation, and agriculture. . . . [It is] already is building Africa’s largest solar-power project.
    • India: India plans to increase the electricity it can get from renewable energy to about 40 percent by 2030. One climate expert called that proposal “nothing less than gargantuan.”
    • Costa Rica: To eliminate some of the more than 1 million older cars on its streets, the country is considering a tax that would target the most-polluting older vehicles. Some lawmakers also are hoping to jumpstart a transition to electric vehicles. And the country is seeking financing for an electric commuter train.
    • Ethiopia: The country, where fewer than 20% of residents have electricity, wants to ‘leapfrog’ the fossil fuel economy and grow using green building technology, electric transportation, and renewable power.


  • The Nat Geo News article says climate proposals from Russia and Canada “need improvement.” How does landscape shared by these two northern giants allow their proposals to seem more impressive than they actually are?


  • Nat Geo News admits that comparing climate-change efforts is tricky because the standards are subjective. How would you (or your students) answer these no-right-answer questions?
    • Should a country be judged on how much it cuts emissions overall, or by how much it reduces carbon pollution on average, for each citizen?
    • Should poor countries get extra credit for trying, since most are not huge contributors to climate change?
    • Should it matter if experts think a country’s commitment is unlikely to be achieved?



Nat Geo: The Good, the Bad, the Bewildering: 10 Countries’ Climate Pledges

Nat Geo: The Good, the Bad, the Bewildering map

Nat Geo: Climate Change resources

2 thoughts on “Climate Talks: The Good, the Bad, the Bewildering

  1. No doubt National Geographic is the best source of getting information about nature. What all is happening around can be seen here.
    I’m a big fan of your blog.

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