Climate change and the consequences of unchecked global warming are frequently in the news. Rising sea levels, increasingly severe storms, endangered species, and freak weather phenomena all point to changes in the Earth’s climate that challenge the foundations of our civilization. Yet the topic of climate change is also polarizing. It’s not entirely clear what the most effective strategy is for reducing its threat. At the same time, making the necessary changes requires political will, cultural awareness, and financially costly global measures.
Flying in the face of all this are institutions, organizations, and individuals who are reticent to make these changes. Pseudo-science and lingering doubt continue further obscure the topic of how to address global warming and climate change.
It is arguably impossible to craft one single essay to address such an encompassing topic. Instead, it is best to pick one soundly defensible topic, put in the research, and craft an essay on climate change that either results in a firm call to action, or increases awareness. All while being careful to remember that there are likely going to be dissenting opinions.
If you’ve been challenged to craft an essay on a climate change topic, you can use the following primer to help find the right topic for your point of view, and the best structure for composing it.
Tips for Writing an Essay About Climate Change
Writing a strong essay about a climate change topic starts by exploring a few topics that you already connect with on an intellectual level. It helps to pick two or three to start. Then you need to thoroughly research those topics to find the one that you feel has the strongest and most defensible position. Building this intellectual foundation will help you make a strong and well-supported argument.
Tone and Point of View
When composing an essay on climate change it’s typically best to write from a third-person point of view. This prevents the topic from feeling like an opinion essay while communicating to the reader that you are embracing the topic objectively. Anytime that you need to offer up supporting facts in your argument, make sure to quote them directly. Make sure to include all key information including the name of the person or institution that provided the information.
Structuring a Climate Change Essay
It’s typically best to use the standard five-paragraph structure for an essay on climate change. This gives it a natural flow that is easy for the reader to connect with, while also giving you a more effective framework for offering up information that supports your thesis.
This type of structure starts with an introduction that includes a strong thesis statement. It is then followed up by three supporting paragraphs in the body of the essay, as well as a strong conclusion. Be mindful that each of the body paragraphs should have its own distinct point that is supported by strong evidence. They should flow together and stay focused on the topic, without being a continuation of one single point.
A strong introduction for a climate change essay needs to directly state the topic while inviting the reader to reexamine their preconceptions or create awareness of the depth of your chosen topic. You should use authoritative language without speaking to any opposing views in a derogatory way. The goal is to make the reader feel like you aren’t talking down to them, you are talking to them, in an educational, and objective manner.
The closing sentence or two of your introduction needs to include a strong thesis statement that supports the topic. It should also flow into the first point you will cover in the first body paragraph.
Body Paragraph I
The first paragraph of the climate change essay should have a strong connection to the thesis statement while also offering supporting evidence. Ideally, you want to use a connecting phrase such as “A growing body of research indicates,” or “The science points toward.” It helps to then follow up this statement with an outside quote or a relevant, credible source.
Body Paragraph II
The second paragraph of your climate change essay should start with some sort of transition phrase such as “Another cause of this is,” or “When we look at past trends.” Then offer up concrete supporting evidence and finish the second paragraph with a statement that helps it transition to your third point.
Body Paragraph III
Your third body paragraph of your climate change essay should also start with a transition phrase. Though this paragraph tends to be a good place to address a counterpoint to your argument, or outline to the reader what the consequences are if further action is not taken on your topic. Your third body paragraph should also end with a sentence or two that links to the conclusion.
The conclusion of your climate change essay should have an assertive tone without being aggressive. Ideally, you want to win the reader over to your original thesis with a call to action or by inviting them to reexamine the common perception of your topic.
160 Climate Change Topics
Climate change can be a controversial topic in some circles. At the same time, the science and lifestyle impact of such an immense global topic can sometimes seem overwhelming. If you are struggling to narrow in on a specific topic for your climate change essay, you might want to look through the following list of potential topics. Choose two or three that catch your eye and then do a little research to see if you connect strongly with one over another.
Climate Change & Geology Topics
- Did the mantle plume in the Siberian Traps during the Permian era affect global carbon levels in a way that is in effect today?
- How did the Carboniferous era affect global carbon levels?
- What caused the global cooling of the Cryogenian period?
- What can sediment layers tell us about the Earth’s past carbon levels?
- How do plate tectonics affect global carbon dioxide levels?
- Was the Devonian extinction caused by climate change?
- Have there been anoxic ocean events in Earth’s past?
- Did climate change influence the Cambrian explosion?
- Did the breakup of Pangea affect climate change today?
- Did climate change a factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs?
- How does climate change appear in the fossil record?
