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This page is a style guide for content related to Climate Change, developed by the editors of Wikipedia:WikiProject Climate change. These are recommendations, to help develop greater consistency across climate related content. If you would like to contribute to the style guide or want to ask a question, consider communicating on the WikiProject talk page


This guide is a list of sources recommended by WikiProject Climate, you can edit this list here.

Like anywhere on Wikipedia, all edits must be WP:Verifiable and based on WP:Reliable sources (unless a specific exception applies). New editors are advised to study the difference between primary, secondary and tertiary sources. In general we prefer secondary and tertiary sources.

The prior paragraph is from Wikipedia policy. Some science editors have assembled an opinion essay called "Identifying reliable sources (science)", that we ask you to follow as well.

When it comes to sources themselves, many quality ones are applicable to WikiProject Climate change. Here are just a few -

High-quality secondary sourcesEdit

  • These reports are some of the best available about solutions to limit climate change, not just about the causes and effects of warming. A particularly useful one is the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC (2018). The more of this report that we can get into Wikipedia, the better.
  • Royal Society reports are high-quality and often published under a Wikipedia-compatible Creative Commons license, so text can be copied into Wikipedia with attribution in the edit summary.
  • Our World in Data has excellent articles, maps, and graphs, which are generally released in a license compatible with Wikipedia. Official website. Many of these graphs and maps have already been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, so it's easy to take them from there and insert them into Wikipedia articles.
  • There are a large number of (paywalled) encyclopedias published, including Oxford Research Encyclopedias - Climate science (which has a browsable table of contents, perhaps good for finding new articles to work on)
  • * National Climate Assessment - U.S. Global Change Research Program (2018). Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II (Report). Washington, DC. doi:10.7930/NCA4.2018. -- recommended by climate experts at the NAS editathon
  • Climate Links - a USAID funded research database focused on climate change in different countries

Paywalled research sourcesEdit

There is a vast research literature on climate change in books and articles. Look for encyclopedias and handbooks for secondary literature. (Particularly for US Libraries: search for 'libguides' and 'climate change' to find library guides on the topic.)

Use with cautionEdit

  • Materials from industry coalitions or think tanks such as REN21 or the Breakthrough Institute. The first concern is whether these materials are really "RS" (WP:Reliable sources). Often they will fall under the problematic WP:Self-published limitations. Such sources can still be used when we are reporting what these groups say, but this usually requires inline attribution e.g., "According to Jane, Jack also ran up the hill. There may be exceptions so each case is weighed on its own merit. Often there will be reliable media reports to cite instead.
  • On the flip side, also be cautious with from environmental advocacy groups and political parties. The same cautions about self-published sources and inline attribution apply.
  • Also use caution with news reports of the latest science paper. You may be tempted to rush to your keyboard as they make headlines, but there are at least three problems with this approach. First, it is difficult for lay Wikipedia editors to correctly assess the nuance in a new professional science paper. Second, it takes awhile for the rest of the science community to absorb the reported findings. Third, the practice tends to convert our articles from articles to a disjointed science news feed. Instead of firing away as papers come off the presses, it is usually better to seek out WP:SECONDARY sources, such as systematic reviews (aka "literature reviews") or perhaps WP:TERTIARY sources such as textbooks. See the opinion essay Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (science) for further help identifying the best sources.

Writing about climate changeEdit


We recommend talking about climate change in the general structure of climate change knowledge outlined by the IPCC reports:

This "Outline for articles" proposed below follows the IPCC suggestion of treating causes, impacts, then mitigation.


Communications experts have developed a number of guidelines for effective climate communication tactics (tactics which reach the broadest number of people, and help them identify ways to participate in climate action). Generally, these guidelines recommend that climate communicators (that includes Wikipedia editors), focus on doing several things (check out this article for further reading):

  • Being clear about the science, and using scientific evidence when talking about the causes and effects of climate change. Try to focus on communicating this information with clear, factual information, language that demystifies scientific concepts for a general audience, and clear attribution of opinions or interpretations.
  • Focusing on connecting climate change with people's lives and local contexts -- though the core articles describe by the WikiProject as Top importance are important for representing the scientific consensus on the issues, its also really important to write climate change into other aspects of peoples lives from improving the Category:Climate change by country and region articles, to the actual articles about the locations, to highlighting climate change in other parts of their lives.
  • Connecting with emotionally compelling and timely information-- such as breaking news, direct impacts on humans of climate change, talking about the individual activists, politicians or scientists involved in addressing climate change, etc.
  • Focusing on solutions -- climate change communications studies has found that a lot of individuals resist addressing climate change because of a number of both cognitive and social barriers. Solution oriented communication helps overcome those barriers, by helping individuals understand the possibilities for climate mitgation climate adaptation. Identifying how others are taking action to address the issues, recommendations by scientists for addressing the challenges, or policy made by governments can help individuals connect what they are reading with actions that others are taking.

