A scoping review on climate change education

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Veruska Muccione , Tracy Ewen, Saeid Ashraf Vaghefi


Escalating climate impacts predicted in the past decades are now a reality almost everywhere on the planet, and the time-critical dimension of the climate crisis means that the coming years will be instrumental in securing a climate resilient future for generations to come. Education is central to promoting climate action, yet the role that climate change education plays in advancing climate awareness, action and advocacy, and helping to enhance resiliency for young generations and the public at large is poorly understood. Here, we provide a first-of-its kind mapping of the literature on climate change education to better understand topic relationships and spatial distribution, and highlight potential new avenues for research on climate education. Machine learning methods including semantic analysis, geoparsing and topic modeling are used to support our study. Topic modeling shows that climate change education is a very interdisciplinary field of research well embedded in key climate change research topics including climate change adaptation, disaster risks and education, mitigation and sustainability, with the bulk of the literature situated in social science research, followed by topics on agricultural and adaptation, and education topics including methodologies, paradigm shifts, and research methods. Central to climate change education is the methodological dimension of teaching and educating either through formal or informal methods. Topic clustering reveals that topics including energy, renewable energy, fossil fuel and emissions are visibly far from topics school, teacher and science. As expected, social research lies in the middle and overlaps at the periphery with most other topic clusters, except with topics of energy mitigation, disaster risk, and medical health. Through geoparsing, country mentions and case studies are largely skewed towards the English speaking countries and in particular the United States– though this is not always the case when we look at more specific topics. This study should stimulate more targeted research into the specific topics that have emerged. Our findings also call for a strong incentive for governments to react on funding for further research into climate change education, also stimulating a global exchange of ideas through support and incentives for open science. More broadly, climate change education should be compulsory at all levels of formal education, ensuring a comprehensive curriculum of all relevant topics.




Planetary Sciences


climate change education, climate literacy, climate action, big literature


Published: 2023-07-28 07:36

Last Updated: 2023-07-28 14:36


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Data Availability (Reason not available):
Our methodological approach is documented in the method section of the paper and scripts for the paper selections and analysis can be accessed here: https://github.com/vmuccion/ClimateEducation_AI. The primary data presented in this manuscript included survey extraction of information from peer-reviewed articles. The search strategy for the article is documented in the manuscript and it is reproducible through the Web of Science and Dimension API.

Conflict of interest statement:
The authors declare non competing interests.