The Grounding for a Fossil Fuel Free World: Integrating Climate Change Education into Secondary Schools

Gina Lovett, Claire Lambert, Eric Chu, Joyeeta Gupta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognises the importance of a shared baseline of awareness and knowledge to mobilise commitment to address climate change. Schools can provide the first opportunity for this, with life-long impact in behaviour. While Western countries are regarded as relatively “advanced” in these activities, and have higher levels of awareness, there is little literature on how states engage with climate change education and sparse empirical data on the specifics of different political and institutional arrangements that shape the implementation of such education. Against this background, this chapter addresses the question: How is climate change learning being integrated into secondary school education? It examines the policy underpinnings for climate change education and related scholarly debates. It compares England, Netherlands, France and Belgium, showing how different approaches and implementation processes favour particular competences, knowledge, values or behaviour. It concludes that a centralised policy approach is effective in widespread implementation, while a decentralised policy approach relies on the commitment of teachers. Partisan and ideological battles at the national level influence curriculum development, and political struggles influence how climate science is taught. A rounded climate change education demands political consciousness, yet is incompatible with mainstream education that accepts the status quo. Without consistent advocacy, support and direction by policymakers, climate education may stagnate, lack purpose and add to public confusion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Climate Change Communication: Vol 2
Subtitle of host publicationPractice of Climate Change Communication
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Evangelos Manolas, Anabela Marisa Azul, Ulisses M. Azeiteiro, Henry McGhie
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-70066-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-70065-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameClimate Change Management
ISSN (Print)1610-2010


  • climate change
  • education
  • education for sustainable development
  • critical policy
  • capacity-building


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