Combating Climate Change through Quality Education

Allison Anderson
Allison Anderson
Allison Anderson Former Brookings Expert

September 16, 2010


Climate change threatens to undo and even reverse the progress made toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and poses one of the most serious challenges to reducing global poverty for the international community. However, the education sector offers a currently untapped opportunity to combat climate change. There is a clear education agenda in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, which require learning new knowledge and skills and changing behaviors in order to reduce the vulnerabilities and manage the risks of climate change. Therefore, investing in quality education to combat climate change is an essential tool in achieving the MDGs.

This brief reviews the current policies and actions on climate change and the barriers to engaging the education sector in the discussions on climate change mitigation and adaptation. At present, there is no coherent dialogue  on how to expand the climate change agenda to include education as a tool in adaptation and mitigation strategies. However, leveraging education for climate change action is indeed possible through existing international  agreements and relevant agendas. The brief presents a framework for the existing communities of practice to  mobilize around in order to promote education for sustainable development and also integrate disaster risk reduction, quality learning, and environmental and climate change education.