Carbon Literacy: Knowledge (CLK)


The Carbon Literacy: Knowledge (CLK) E-learning Framework has been developed to assist organisations and trainers in delivering Carbon Literacy. The framework meets almost all of the requirements of the “Knowledge” component of the Carbon Literacy Standard. As Carbon Literacy must be customised to be immediately relevant to its recipient audience. Therefore, we have adapted the framework to suit the audience who will be participating in it. As a result, a number of “flavours” of CLK are available to audiences from the relevant sector.

Currently these are:

1: Registered Providers of Social Housing  (CL4RPs members and other housing associations)

2: Local Authorities (Via The Carbon Literacy Project)

3: Fire and Rescue Services (via GMFRS)

4: Large Commercial Organisations (Via The Carbon Literacy Project – in development)

5: Carbon Literate Citizens (Via a consortium of community training organisations – in development)

If you fall into a different sector and are interested in purchasing CLK to help with your delivery of CL, please contact us and we’ll talk you through the process and options.

Because of the requirement for working with others and for personal and group action, a learner cannot currently become fully Carbon Literate through online learning alone, but completion of a customised CLK course generates a CL Knowledge interim certificate, with the learner being approximately half-way through their “day’s worth of training” to become Carbon Literate.


The course covers the basic science of climate change, in a structured and easy to navigate way, as part of the journey towards a low carbon culture. The framework content has been developed by The Carbon Literacy Project, on behalf of The Carbon Literacy Trust, by Cooler Projects CIC and Virtual College, with generous sponsorship from Westford Mill.


This e-learning course is optional and is not the only way that learners can become Carbon Literate. However, using CLK provides an easily-accessible, hassle-free, consistent package that ensures your learners will meet the Knowledge criteria of the Carbon Literacy Standard, whilst allowing them to work at their own pace, as convenient, and potentially with fewer challenges of availability and cost than face to face training. For useful tips and more information click here.


CLK collates the latest scientific evidence and thinking from climate change scientists across the world. Wherever possible, all material is referenced back to the original sources, studies, webpages and other resources so learners can follow the information back to its root if they wish. The framework has been written in such a way as to allow regular updating by the The Carbon Literacy Project as numbers change to ensure that the quality of the information passed on to learners remains at the highest standard, and that the science is as up to date as possible.

Because of the requirements of the CL Standard for learning to be relevant to the learners own environment, courses adapted from the framework are packed with specific information that will maximise help for learners in their own situation and setting. Expect facts, impacts, effects, case studies and signposting to further help and information, all customised so that it is tailor-made for learners from the relevant sector.

Carbon Literacy: Knowledge

What’s involved? :

There are 8 sections to complete, and these take a learner through the basics of climate change science, how climate change is already affecting us and the rest of the world, and what we can do to help.

Typical learners take approximately three hours in total, to work through all 8 sections, but this time will vary between learners: Each section has been designed to ensure learners cover enough information to meet the standard but have the option of either moving on having met the minimum requirement or staying and exploring further – sometimes extensively.

Each section covers the ‘need to know’ basics using text and video, whilst hosting additional ‘satellite’ information (key facts, snippets, case studies and similar in an infographic format) Learners can choose to interact with additional sections or not, depending on their own interests. Each section is interspersed with activities and challenges to actively engage and inspire, and most finish with a quiz.

The 8 sections are: –

1. What Greenhouse Gases are, and their relationship to weather and climate;

2. How climate here and elsewhere is likely to change, and how we know this;

3. How changes in the climate are likely to affect us in the UK and in other parts of the world;

4. How our actions impact on the amount of greenhouse gases produced and the impact that they have;

5. What we can do to reduce our impact and the benefits and disadvantages of taking action;

6. What we are already doing locally and nationally;

7. Where we can go to get help. What help is available to us;

8. How we can motivate others to take action, including gaining the confidence to express our carbon literacy to others.

Becoming Carbon Literate:

Following completion of CLK, a learner will be about half-way towards becoming Carbon Literate.

Carbon Literacy  requires an element of peer to peer learning, and group enquiry within the course. As a result, most organisations using e-learning as a component, use it to provide the consistent foundation knowledge (often preceded by a short meeting or workshop to explain the significance of the training) and then follow it up with (roughly) half a day of face to face work on issues relevant to that organisation, to meet the peer to peer and group enquiry and action requirements of the training.

For more information about designing a piece of training and Criteria-Checking to meet the requirements of Carbon Literacy, please see our 13-Step Guide , the Exec Summary or Full version of the Standard, the Criteria Checker document (Word or PDF), and /or get in touch.

“How is a learner assessed through CLK?” :

CLK contains a number of fun and informative challenges throughout, and concludes with a multiple-choice evaluation that tests what the delegate has learnt throughout the course.

