11 Smart Sources to Support Your Climate Change Essay

Most of us have heard about melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and increasing temperatures across the planet. (Did you realize July 2019 was the hottest month on record?)

Because global climate change is frequently in the news, we also have a pretty good working knowledge of the topic. We can probably hold our own in a conversation about it.

What happens, though, when your own knowledge isn’t enough, and you need to write a research paper about climate change?

If you guessed that you need to locate credible research sources, you’re exactly right.

Not sure where to start? Check out these 11 smart sources to support your climate change essay.

image of earth with fiery sky and water

11 Smart Sources to Support Your Climate Change Essay

I’ve divided this list of climate change sources into categories to help you locate sources about the history, causes and effects, and strategies to reduce climate change.

I’ve also included two websites that cover an array of climate change topics (just in case you’re looking for even more information).

This list also includes both APA (7th edition) and MLA (8th edition) citations for your References page or Works Cited list, respectively. (Need APA 6th edition? Visit this page for the correct formatting.)

2 sources on the background and history of climate change

To help your audience understand the evidence that has led to the current understanding of climate change, consider citing one (or all) of the resources below.

These resources might also be useful in an argument to illustrate the changes in climate throughout the Earth’s history.

1. Historical Overview of Climate Change Science

This is the first chapter of a longer report about climate change. The chapter begins with an overview of earth science but focuses on the history of climate change and the current understanding of the topic.

If you feel like this chapter is so long that you’ll never remember where information is located, don’t forget to brush up on your annotation skills.

APA 7 Citation:

Le Treut, H., Somerville, R., Cubasch. U., Ding, Y.,  Mauritzen, C., Mokssit, A., Peterson, T., & Prather, M. (2007). Historical overview of climate change. In S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. B. Averyt, M. Tignor, & H. L. Miller [Eds.], Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 93–122). Cambridge University Press. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/03/ar4-wg1-chapter1.pdf

MLA 8 Citation:  

Le Treut, Herve, et al. “Historical Overview of Climate Change Science.” Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by S. Solomon et al., Cambridge University, 2007, pp. 93–122. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/03/ar4-wg1-chapter1.pdf.

2. Climate Change by the U.S. Global Change Research Program

This article includes an overview of climate change and additional sections that discuss how climate change occurs, how it affects the planet, and how people can work to combat climate change.

Published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, this government website easily passes the CRAAP Test.

APA 7 Citation:

Climate change. (n.d.). U.S. Global Change Research Program. https://www.globalchange.gov/climate-change

MLA 8 Citation: 

“Climate Change.” U.S. Global Change Research Program, www.globalchange.gov/climate-change.

4 sources on the causes and effects of climate change

polar bear resting on boulder


The sources below discuss the causes and effects of climate change, but keep in mind that you can cite these sources for more than just cause and effect essays.

An argumentative essay, for instance, might cite these sources to argue the most significant cause of climate change or argue the most devastating effects of climate change.

The sources might also serve you well if you’re writing a problem-solution essay (or including a discussion of the problem and its solution in the context of another type of essay).

1. What Is Causing Climate to Change?

This brief article lists key causes of climate change and links to other resources about the effects of climate change.

The article is published by the Committee on Climate Change, an advisory committee in the UK. The committee’s purpose is “to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change.”

APA 7 Citation: 

What is causing climate change? (n.d.). Committee on Climate Change. https://www.theccc.org.uk/tackling-climate-change/the-science-of-climate-change/climate-variations-natural-and-human-factors/

MLA 8 Citation:

“What Is Causing Climate Change?” Committee on Climate Change, www.theccc.org.uk/tackling-climate-change/the-science-of-climate-change/climate-variations-natural-and-human-factors/.

2. Effects of Climate Change

Covering the areas of causes, impacts, and potential solutions, this article also links to specific discussions of the impacts of climate change on various animal species and their environments.

Even though the World Wildlife Fund could have potential bias as an organization whose goal is to help wildlife, the website does provide credible information.

APA 7 Citation: 

Effects of climate change. (n.d.). World Wildlife Fund. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/effects-of-climate-change

MLA 8 Citation: 

“Effects of Climate Change.” World Wildlife Fund, 2019, www.worldwildlife.org/threats/effects-of-climate-change.

3. Climate Change Impacts

This article is published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Commerce). It addresses the impact of climate change on water, temperature, ecosystems, and society.

APA 7 Citation:

Climate change impacts. (2019, February). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/climate-education-resources/climate-change-impacts

MLA 8 Citation: 

“Climate Change Impacts.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Feb. 2019, www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/climate-education-resources/climate-change-impacts.

4. Climate Change Could Raise the Risk of Deadly Fungal Infections in Humans

In this article, the writer reports that scientists are studying fungal infections in humans and examining how fungus, because of warming temperatures on Earth, may now be more tolerant to the human body temperature.

Infections of the fungus C. auris, for instance, can cause blood, brain, and heart infections. These infections could prove to be fatal in at least 30%–60% of cases.

This article is considered credible as it is published by Science News, “an independent, nonprofit source of accurate information on the latest news of science, medicine and technology.”

APA 7 Citation:

Cunningham, A. (2019, July 26). Climate change could raise the risk of deadly fungal infections in humans. Science News. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/climate-change-could-raise-risk-deadly-fungal-infections-humans

MLA Citation:

Cunningham, Aimee. “Climate Change Could Raise the Risk of Deadly Fungal Infections in Humans.” Science News, 26 July 2019, www.sciencenews.org/article/climate-change-could-raise-risk-deadly-fungal-infections-humans.

