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Life Literacies and Key Skills, Media Literacy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


English Language Arts, Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills


90 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Carbon Emission Reduction Strategies

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Dec 4, 2022


In this lesson, students think critically about carbon emission reduction strategies proposed by companies. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students define greenwashing and define carbon emission reduction strategies.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students evaluate a company’s sustainability plan in regards to carbon emission reductions.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students present their findings to the class. As a class, students generate a list of which companies will and will not receive support from the students in the future.


  • Students will be assessing the validity of sustainability plans within companies which helps with critical thinking skills.

  • Students become more informed consumers.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers should try to find their school or Board of Education’s sustainability policy prior to class.

  • Teachers should be familiar with what a sustainability plan looks like.


  • Students may need help with research techniques. Teacher could give five options for students to choose from, and the students pick a company from those five options.

  • Students may need help picking a company to research. Students can focus on companies where they spend money, either online or in their neighborhood.

This lesson challenges students to analyze "green" claims and provides context to "net zero" greenhouse gas emission goals. Students are tasked with evaluating a company’s sustainability plan and then presenting their findings to classmates. The included video resources are well-sourced and highlight how greenwashing can mislead consumers and how "net zero" emission goals are often just a way for corporations to procrastinate on taking meaningful steps to mitigate climate change. This lesson is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any false reasoning or distorted evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Career Readiness, Life Literacies, & Key Skills
    • Life Literacies and Key Skills
      • 9.4.12.GCA.1: Collaborate with individuals to analyze a variety of potential solutions to climate change effects and determine why some solutions (e.g., political. economic, cultural) may work better than others (e.g., SL.11-12.1., HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-4, 6.3.12.GeoGI.1, 7.1.IH.IPERS.6, 7.1.IL.IPERS.7, 8.2.12.ETW.3).
      • 9.4.12.IML.5: Evaluate, synthesize, and apply information on climate change from various sources appropriately (e.g., 2.1.12.CHSS.6, S.IC.B.4, S.IC.B.6, 8.1.12.DA.1, 6.1.12.GeoHE.14.a, 7.1.AL.PRSNT.2).
      • 9.4.12.IML.7: Develop an argument to support a claim regarding a current workplace or societal/ethical issue such as climate change (e.g., NJSLSA.W1, 7.1.AL.PRSNT.4).
  • Teacher displays emotion vocabulary chart and conducts a poll to check-in with students and ask how they are doing today.

  • Teacher presents the resource: Yale Climate Opinion Maps.

    • Teacher scrolls through the various opinions about climate change throughout the United States.
    • On the Student Worksheet, students write two things that surprised them about the data.
  • Teacher conducts another poll to check in with students.

    • How do you feel after looking at the maps?
    • What concerns do you have?
  • Students answer the following questions:

    • What percentage of people living in the United States believe that climate change is happening?
    • What percentage of people living in New Jersey believe climate change is happening?
    • Do you think New Jersey would support companies that are working to reduce their carbon emissions or companies that are not working to reduce their carbon emissions? Use evidence from the map to support your reasoning.

  • Teacher tells students whether the school or Board of Education has a sustainability policy. If so, teachers can display the policy for the students to review.

  • Students answer if the sustainability policy includes carbon emission reduction strategies.

  • Students pick a company that they want to learn more about. Students should focus on familiar companies.

  • Students answer the following questions on a Google Slides presentation and then share with the teacher:

    • Does the company claim to be environmentally friendly?

    • Does the company have an easy-to-find sustainability policy?

    • Does the company include carbon emission reduction strategies in their sustainability policy?

    • Does this make you want to support this company more or less? Why?

  • Students present their findings of the company that they picked to the class. 

  • Students participate in a class discussion, explaining why they may or may not continue to support certain companies.

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