Level 2
Unit No:
Guided learning hours:
24 hours

Assessment Guidance

Portfolio of evidence


To develop learners' understanding of climate change and the impact of human behaviour on the environment.

Unit Learning Outcomes


Understand the indicators and causes of climate change. 

Climate change: long-term shifts in weather patterns.

Weather pattern changes: hurricanes, droughts, floods, extreme heatwaves and associated forest fires.

Greenhouse gas emissions particularly methane and carbon dioxide as cause of climate change. 

Fossil fuel use by industry - 

  • to create heat in industrial processes and space heating in buildings
  • as boiler fuel to generate steam or hot water for process heating and generating electricity
  • as raw materials to make products such as plastics and chemicals

The industrial sector uses electricity for operating industrial motors and machinery, lights, computers and office equipment, and equipment for facility heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Major sources of methane – landfill sites/cattle.

Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use as main emitters.

Assessment Criteria

  • 1.1

    Explain the link between climate change and selected examples of weather pattern changes. 

  • 1.2

    Explain how human activity has contributed to climate change over the last century. 


Understand the effects of climate change on plants, animals and people. 

Impact of climate change on plant and animal species including reduced biodiversity.

Loss of habitat or changes to habitat (e.g. coastal habitats due to rising sea levels; sea ice habitats due to rising sea temperatures); temperatures threatening survival; damage through heavier rainy seasons, extended droughts or unpredictable snowfall; migration due to habitat change or loss or lack of water.

Changes in life cycle patterns and associated risks especially to young plants and animals of unpredictable temperatures.

Effect on ecosystems: reduced numbers or absence of one element of the food chain resulting in depletion of all species in the chain. Link between drought, erosion/soil quality and inability of plants to thrive.

Threats to human health and wellbeing: increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health (e.g. PTSD after climate-related catastrophic events).

security: potential for unrest due to mass migration from most affected to less areas, conflict over limited supplies of water and food, potential breakdown of society/rule of law as people seek to ensure own basic needs are met.

Assessment Criteria

  • 2.1

    Explain the impact that climate change is having on plant and animal species, habitats and ecosystems. 

  • 2.2

    Explain the threats to human health, wellbeing and security posed by climate change. 


Understand how impact on the environment can be measured. 

Environmental impact assessments: tool to support decision making in relation to planned projects/changes, including information on likely environmental, social, and health effects.

Components of an environmental impact assessment: baseline study; impact prediction/extent; mitigations.

Carbon footprint – amount of carbon released into the atmosphere as a result of everyday activities of an individual, company, event, place or product.

Carbon footprint calculator – awareness of range of different types: e.g. MacKay Carbon Calculator (options for UK policy); calculators for business; calculators for individuals.

A range of free-to-use calculators are available online.

Assessment Criteria

  • 3.1

    Summaries the key elements of an environmental impact assessment. 

  • 3.2

    Explain the use of the carbon footprint as an impact measure for individuals and businesses. 

  • 3.3

    Compare and contrast own results from a carbon footprint calculator with UK targets. 


Understand how individuals and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint. 

Personal carbon footprint reduction based on analysis of own carbon footprint, for example, through improved energy efficiency; food, retail and travel choices and habits.

Carbon footprint reduction for business through, for example, switching to greener energy; improving energy efficiency of buildings; changing travel/meeting policies; minimise waste; increase recycling; become ‘paperless’.

Carbon offsetting: a way of paying for others to reduce emissions or absorb CO2 to compensate for own emissions, e.g., by planting trees to take carbon out of the atmosphere as they grow. (The compensatory actions are beneficial, but they do not encourage emitters to change own behaviours/reduce own emissions.)

Assessment Criteria

  • 4.1

    Explain how actions or changes they can implement would reduce their own carbon footprint. 

  • 4.2

    Explain how carbon offsetting works. 

  • 4.3

    Describe actions or changes that would result in the greatest reduction in carbon emissions for businesses in a chosen sector.