What should everyone know about climate?

Image of the cover of the 2009 climate literacy guide with the text:

What does everyone need to know about climate change?

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is seeking suggestions from the community on revising a key climate literacy guide that is used by educators, policymakers, and scientists across the United States and around the world. What do you think everyone needs to know about climate change?

The previous guide, Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science, issued in 2009, was produced by a group of more than a dozen federal agencies and departments in partnership with a collection of science and educational partners including ASTC, Lawrence Hall of Science, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The 2009 guide described the fundamental knowledge and skills everyone needs for climate literacy, including the following:

  • understands the essential principles of Earth’s climate system;
  • knows how to assess scientifically credible information about climate;
  • communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way; and
  • is able to make informed and responsible decisions with regard to actions that may affect climate.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Smithsonian Institution are co-leads of the interagency federal team at USGCRP working to update the climate guide to reflect current climate science, engagement, workforce development, education methods, and include a focus on informed climate decisions. USGCRP seeks to create an updated guide that is broadly relevant and provides useful information to all people in the United States. The team is interested in personal narrative and experience; Indigenous Knowledge; local knowledge and lived experience; and technical, legal, and scientific content, or research from any discipline. 

Among the areas for which feedback is sought include the following questions:

  1. How should the updated document be structured?
  2. What topics should be included?
  3. How should topics be weighted and ordered within the document?
  4. Are there pieces that are missing from the 2009 guide?
  5. Are there pieces of the 2009 Guide that aren’t relevant anymore?
  6. What audiences do you think should use the guide?
  7. How do you see yourself or your community using this guide?

Comments can be submitted electronically at contribute.globalchange.gov until 11:59 PM ET on May 31, 2023. To submit comments, you will need to register and set up an account, but no information about commenters will be disclosed publicly.

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