The Climate Change Education Act

Federal Policy

The Climate Change Education Act

The Climate Change Education Act

The Climate Change Education Act was initially created by then Senator Barack Obama and Representative Michael Honda in 2007. The Campaign for Environmental Literacy organized stakeholders to push for passage of this bill, and has led the subsequent efforts to reintroduce and pass the bill four times since then.

The Climate Change Education Act creates an Office of Climate Change Education at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and authorizes up to $40 million for that office to make the following four types of grants:

  1. Grants to State educational agencies, in partnership with local educational agencies and local nonprofit organizations, to implement state climate literacy plans for formal and informal climate change education for the purpose of at least one of the following:
    1. Relevant teacher training and professional development,
    2. Changes to relevant subject-area education standards to incorporate key climate principles and concepts
    3. Development of climate change education educational frameworks and model curricula
    4. Creation of applied learning project-based models
    5. Development of career and technical education career tracks for green collar jobs.
  2. Grants to individual colleges and universities as well as partnerships and networks of colleges and universities to support faculty and student teams to develop applied climate research and deliver direct services related to local climate mitigation and adaptation issues to local communities.
  3. Grants to Professional associations and academic disciplinary societies for projects that build capacity at the State and national levels for continuing education by practicing professionals and the general public in green economy fields.
  4. Grants to youth corps organizations to engage in community-based, coastal climate mitigation and adaptation work that includes a substantive educational component.

Senate Sponsors:

House Sponsors:

Endorsing Organizations

National Organizations:

Campaign for Environmental Literacy

US Green Building Council Center for Green Schools

National Wildlife Federation

American Federation of Teachers


Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

National Center for Science Education

Second Nature

National Science Teaching Association

North American Association for Environmental Education

The Paleontological Research Institution

Alliance for Climate Education


Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN)

National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation

StormCenter Communications



Earth2Ocean, Inc

Strategic Energy Innovations

Shelburne Farms

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

State Education and Environment Roundtable

Captain Planet Foundation

State Organizations

Rhode Island Environmental Education Association

Ten Strands

Climate Dads

Climate Resolve

PS 90 (NYC)

  • Alliance for Climate Education
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • Campaign for Environmental Literacy
  • EarthDay Network
  • National Center for Science Education
  • National Recreation and Park Association
  • National Science Teachers Association
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • North American Association for Environmental Education
Endorse the Bill

Brief History of the Climate Change Education Act

This bill was initiated by Congressman Michael Honda (D- CA15) in the House in early 2007 (110th Congress) as the Global Warming Education Act. Later in 2007, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) introduced the same bill in the Senate. It intended to create a new program at the National Science Foundation to fund states, municipalities, educational institutions, and other organizations to create materials, develop K-12 science curriculum and, publish global warming and climate science information.

The bill was re-introduced in 2009 (111th Congress) by Representative Honda, but without a companion bill in the Senate. It was not reintroduced in the 112th Congress. Representative Honda reintroduced it again in 2009 (113th Congress), shifting the program from NSF to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and changing the name to the Climate Change Education Act. He again reintroduced it in 2015 (114th Congress).

Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) took over the Senate leadership of the bill in 2016 (114th Congress), and reintroduced it that year. Senator Markey also introduced the bill as an amendment to the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, which was narrowly defeated: 44 to 53.

In 2018, Representative Carol Shea-Porter took over the House leadership when Rep. Honda retired, and reintroduced the bill. Senator Markey reintroduced the bill in 2018 as well.