NSTA Position Statement: The Teaching of Climate Science

Original statement published by the National Science Teaching Association 

The Teaching of Climate Science

List of position statements


The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) acknowledges that decades of research and overwhelming scientific consensus indicate with increasing certainty that Earth’s climate is changing, largely due to human-induced increases in the concentrations of heat-absorbing gases (IPCC 2014; Melillo, Richmond, and Yohe 2014). The scientific consensus on the occurrence, causes, and consequences of climate change is both broad and deep (Melillo, Richmond, and Yohe 2014). The nation’s leading scientific organizations support the core findings related to climate change, as do a broad range of government agencies, university and government research centers, educational organizations, and numerous international groups (NCSE 2017; U.S. Global Change Research Program 2017). According to the National Academy of Sciences, “it is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate” (NAS 2014). Scientific evidence advances our understanding of the challenges that climate change presents and of the need for people to prepare for and respond to its far-reaching implications (Melillo, Richmond, and Yohe 2014; Watts 2017).

The science of climate change is firmly rooted in decades of peer-reviewed scientific literature and is as sound and advanced as other established geosciences that have provided deep understandings in fields such as plate tectonics and planetary astronomy. As such, A Framework for K–12 Science Education (Framework) recommends that foundational climate change science concepts be included as part of a high-quality K–12 science education (NRC 2012). Given the solid scientific foundation on which climate change science rests, any controversies regarding climate change and human-caused contributions to climate change that are based on social, economic, or political arguments—rather than scientific arguments—should not be part of a science curriculum.

Read NSTA’s complete statement…

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