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Pressure builds for schools to put climate change study on curriculum

Pressure builds for schools to put climate change study on curriculum

International bodies and pressure groups are calling for climate change studies to become a standard part of the school curriculum worldwide, saying the step is vital to reach targets on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation, UNESCO, said this month that environmental studies should be standard teaching in all countries by 2025.

That may seem an ambitious goal but some environmental lobbies and politicians say it is too timid.

"Without faster progress on education there will be no chance of achieving the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050," said Italian lawmaker Lorenzo Fioramonti, a former education minister.

Fioramonti championed a law which in 2020 made Italy the world's first country to make climate study compulsory in schools, but he admits that putting it into practice in the classroom has been patchy.

He resigned in a row over education funding shortly after the law was passed and so was unable to oversee its application, while the COVID-19 emergency left Italy's schools struggling to teach the usual curriculum, never mind introduce innovations.

New Zealand has since introduced climate change studies into its secondary school curriculum, and other countries such as Argentina and Mexico have taken preliminary steps to follow suit.

The Brookings Institution, a U.S. think-tank, has called for climate action projects in all schools by 2025.

It said in a March report that the ensuing changes in consumer behaviour could have a bigger impact on cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 than that from investing in wind turbines and solar power.

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