3 sources on reducing the effects of climate change

Though no one has developed any solutions to climate change, the resources below illustrate potential strategies for reducing its effects.

pair of very large trees with sun setting behind them

1. Don’t Burn Trees to Fight Climate Change—Let Them Grow

McKibben, a former New Yorker staff writer and the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, argues that cutting trees and using them (in various forms) as fuel is not a solution to climate change.

This process does not immediately cancel out carbon emissions when trees regrow and thus absorb the carbon. Instead, he argues, the process of absorption happens over time as the trees regrow.

The problem, he states, is that this process is entirely too long, and it will be too late as damage to the climate will have already occurred.

APA 7 Citation:

McKibben, B. (2019, August 15). Don’t burn trees to fight climate change—Let them grow. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/dont-burn-trees-to-fight-climate-changelet-them-grow

MLA 8 Citation: 

McKibben, Bill. “Don’t Burn Trees to Fight Climate Change—Let Them Grow.” The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2019, www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/dont-burn-trees-to-fight-climate-changelet-them-grow.

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2. Urban Forests Are Crucial for Combating Climate Change, but Planting More Trees Is Easier Said Than Done

Published by the Boston Globe, this article explains how Boston initially announced in 2007 that it would plant 100,000 new trees by 2020. But the project was abandoned because of the city’s population and officials’ concerns over maintaining current trees.

The author, however, argues that urban forests are essential in order to (among other things) absorb carbon, provide shade, reduce dependence on air conditioning, and prevent stormwater runoff.

APA 7 Citation:

Crawford, A. (2019, August 19). Urban forests are crucial for combating climate change, but planting more trees is easier said than done. Boston Globe. https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2019/08/16/urban-forests-are-crucial-for-combating-climate-change-but-planting-more-trees-easier-said-than-done/Tu48OZUMQnjy0RR8CBma4K/story.html

MLA 8 Citation: 

Crawford, Amy. “Urban Forests Are Crucial for Combating Climate Change, But Planting More Trees Is Easier Said Than Done.” Boston Globe, 19 Aug. 2019, www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2019/08/16/urban-forests-are-crucial-for-combating-climate-change-but-planting-more-trees-easier-said-than-done/Tu48OZUMQnjy0RR8CBma4K/story.html.

3. Could Wooden Buildings Be a Solution to Climate Change?

Published by the BBC, this article argues that wooden structures are more eco-friendly than other building types as they reduce the amounts of steel and concrete used (which contribute to the amount of carbon dioxide in the air).

The writer even argues that “the best form of carbon sequestration is to chop down trees: to restore our sustainable, managed forests, and use the resulting wood as a building material.”

APA 7 Citation:

Smedley, T. (2019, July 25). Could wooden buildings be a solution to climate change? BBC. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190717-climate-change-wooden-architecture-concrete-global-warming

MLA 8 Citation: 

Smedley, Tim. “Could Wooden Buildings Be A Solution to Climate Change?” BBC, 25 July 2019, www.bbc.com/future/story/20190717-climate-change-wooden-architecture-concrete-global-warming.

2 additional climate change resources

city with smoggy haze hanging in air

If you’re looking for specific data, a topic a bit more narrow than “climate change,” or simply want a few additional sources for your paper, the two websites below offer links to a variety of additional climate change information.

1. NASA—Global Climate Change

This NASA website includes an array of climate change topics, including news stories, evidence, causes, and effects of climate change.

The website also links to a Climate Resource Center, which is “an extensive collection of global warming resources for media, educators, weathercasters and public speakers.”

APA 7 Citation (example page from website):

Vinas, M. (2019, August 13). NASA studies how arctic wildfires change the world. NASA. https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2902/nasa-studies-how-arctic-wildfires-change-the-world/

MLA 8 Citation (example page from website):

Vinas, Maria-Jose. “NASA Studies How Arctic Wildfires Change the World.” NASA, 13 Aug. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/news/2902/nasa-studies-how-arctic-wildfires-change-the-world/.

2. Climate Change Research Group, International Institute for Environment and Development 

The International Institute for Environment and Development is an independent research organization operating globally. One of its four research groups focuses on climate change. Accordingly, the website offers a host of resources, including blogs, projects, and links to additional research.

APA 7 Citation: (example page from website)

Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation. (n.d.). International Institute for Environment and Development. https://www.iied.org/ecosystem-based-approaches-climate-change-adaptation

MLA 8 Citation: (example page from website)

“Ecosystem-Based Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation.” International Institute for Environment and Development, www.iied.org/ecosystem-based-approaches-climate-change-adaptation.

So You Have a List of Climate Change Sources…Now What?

photo of earth from space

This list of sources may be all you need to get started with your climate change essay. But there’s a good chance that you’re still looking for additional information.

If you’re looking specifically for information about global warming, read 12 Global Warming Articles to Help Your Next Essay.

Need help with finding additional resources? Check out five sources that can help with writing a research paper.

For a few tips on how to get rolling on your paper, take a look at the following posts:

Interested in reading a few example papers about climate change before you tackle your own essay? Check out these essays from our library:

Have you completed a draft of your climate change essay but want to ensure it will make the grade? Let a Kibin editor help. We’ve edited tens of thousands of essays and are standing by 24/7 to help you with yours.

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