United Nations Climate Change Conference

United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2009 Global Climate Change Conference took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, where scientific and political leaders from 192 countries hoped to reach a new global agreement about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to slow climate change.

Earlier meetings (including 1992's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the 1997 conference that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change) have already established global warming as an international priority. Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was voted into existence, it has held a Conference of Parties (COP) annually. The 2009 conference is COP 15. Its attendees hoped to come up with a plan to help developing nations move toward cleaner, more sustainable energy sources and to reach an agreement for reducing carbon emissions. They also planned to continue their work toward a future, broad-reaching, legally binding agreement regarding climate change.

Science NetLinks and Thinkfinity offer these resources to help explore the ideas of sustainability, resource conservation, greenhouse gases, and global climate change in your classroom and beyond.
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  • Just Turn It Off

    Just Turn It Off

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students will probe the problem of what happens to a battery-operated flashlight when it is not turned off.
  • Energy Sources and Use

    Energy Sources and Use

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy while comparing the benefits and drawbacks of each.
  • Power Up!

    Power Up!

    3-5  |  Interactive
    In this lesson, students compare and contrast different energy sources and the trade-offs of using them.
  • Energy for You

    Energy for You

    In this lesson, students will learn about the sources of the energy that supply their community.
  • Renewable Energy Sources

    Renewable Energy Sources

    In this lesson, students will use Internet resources to investigate renewable sources of energy.
  • Energy: The U.S. in Crisis?

    Energy: The U.S. in Crisis?

    In this lesson, students research and assess past, present, and future decisions related to energy shortages.
  • Green Roof Design

    Green Roof Design

    In this student-centered learning model, students work collaboratively in small teams to design a heat- and water-conserving “green roof” of plant material for an urban apartment building.


  • Power Up!

    Power Up!

    3-8  |  Interactive
    This interactive challenges students to think about the positive and negative consequences of various types of power.

Science Updates

  • Carbon Emissions

    Carbon Emissions

    6-12  |  Audio
    Carbon gases are prime culprits in global warming. One study suggests we're making even more of them than we thought. You can learn why in this Science Update.
  • Electricity from Sewage

    Electricity from Sewage

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update we learn how researchers are using leftover material—wastewater—as a way to generate electricity.
  • Fossil Fuel Switch

    Fossil Fuel Switch

    6-12  |  Audio
    Learn about a thirty-year plan to replace 70 percent of our fossil fuels, using only current technologies like storable solar power, safer nuclear plants, and methanol from crop waste.
  • Mountain Rain

    Mountain Rain

    6-12  |  Audio
    This Science Update explores why pollution from cities could dry out nearby mountains.
  • Nitrogen Pollution

    Nitrogen Pollution

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, learn why human sources of nitrogen may be just as environmentally costly as carbon emissions.
  • Solar Power from Moon

    Solar Power from Moon

    6-12  |  Audio
    Solar power is clean, abundant, and becoming cheaper and more efficient all the time. Unfortunately, however, the sun isn't always there when you need it—like when it's cloudy, or it's raining, or it's nighttime. In this Science Update, you'll hear about an ambitious plan to get around that problem.

AAAS Resources

AAAS Climate Change Resources
Grade Band: 6-12
Description: AAAS is one of the scientific leaders on the issue of global climate change. Background materials on AAAS efforts related to climate change and links to relevant resources are provided here.

Other Resources

A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change
Grade Band: 6-8
Description: Created by the EPA, these seven lesson plans offer hands-on learning on topics ranging from the impact on rising C0₂ levels on corals to mapping greenhouse gases locally to using tree rings as a historical guide to climate change.

Earth Hour
Grade Band: 3-12
Description: The international campaign encourages governments, businesses, and private citizens to turn off all unnecessary lights for an hour in order to promote conservation of energy resources.

United Nations Climate Change Conference
Grade Band: 6-12
Description: This is the official site of the U.N. Climate Change Conference being held in Copenhagen Dec. 7-18. Official news can be found here, as well as webcasts, blogs, and additional meeting-related news.

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