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Nigel Topping


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Economics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 12 minutes, 23 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

3 Rules for a Zero Carbon World

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  • In this TED video, Nigel Topping, the UN's High-Level Climate Action Champion, outlines three key rules that will help the global economy achieve a zero-carbon future. 
  • Students will learn that each industry will have to harness ambition loops, set exponential goals, and create shared action pathways to eliminate greenhouse emissions. 
Teaching Tips


  • Nigel Topping shares his pathway to becoming involved in climate action, which could inspire students to consider similar careers.
  • The video emphasizes the importance of telling positive stories about the future of our planet.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video is best for advanced students as it is dense and uses business language.
  • Students should have a strong understanding of climate change.
  • Subtitles and transcripts are available in 12 languages; however, the transcript is not available in English.


  • Teachers could pause the video throughout to debrief and help students understand the language.
  • Economics, business, politics, and government classes could discuss the way that Nigel Topping sees systems as sets of repeating patterns.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on using economic tools to achieve environmental goals and this timeline on the UN climate talks.
Scientist Notes
This 12-minute TED talk is a presentation of three rules that can help drive collaborative action and innovation within industries and the economy. It's a business language-heavy video that might be difficult to follow for students unfamiliar with business language but is otherwise a good way to learn about how economic and business innovation geared towards climate action takes place. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
      • D2.Civ.14.9-12 Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.15.9-12 Explain how current globalization trends and policies affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of citizens, the environment, and resource and income distribution in different nations.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
      • D2.Eco.4.9-12 Evaluate the extent to which competition among sellers and among buyers exists in specific markets.
      • D2.Eco.7.9-12 Use benefits and costs to evaluate the effectiveness of government policies to improve market outcomes.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.11.9-12 Evaluate how economic globalization and the expanding use of scarce resources contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among countries.
      • D2.Geo.12.9-12 Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.
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