The American Chemical Society (ACS) has created an online toolkit that enables scientists and the general public to educate themselves on the basic science of climate change. According to the ACS, the Climate Science Toolkit “is designed to equip you with the information and other resources necessary to develop a robust intellectual structure that can be the basis for your discussions with others”. The toolkit was created by the ACS Climate Science Working Group, appointed by the ACS President Bassam Shakhashiri in 2012. ACS stresses the importance of a basic understanding of the atmospheric mechanism responsible for the climate.
The toolkit is organized in a modular format so that a person can enter various parts of the toolkit, based on their existing knowledge. A good way to start using the toolkit is to enter the FAQ section. This section provides questions and answers to common topics brought up when discussing climate change. The answers include a number of links to any topic that may need further explanation.
The rest of the toolkit is split into four main topics, which are then separated further into a range of subtopics. The four main topics include Energy Balance & Planetary Temperatures; Atmospheric Warming; Greenhouse Gases; and Oceans, Ice and Rocks.
The four modules go into a fair amount of detail and provide an extremely useful resource to understand the complete science behind the atmosphere, greenhouse gases and climate change. It is an especially good resource for scientists who may not have a full knowledge base on climate change, but can easily understand the science behind it. ACS believes that “scientists, including chemists, bear a responsibility for understanding climate science themselves and helping others who are not scientists be attentive to the issues relevant to maintaining the climate”.
The toolkit also provides three powerpoint presentations geared towards sharing information on climate science to three specific groups, the public, educators and industry professionals.
Finally, the toolkit provides narratives and other materials that scientists and educators can use to engage discussion on climate change. These scripts can be used when discussing climate science with non-scientist audiences. They include topics such as What is the Greenhouse Effect; Can Humans Be Changing the Climate; Weather and the Greenhouse Effect; and Climate Has Changed Before.
The ACS Public Policy Statement on Climate Change states “Climate change education for the public is essential to informed rational personal choices”. The toolkit provides a vast array of materials and resources useful for both the science community and the general public to support climate science education.