Commemorating Earth Day, Dingell, Shea-Porter, Markey Introduce the Climate Change Education Act to Promote Climate Literacy
Washington, DC, April 24, 2018
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) today are introducing legislation that would create a grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to assist state and local education agencies, institutions of higher education, and professional associations to improve climate literacy.
Climate change education teaches students at all age levels about climate adaptation and mitigation; climate resilience; and the effects of climate change on our environment, energy sources, and our social and economic systems. Only 30 percent of middle school teachers and only 45 percent of high school science teachers understand the extent of the scientific consensus on climate change, according to Yale University Research. Over 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that human activity is the likely cause of climate change.
The Climate Change Education Act would establish a grant program to promote climate literacy by broadening students’ understanding of climate change, the consequences of climate change, and potential solutions. It would support the application of the latest scientific and technological discoveries by promoting formal and informal learning opportunities that emphasize actionable information. The grants would also support professional development for teachers; science, technology, health and engineering education; the development of climate literacy curricula; and improve the quality of and access to training and certification for green-collar jobs.
“Since the first Earth Day in 1970, we’ve made significant progress in recognizing and combatting environmental threats to the planet, but much work remains – particularly when it comes to mitigating the real and pressing impacts of climate change,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “No one can deny that today, sea levels are rising, weather is becoming more severe, droughts are decimating crops and floods are devastating communities. This extreme weather impacts our environment and our economy, and it’s critical that our next generation of leaders have the knowledge and skills to help address this pressing problem. I am proud to work with Congresswoman Shea-Porter and Senator Markey to create a new grant program that will help prepare students to do just that while taking advantage of opportunities in the 21st century energy economy.”
“On Earth Day, we celebrate our incredible planet, but we also recognize the enormous challenges ahead of us to protect it in the face of major climate events such as unprecedented flooding and devastating superstorms that are happening across our country at a record pace,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “We owe it to our states and local governments to ensure that they are prepared with the knowledge and know-how to understand what is happening and to mitigate the impacts of these events. That’s why I worked with Senator Markey and Congresswoman Dingell to craft legislation to create a grant program to help fund climate literacy programs in our schools and institutions of higher education. Every student that graduates from high school should be climate-literate and ready to hit the ground running to counteract the increasingly devastating future effects of our changing climate.”
“The Climate Change Education Act creates opportunities for Americans to combat climate change through education, innovation, and workforce training,” said Senator Markey. “We must ensure that our teachers are informed with the most current and accurate scientific data, that our students are educated about climate change, and that our businesses are providing jobs in the new clean energy economy. By introducing the Climate Change Education Act, we’re giving students, teachers, and families the tools they need to protect our planet for future generations.”
The Climate Change Education Act authorizes $20 million a year from 2019 through 2024 to be appropriated to NOAA to establish the Climate Education program office and administer the grant program.
The legislation is endorsed by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, the Alliance for Climate Education, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the National Center for Science Education, the National Wildlife Federation, the North American Association for Environmental Education, and Earth Day Network.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are original cosponsors in the Senate. In the House, the legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Gallego (AZ-7), Hanabusa (HI-01), McGovern (MA-02), Watson-Coleman (NJ-12), and Wasserman-Schultz (FL-23).