Naturally, in order to ensure a CLKbaseline level of knowledge and engagement has been met, the learner needs to pass this final evaluation in order to pass the CLK course and receive their interim CLK certificate, and learners are allowed three attempts, whereby their login will remain available to them so that they can return to refer back to the module as a resource in between attempts.

Climate change is a serious topic of conversation, but we do try to keep things as light as possible. However due to the nature of the topic, learners shouldn’t expect an easy ride – but the learner is supported through her or his journey, and signposted to sector-specific resources, organisations and bodies that can help them both during and after the training.

If a learner is not able to pass the test after three attempts there are a few points to consider: –

– Has the learner been mindful throughout the process of completing CLK?
– Are there language barriers that the learner may have experienced?
– Are there any other contributing factors that suggest this learner may not be suited for this piece of learning?

CLK allows one licensed learner three attempts at the short end-of-course test. If the learner is unable to pass the test after these three attempts then the learner has not yet met the requirements of CLK and cannot yet be issued a CLK certificate. This also means that the trainer cannot use CLK as a demonstration of this particular learner’s knowledge of climate change when it comes to submitting evidence for full CL certification (post-workshop). In order for this learner to achieve CLK certification, they will be required to either take the course again from the beginning (using the same login), and this will then unlock a further attempt at the test or the learner may complete our Further Questions document (to be submitted alongside the rest of the evidence for this cohort). Please contact The Project if you have any queries about this process.

“How do I access the course?”:

Carbon Literacy : Knowledge is hosted by Virtual College on an online Learning Management System (LMS). In order to access this,  learners will need internet access, and will be issued with a personal login and learner account, but each organisation participating has a master account, called an Organisational Administration account, to which their learners belong and sophisticated messaging and learner management is possible once an organisation has been set up (by CLP). For more information on the LMS system, please click here.

“Who should use this resource?” :

CLK courses has currently been designed for use by organisations, including Housing Associations, Fire and Rescue Services and Local Authorities, for roll-out across their staff and the wider environment (residents, supply chains etc.). A tailored course for citizens will shortly be available. Additionally, we have created all the tools required to tailor-make a CLK package for your organisation / setting and we encourage you to get in touch should you be interested in delivering CL using e-learning course.

“Will my learners be certified?” :

Any learner who completes CLK will become CLK Literate and will receive a certificate for this. In order for a learner to become fully Carbon Literate they will need to complete the rest of the day’s worth of learning through face to face working, a workshop, or similar.

“So how much does it cost?” :

This depends on a number of factors:

Criteria Checking: E-learning is only a component of a piece of training which needs to be criteria checked in the normal way, (see above) but criteria checking costs are reduced because the Knowledge component of the training is already met.

Access Cost: Use of the E-learning itself  involves a payment for access to the framework/customised course. The costs for this depend on whether a course has already been developed for your sector and/or the complexity of the course developed by your sector.

Per-learner Cost: There is then a per-head cost for each learner: this depends directly on the numbers of learners participating,

However one cost saved is the certificate cost for individuals: all Carbon Literacy certificate costs for individuals participating through e-learning are already included and so don’t need to be budgeted for separately.

“There isn’t a customised course available for my sector” :

Then we can help you write one!  There are significant economies of scale for large organisations and/or sectoral groups who come together to  jointly develop training materials whether written or online. There are also already a number of sectors (some in the public domain, some not) sharing resources and the costs of jointly developed materials and then collaborating to disseminate Carbon Literacy in both learning and action.

In almost all instances it is probably best to contact us initially and we will advise.

“I need help understanding the Learning Management System (LMS)” :

We’ve got a whole webpage dedicated to you! It will help you understand the process of incorporating CLK into your organisation, including IT requirements, and we’ve also listed some of our most commonly asked FAQs. Click here!


The feedback from the course has been overwhelmingly positive, with 95% of learners saying they felt ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ confident in taking action within their organisation as a result of undertaking the e-learning.

Some comments from learners include:

“Carbon Literacy training is the environmental education our community needs in order for my generation (the people who have the time and power to make a change) to learn about climate change and what we can do to help make our world healthy again. My favourite quote of all time (even prior to this training): “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein”

If more people do this [course], awareness and acceptance will begin to have more hold and we can change things together.”

I am now able to actively contribute in solving this issue.”

A huge 93% of learners felt their attitude towards climate change had been improved or reaffirmed by completing the e-learning, along with feedback stating that the course had made them motivated to do more the reduce their carbon footprint.

Read the full report here

Cooler works on behalf of The Carbon Literacy Trust who own the Carbon Literacy Project and the income generated from the sale of e-learning is used by the charity to support further dissemination of Carbon Literacy.