Climate change is only one of many problems generated by global economic and industrial progress, but it has recently made the headlines in the media. The current trend towards global warming, which began with the Industrial Revolution, is causing serious concerns among scientists, politicians and individuals around the world. The dramatic decrease in seasonal sea ice formation at the poles, sea level rise, changing precipitation cycles causing prolonged droughts or floods, and the more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events are just some of the effects of global warming and climate change.

The cost in terms of human lives and loss of livelihoods is increasing, particularly in Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). No country will be spared, leaving no doubt that climate change must be addressed and adapted to tackle one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. Climate change is a complex global problem due to its interactions with many other issues, such as economic development and poverty reduction.

Developing countries are the least responsible for climate change but the most vulnerable to its effects. Poverty eradication and the improvement of living conditions through the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must remain a priority. The challenge is to achieve the SDGs while reducing carbon dependence, promoting climate resilience and ensuring balanced economic development. We must move in multiple directions: development and transfer of green technologies, reduction of greenhouse gases, and implementation of effective national policies. It is as important to provide education and training as it is to raise awareness of the issue among the widest possible audience. There is an urgent need to develop an informal global citizenship as well as to have a knowledgeable workforce and public officials who are aware of their role in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Climate change education aims tostrengthen and apply the knowledge base on climate change for building green societies. It also promotes innovative educational approaches to help a wide audience (including young people) better understand, cope with and adapt to the current impacts of global warming, in order to foster a new generation of climate-conscious citizens, while encouraging the changes in mentality and behaviour needed to set the planet on a more sustainable development path.