Six Reasons Why Climate Progress Will Continue


Regardless of possible U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, falling prices for renewables and a growing sustainability movement have changed the global picture. (Nat Geo News)

Use our great collection of resources to help students “act on climate.”

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

Wind turbines generate energy at the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Abilene, Texas.
Photograph by Joe McNally, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • President Trump will likely withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the landmark UN accord to “curb emissions to avoid a two-degree Celsius rise in temperature.” Despite this, Nat Geo says climate progress will continue due to leadership from other countries. What countries are leading the way? Look at the Nat Geo article and our own map-based study guide for some help.
    • Our analysis shows China and India are massively overachieving. The positive effects in China and India are far larger than the negative impacts coming out of the United States.” Specifically, regions throughout China and India are seeking renewable power and reducing their reliance on coal.
    • In addition to China and India, other nations from all over the world are rising to the challenge of climate change.
      • 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.
      • 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.



  • 2. Corporate America is on board. Why are fossil fuel companies such as Exxon, Shell, and BP supporting emissions targets in the Paris Agreement?




  • 5. The influence center shifts from Washington to Sacramento. Why?
    • California is the most populous state in the nation, and has the largest economy—the sixth-largest in the world (adjusted for inflation, eleventh).
    • Besides a strong labor force and robust economy, California also has a well-developed university-based research sector which could develop new and adaptive technologies through public and private investment.


  • 6. A brighter global picture. Why is the outlook for climate progress positive despite U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement?



Nat Geo: 6 Fundamental Reasons Why Climate Progress Will Continue

Nat Geo: Act on Climate

Nat Geo: Paris Climate Talks: The Good, the Bad, the Bewildering study guide and map

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