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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, History, Geography

Resource Types

  • Videos, 2 minutes, 54 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Lesson Plans
  • Ebooks

Regional Focus



Google Docs, PDF

CFR Education: Who Is Responsible for Climate Change?

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  • In this video, students will learn about the current debate about who is most responsible for causing climate change and how to address it in developing countries.
  • Students will watch a video and read a short description to learn about the disproportionate emissions from developed countries since the 1700s, why developing countries believe those developed countries should take the lead on enacting solutions, and why other countries believe climate change solutions need to be put in place in all countries, not just developed ones.
  • This is the eighth section of the World 101 Climate Change module and includes a linked lesson plan for the module and discussion guide for higher education classes.
Teaching Tips


  • There is a small amount of text below the video that defines several terms mentioned in the video for students.
  • Students will get to see both sides of a relevant climate-change debate.

Additional Prerequisites

  • At the top of this lesson, a lesson plan and discussion guide are linked. These resources are for the entire module as a whole, though there are three questions in the lesson plan to address this specific video.
  • Students should understand what a developing country is, what a developed country is, and how developed countries have disproportionately contributed to climate change.
  • Consider having students research the most recent data for greenhouse gas emissions by country, including methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide, or look at the drivers of emissions from the Our World in Data site.


  • Students can take part in a debate about the different points of view in this video, using their own research as well as what is mentioned in the video.  Have them consider what will happen in the next 25 years if developing countries continue to exponentially increase their emissions.
  • Students can further study the topic of resource exploitation mentioned in the video and connect the pressures of population growth, capitalism, and development on natural resources.
  • Students who struggle with auditory processing or need more time to read information presented visually in the video may benefit from slowing the video's playback speed.
  • Have students research the solutions to climate change and present the ones most relevant to developing and developed countries that could be enacted right away.
Scientist Notes
This video discusses who is responsible for climate change and the complexity of who is responsible to address climate change. A big part of this discussion is about industrialization and the difference between countries who are currently industrializing and those who did so years ago. The video concisely discusses why some find it unfair for developing countries to be held to similar standards as developed countries, as well as why it would be beneficial for them to meet these standards. The video is short and a good and brief introduction to the topic. The page does define key vocabulary words and links to related resources. This information presented is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.

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

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.ES.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any false reasoning or distorted evidence.
  • Related Resources


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