From education to employment

A groundbreaking new agenda on education for climate action

Education for climate action, new report released

With England experiencing the driest summer in more than 100 years and facing temperatures surpassing 40C for the first time, I am reminded that education’s role in resilience and adaptation to a changing climate, climate justice, and in preparing young people for the green economy, was virtually absent at COP 26.

However, did you know that education can help fight the climate crisis? Teaching climate literacy for behaviour change can reduce emissions by up to 37%. Out of 80 strategies to combat the climate crisis, scientists ranked girls’ education at number 6 – higher than solar panels and electric cars. Handled correctly, the transition to a green economy could deliver new jobs in sustainable economies; failure could result in mass unemployment and undermining public support for climate action.

Determined not to waste the transformative power of education for our planet, I have been working closely with inspirational education leaders Safeena Hussein of Educate Girls, Liesbet Steer at the Education Commission, Max McCabe of the Education Outcomes Fund, Suzanne Ehlers from Malala Fund, and Lane McBride at the Boston Consulting Group, to author a report outlining how we can activate ‘education for climate action’ as a critical element of global efforts for emissions mitigation and climate resilience and adaptation.

More than 130 countries have committed to net-zero by 2050, this requires halving emissions each decade. While the current focus on technological innovations may help to accomplish the first reduction, the second and third will require major behavioural change by a new generation of committed citizens. Education also has a crucial role to play in building the workforce for a new, greener economy. Absent much greater progress on education for climate action, there will be no chance of reaching net zero.

I urge you to read the full report and take note of our calls to action for governments, donors and practitioners. Do join us in our journey to capitalize on education’s power to save the planet.

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