- Is there evidence of climate change events before the Cambrian period?
- Is climate change in response to the end of the ice age?
- Is climate change contributing to the elevation changes of the Great Lakes?
- What does the Great Barrier Reef tell us about past climate change events?
Politics & Legal Climate Change Topics
- What United States President’s policies had the most positive effect on climate change?
- What United States President’s policies had the most negative effect on climate change?
- What world leader had the most influence on combating climate change?
- Is the Kyoto protocol effective at combating climate change?
- Is the Paris Agreement effective at combating climate change?
- Does the carbon offset credit system truly help reduce the threat of climate change?
- Do changes of political parties in the Executive branch of government affect climate change policy?
- Should economic sanctions be placed against nations that do not adhere to global climate policies?
- Is enough being done on a political level to reduce pollution?
- Is the Clean Air Act effective at reducing atmospheric carbon and other emissions that contribute to global warming?
- Is the United Nations doing enough to combat global carbon emissions?
- Does the politics of the European Union help or hurt the fight against climate change?
- Do global trade tariffs affect climate change?
- What are the top three environmental issues affecting climate change?
- What countries in the Northern Hemisphere are most affected by climate change?
- What Asian countries are most affected by climate change?
- Is climate change a factor in global trade policies?
- Would the government incentivizing the use of mass transport help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
- Should nations have a minister or secretary of climate change?
- Should the US Farm Bill be modified to encourage polyculture practice over monoculture agriculture?
- Why do some nations ignore climate change in their policymaking?
- Are the policies of Asian nations like China driving up global carbon dioxide emissions?
- Did the Obama administration do enough to help combat climate change?
- Did the Trump administration’s policies hurt or help the fight against climate change?
- Do the current policies on inflation affect climate change by affecting consumer purchasing habits?
Climate Change Essay Topics About Ecology
- Are frozen methane deposits more of a threat than carbon dioxide emissions?
- What caused the Medieval warm period?
- Is global warming responsible for the little ice age at the end of the late Medieval period?
- How do current agricultural practices contribute to global warming?
- Are we already past the tipping point where climate change is irreversible?
- If climate change is irreversible in our lifetime, should we be preparing for sea-level rise in this generation?
- Is climate change responsible for accelerating the extinction of sea life species?
- How does overpopulation influence climate change?
- What would the impact be if Atlantic current shuts down?
- Is the melting of ice caps increasing the desalination effect on Earth’s oceans?
- What created oil deposits in the first place?
- Where did coal come from?
- Would the melting of frozen methane deposits affect ocean chemistry?
- Do plastics in the ocean affect climate change?
- Is climate change part of an ongoing mass extinction event?
- Would protecting forests reduce current atmospheric carbon emissions?
- Is human activity the number one cause of climate change & global warming?
- Does ecotourism help or hurt the efforts to fight climate change?
- Is climate change causing increased ocean acidification?
- Is it possible for some endangered species to adapt to climate change on their own without facing total extinction?
- Is climate change affecting animal migrations?
- What animal species are most threatened by climate change?
- What are the top 3 ecological effects of climate change?
- Does thawing permafrost increase global carbon dioxide levels?
- Is erosion from heavy rainfall contributing to changes in ocean chemistry?
- Does pollution, in general, contribute to climate change?
- Can climate change damage the ozone layer?
- How does anthropogenic and natural climate change differ?
- How much of Earth’s natural processes are contributing to climate change?
- Does the albedo of the Arctic Ocean affect global temperatures?
Science & Technology Topics
- Are electric cars helping or hurting global carbon levels?
- Can wind and solar power truly replace fossil fuels?
- Would relying more on nuclear power help reduce atmospheric carbon emissions?
- Is pseudoscience making it difficult to fight climate change?
- Can renewable energy technologies reduce atmospheric carbon levels?
- Is carbon monitoring technology ineffective at monitoring global carbon dioxide emissions?
- Can technology accurately model the future of climate change?
- Is technology to blame for increased global carbon levels & air pollution?
- What role can technology play in combating climate change?
- Should the scientific community do more to counter the misinformation of pseudoscience?
Health & Lifestyle Topics
- Does climate change affect human health?
- What personal care products contribute the most to climate change?
- Does a person’s travel style, flying, driving, or taking a train to have a major impact on their carbon footprint?
- Would a reduction in meat consumption help reduce atmospheric carbon emissions caused by agriculture?
- Things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint?
- Does cycling or walking to school or work truly reduce a person’s carbon footprint?
- Can use mass transit systems instead of driving really help reduce your personal carbon footprint?
- Everyday materials you can recycle to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Are diseases like COVID-19 arising as a result of climate change?
