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Council on Foreign Relations


11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Civics, Geography, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Scientific Papers or Reports, 47 pages

Regional Focus

North America, United States, South and Central America



Climate Change and Regional Instability in Central America

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  • This discussion paper and introductory article details how climate change will exacerbate instability in Central America and poses recommendations for how to mitigate the instability described.
  • Students will learn about the environmental, socioeconomic, and political conditions that have led to the problems detailed, as well as the local and global instability that may occur.
Teaching Tips


  • This report is incredibly thorough and will deliver a wealth of knowledge on this topic.
  • Students will benefit from the structure of the report, which is clearly laid out in the introductions and utilizes headings and subheadings to promote informational reading strategies. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have an understanding of how climate change can affect communities and businesses before reading this text.
  • You can download the PDF for free but you can also purchase the e-book or print version from the links provided.


  • Cross-curricular connections can be made in science and health classes that are studying the impacts of climate change on human populations. 
  • This paper could be read as a class or assigned in chunks, as it contains so much information. Consider working through the "Introduction" and "The Effects of Climate Change in Central America" together, then have students read the other sections and return to the whole-class for a conversation. 
  • Have students reflect on the recommendations suggested in the resource. Which do they think are most likely to be adopted? Which could have the largest impact? Which do they think is the most important? Is there anything else they might recommend?
Scientist Notes
This website provides a brief synopsis of a discussion paper (provided as a PDF) published by the Council on Foreign Relations. The paper discusses the effects of climate change risks as catalysts for regional displacement (migration). Major weather events in addition to irregular precipitation patterns, deforestation, and high temperatures are increasingly contributing to upending livelihoods and rampant food insecurity. There is a discussion on how the most impoverished are disproportionately affected by climate change. These topics are then related to migration policy and the need for change.

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

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.11-12.1 Accurately cite strong and thorough textual evidence, (e.g., via discussion, written response, etc.), to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferentially, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
      • RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
      • RI.11-12.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
      • RI.11-12.10 By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at grade level text complexity or above with scaffolding as needed. By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at grade level text complexity or above.
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