Background and Context

These resources will help students develop a thorough understanding of Energy & Environment and make connections between historical events, current conversations, and current policy proposals surrounding the issue. This section includes all of the context and content previously included in Close Up’s public policy chapters.  


U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy in Historical Context

How has U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy changed throughout our history? Learn More >

U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy in Current Context

What is the current U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy? Learn More >

Climate Change

Available for Middle & High School

How should the United States work to combat climate change? Learn More >

Current Issue Debates

Current Issue Debates are framed by a central question and followed by historical context, an overview of both sides of the topic, and discussion questions to facilitate deliberation in the classroom.


Climate Resilience

Available for Middle & High School

Should the federal government provide funds for local governments to respond to the effects of climate change? Learn More >

The Green New Deal

Available for Middle & High School

Should legislators prioritize environmental justice when confronting climate change? Learn More >

Nuclear Power

Available for Middle & High School

Should the United States encourage the development of nuclear power? Learn More >

Videos from Policy Makers

Brought to you by ASP HOMEROOM, through a collaboration between Close Up Foundation and A Starting Point, these supplemental videos are an introduction to policy areas that provide an opportunity for students to hear different perspectives directly from lawmakers.


Climate Change & Extreme Weather

Congressmen Sean Casten (D-IL) & Don Bacon (R-NE)
June 9, 2021

The Keystone XL Pipeline

Congressmen Dusty Johnson (R-SD) & Jared Huffman (D-CA)
February 2, 2021


Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) & Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC)
May 13, 2021

Lesson Plans

These ready-to-use lesson plans can be utilized in conjunction with any of our resources to enhance the quality of student discourse in the classroom. Our supplemental Civic Readiness Guide provides a recommended lesson plan sequence for using our Current Issues resources.


Additional & Archived Resources on Energy & Environment


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New Congress, New Ideas?

Post | January 4, 2021

The 117th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2021.1 This is the most diverse Congress ever,2 with a record number of women and LGBTQ members, a slim Democratic majority in the House, and a Senate that is still up for grabs due to runoff elections taking place this week in Georgia.3 READ MORE: “Here’s […]

The Global Climate Strike

Post | September 25, 2019

To help students explore the climate change debate, please see our resource on climate change policy here. Over one million workers, students, and others engaged in the global climate strike on Friday, September 20, in an effort to call for more significant action to combat climate change.1 This was the third in a series of […]

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks about Green new deal in front of Capitol

So, What Is the Green New Deal?

Post | February 20, 2019

In the weeks since Democrats took over the House of Representatives, an idea has been gaining some momentum and media attention: A Green New Deal. According to CNN’s Zachary Wolf, the proposal will likely become a litmus test on the road to the Democratic presidential nomination.1 In this post, we’ll take a look at what […]

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