- Does climate change and air pollution put people at higher risk for respiratory health conditions?
Economics & Business Topics
- Is it cost-prohibitive to transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources?
- Would updating our energy infrastructure help reduce carbon emissions in the long term?
- Do carbon capture credits impede business growth?
- What can the private sector do to help fight climate change?
- Will automotive manufacturers profit or suffer in the long-term by transitioning to electric vehicles?
- Does the petroleum industry have too much of a lobbying influence on political policies designed to reduce global climate emissions?
- Are alternative energy companies charging too much for their products, or is it justified by their research and development costs?
- Should higher tariffs be placed on Chinese-made products until China meets global emissions standards?
- Would taxing the petroleum industry and oil companies higher hurt the economy when they pass on those costs in the price of fuel to consumers?
- Does the insurance industry profiteer off of higher rates for things like flood and storm damage coverage due to climate change as an increased risk factor.
- How does climate change affect global security?
- Can changes in mass agriculture help reduce the impact of climate change?
- Does extreme weather caused by climate change affect the global economy?
- The top 3 things the private sector can do to help combat climate change?
- Should energy companies pay higher tax rates for using fossil fuels, or would that pass on the cost to the consumer?
- Does climate change increase poverty rates?
- Does the pseudoscience of climate change affect business policies?
- What the stock market can do to affect climate change?
- Would investing in clean energy technology be a boon for the global economy?
- Does climate change make it easier to exploit the economies of developing nations?
- Is climate change responsible for the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes and typhoons in recent years?
- Is climate change responsible for increased drought events in North America?
- Can climate change affect the tectonic process resulting in higher global volcanic activity?
- Is climate change causing more La Nina and El Nino events in the Pacific Ocean, or is another climate force involved?
- What can be done to protect coastal cities from storm surges?
- What can be done to protect coastal cities and ports from rising sea levels?
- Is climate change a primary factor in the increased wildfires seen around the world in recent years?
- Is climate change affect global biodiversity?
- The effects of melting glaciers on ocean chemistry
- Does the solar cycle of solar minimum and maximum affect global temperatures?
- Is there a difference between climate change and global warming?
- Which is a greater contributor to the increase in wildfire events, climate change of deforestation?
- What is anthropomorphic climate change?
- Does climate change increase snowfall amount seasonally?
- Does the change of season affect global carbon dioxide levels?
- What does 1816 “The Year Without A Summer” teach us about climate change?
- Does solar output affect climate change?
- Can anything be done to limit the effects of extreme weather?
- Can earthquakes contribute to climate change?
- Do volcanic eruptions contribute to climate change or reduce the impact of solar radiation?
Climate Change’s Impact on Animal Life
- Climate change’s impact on sea coral
- Does climate change affect the reproductive rates of sea turtles?
- What marine mammals are most threatened by climate change?
- Does climate change affect the migratory patterns of seabirds?
- Are wildfires driving animals out of their habitat and into human-occupied areas?
- The top 3 animals at risk of extinction due to climate change.
- Climate changes impact on intertidal animals.
- How pollution affects animal life.
- Is it possible to prevent the extinction of polar bears?
- Is it possible to relocate an endangered species to a new location where it can potentially thrive? If so, what species and where?
- Does climate change affect human rights policies?
- Can social media be used to help improve climate change awareness?
- Does climate change affect poverty rates in developing countries?
- Do movies that depict extreme climate change like the Day After Tomorrow help or hurt public perception of the risk of climate change?
- Should more actors and celebrities be using their platforms to help fight climate change?
- Top 3 celebrities who are using their platform to help fight climate change.
- Top 3 celebrities who are using their platform to resist climate change awareness.
- Does asset-based community development help fight climate change?
- How does urbanization affect climate change?
- Can climate change reduce the average life expectancy of humans?
Ethics & Philosophy Topics
- Should individuals feel morally obligated to do something about climate change?
- Is “Spreading Awareness” enough to combat climate change?
- Should schools be encouraged to include more climate change topics in their curriculum?
- Parents need to provide children with climate information changed based on their age and level of understanding.
- It is the moral duty of every individual to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Concerned individuals should avoid purchasing the products of companies with a history of pollution and high carbon emissions.
- Individuals should make an active effort to adopt “Green” practices into their lifestyle.
- Top 3 things an individual can do now to reduce the impact of global warming for the next generation.
- Do we owe it to the next generation to stop climate change in the modern age?
- Are faith-based organizations morally bound to help spread awareness of climate change, pollution, and global warming?
We hope you will find our list of topics useful. Good luck with your essay writing!