Math and Science In Your Life

Science, Math and Technology Resources at Empire State College

*Global Climate Change

Featured Course: Global Climate Change

What are the primary forces influencing the Earth’s climates? And what steps can be taken to adapt to or mitigate these changes? The climate change/global warming debate can seem unmanageably complex, but this course will help you understand the role of human endeavor as well as naturally occurring weather factors that contribute to climate change.

There is little doubt that the Earth’s climate is changing due to the influence of human activities. This course will guide you, with the support of engaging readings, discussions and activities, as you explore the evidence that climate change is occurring and how human activities have affected this process. You will also learn how to evaluate the accuracy of various opinions and scientific information on its possible causes and what can be done about it. Through the challenging materials presented, you will discover your own personal connection to this immense issue. 

Featured Activity: Calculating Your Personal CO2 Emissions

image lawn mower and gas canFor this assignment students calculate their annual CO2 emissions using one of the tools provided or another personal greenhouse gas calculator of their choice. Students then write a report which should include: the results from the personal calculations; a plan to reduce their CO2 emissions by 20%; and at least one personal change they will implement throughout the remainder of the course. This activity is intended to be a fun and thought provoking exercise to demonstrate how individuals can make small changes to help reduce carbon emissions. It challenges each student to confront their own personal contribution to global carbon emissions and/or reductions and to make some positive changes accordingly.


  1. Click on one of the two links below and fill out the questions to the best of your ability and record all the results.
    1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Household Emissions Calculator
    2. The Nature Conservancy: Carbon Footprint Calculator
  2. Using the CO2 emissions calculator and your results, research and develop a plan to reduce your CO2 emissions by 20%. Your plan must include the calculations and changes in lifestyle necessary to meet this 20% reduction. In a written report, explain what behavior changes you would implement and the calculations of how much CO2 you would reduce. Also cite any outside sources you use to develop this plan. At least one of these lifestyle changes should be something you can implement over the remainder of the course.
  3. Select one of these changes which you will begin implementing in week 5. Develop a weekly progress sheet to track your activities. Include the following in the document: the activity you intend to do, your overall goal for reduction, how much CO2 you will save (calculate to the best of your ability), your actual activity each week, how much CO2 you actually saved each week, and a place to comment on your progress.
  4. Submit a report with the following information:
    1. Your CO2 emissions calculator results;
    2. A plan to reduce your emissions by 20%, including a list of possible behavior changes and calculations that will you achieve this goal;
    3. The one behavior(s) you decided to change as part of this experiment; and
    4. Your weekly progress sheet to track your activity or activities.
  5. Track your weekly progress at the beginning of week 5 until the remaining duration of the course.

Track your progress each week. Submit your progress sheets at the end of each module. How much CO2 you saved (or didn’t)? How the experience was for you?