Unit 1: Relationship between carbon dioxide concentration and temperature rise


Through this unit you will be introduced to core climate change concepts by reading texts (newspaper articles) about the decisions taken worldwide concerning the call for Climate Change action. Then you will collect and compare data concerning temperature and CO2 concentration rise through decades of 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and 10’s  in order to form conclusions about global trends and explore the correlation between the global temperature rise and the CO2 concentration rise.

Link for the LePlanner scenario.

Activity 1

The game you are going to elaborate on is set in the 2020s. The game’s hero, John, is reading the latest news about the decisions taken worldwide concerning Climate Change and particularly:

  • G20 leaders’ decision as regards global temperature rise
  • European Commission’s decision as regards climate neutrality.

Please read the following texts on G20 leaders’ decision regarding global temperature rise and EC’s decision regarding climate neutrality:

Leaders of the Group of 20 nations sent a symbolic message on Sunday as one of the most important climate conferences began, pledging to “pursue efforts” to keep the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

While the mention of the number, seen as a critical threshold for limiting the severest effects of climate change, is a step forward, the leaders did not say how their countries would reduce their emissions more aggressively to achieve that goal.

“We remain committed to the Paris Agreement goal to hold the global average temperature increase well below 2o C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5o C above pre-industrial levels, also as a means to enable the achievement of the 2030 Agenda”, the leaders said in a statement.

Saying they “look forward to a successful” climate conference, the leaders said, “We recognize that the impacts of climate change at 1.5o C are much lower than at 2o C.”

The New York Times “G20 leaders send a symbolic message on a key climate target.”

Under a new law agreed upon between member states and the EU Parliament, the bloc will cut carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

The EU parliament had pushed for a higher target of a 60% reduction.

“Our political commitment to becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal one,” said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

“The Climate Law sets the EU on a green path for a generation.”

BBC News “Climate change: EU to cut CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030”

Discuss with your group and answer the following questions:

  • What do you believe led so many countries to end up with such a decision concerning temperature rise and climate neutrality??
  • Do these decisions concern your country and in what way?

Activity 2

In order to start the game, please download the .zip file , extract the including folders and run the STEAM CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT.exe file.

When the game is on, meet the researcher from a global monitoring laboratory and let her guide you through your investigation.

Activity 3

Since you have finished the game, please discuss with your group and answer the question:

  • How would you explain the decision of those countries to globally reduce both the average temperature rise and the CO2 emissions?


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STEM Digitalis by Tallinn University (TLU); Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH); University of Crete (UoC); Dublin City University (DCU); and University of Groningen (RUG) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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