Climate change: education has a key role

By Mark Richmond,
 director, Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO

The latest round of international climate talks, which began on November 28 in Durban, South Africa, is focused on preventing “dangerous human interference with the climate system” by securing a new binding agreement on greenhouse-gas emissions. But the question of how to cope with the impact of climate change is also high on the agenda – and that’s where education has a vital role to play.

Climate change education should aim not only to foster public understanding of climate change and “climate literacy” among students, but also to reorient the entire education system to achieve low-emission and climate-resilient development. This includes, for example, rethinking unsustainable lifestyles and promoting responsible consumption, “greening” technical and vocational education and training, integrating disaster preparedness in education, and building safe and green schools.

UNESCO promotes climate change education as a central element of the global response to climate change through its Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development programme, within the framework of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Equipping people with knowledge, skills and values to cope with climate change and ensuring safe, inclusive and eco-friendly learning environments are a vital part of facing the challenge of sustainable development.



  1. Here is a’controversial’ statement aimed at starting a debate:

    Every agency and government wants high-level 21st century skills, that is integrated and effortless performance of complex sequences. But cognitive neuroscience research suggests that most people who lack the low-level component skills cannot catch up on their own. They may not even have enough hours in the day to catch up even supervised.

    What do the participants think? what research exists in favor or against the above?

    Furthermore, this is a “political” issue. We all want to be politically correct and say yes. What to do in the face of reality?

Leave a Reply