If you are looking for tactics for contributing to Wikipedia that both follow Wikipedia's commitment to Verifiability and Neutral Point of View we recommend checking out our recommended task for editing about climate change.

Using excerptsEdit

Many of the articles related to Climate Change are interconnected subtopics that are often highlighted in multiple parts of Wikipedia. Consider using the template {{Excerpt}} to reduce the redundancy of updating information in these multiple locations. {{Excerpt}} transcludes the lead section or any section of choosing on another article -- thus if that section is updated in the original article, it will be automatically updated in the article that it used in. Please only excerpt sections or leads, not individual paragraphs. For some examples, see the tracking category: Category:Articles with excerpts. Excerpts can also get broken, check if any of our articles are in this category of broken excerpts: Category:Articles_with_broken_excerpts

A presentation about the pros and cons of using excerpts was given by User:Sophivorus at Wikimania 2021 and is available here. You can also ask questions about them or suggest improvements to the script here.

Let's say you want to transcribe the first three paragraphs of the lead of ocean acidification, but not the lead's image, to a section on "ocean acidification" within Effects of climate change on oceans. Then all you have to do is to put at the right place within the article Effects of climate change on oceans this command while using source editor: {{excerpt|Ocean acidification|paragraphs=1-3|file=no}}

For further explanations on how to use excerpts, see here: {{Excerpt}}. For example, you can include just a particular paragraph of the lead (or for example the first two paragraphs; use the command "paragraphs=1,2"). You can also make the excerpt more visible with using the command "indicator=yes", although some authors find it draws too much attention to it.

Note that leads don't always contain sources, and may repeat information in the target article. The excerpt function is not recommended to be included in articles that have been rated as FA (featured article) or GA (good article), because people watchlisting these articles will not get notified when something is changed in the article from where the excerpt is taken. Those people tend to feel responsible for keeping the quality of FA and GA articles high and therefore might be opposed to using excerpts for that reason.

Outline for articles about specific countries or geographiesEdit

A proposed outline for articles on climate change in specific geographies, including countries or sub-national states is shown below (for example articles in Category:Climate change in the United States by state, Category:Climate change by country). Use only those subheadings where you have relevant information. Ideally, complete articles will eventually offer information on all subheadings.

"Short description" lineEdit

Do include the Wikipedia "short description" line at the top of the article page. The short description of a Wikipedia article is a concise explanation of the scope of the page (see WP:SHORTDES for more details). This can be done in source editor by adding this template (for the example of Kenya):

{{Short description|Emissions, impacts and responses of Kenya related to climate change}}


  • This should be about 4 paragraphs long and be a good summary of the entire article, using information from each of the following Headings. See also WP:Lead for more information about leads.

Greenhouse gas emissionsEdit

  • Consider creating a sub-article on "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX" if you are finding that this section is getting too big for this overview article. See Category:Greenhouse_gas_emissions_by_country to know which countries already have those sub-articles.

Energy consumptionEdit


Fossil fuel productionEdit

  • Include here also exports

Industrial emissionsEdit


  • Might include here other land use changes; might also add further categories or "other".

Impacts on the natural environmentEdit

Temperature and weather changesEdit

  • Add information on observed and predicted temperatures; Extreme weather events such as bushfires, heat waves, droughts

Sea level riseEdit

  • Only applicable if the country has a coast line

Water resourcesEdit


  • Coastal (esp. Mangroves, seagrasses, etc)
  • Mountains
  • Forests
  • (Add others if relevant)


  • Plant life
  • Animal life
  • Fungi & others

Impacts on peopleEdit

Economic impactsEdit

  • Agriculture and food production
  • Fisheries
  • Tourism
  • Infrastructure
  • (Add others if relevant)

Health impactsEdit

  • You may included here health impacts from Heat waves, different disease transmission, air pollution/smog (if the latter is related to climate change)

Impacts on housing (if relevant)Edit

  • You might include here impacts on type of housing in cities and rural environments, required changes to type of housing

Impacts on migration (if relevant)Edit

  • You might include here how climate change might have impacted migration of people

Impacts on indigenous peoples (if relevant)Edit

Impacts on disadvantaged groups (if relevant)Edit

  • Information on how climate change affects disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, elderly, youth, migrants, people with disabilities) could be added here.


  • Check if the country already has a separate article on "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX". If so, then link to that article or use the excerpt function. Leave an overview on mitigation policies here and point the reader to the other article for more details. See Category:Greenhouse_gas_emissions_by_country. Consider creating a sub-article on "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX" if you are finding that this section is getting too big for this overview article.

Mitigation approachesEdit

  • Not needed or keep it brief if this information is included in the sub-article "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX"

Policies and legislation to achieve mitigationEdit

  • Not needed or keep it brief if this information is included in the sub-article "Greenhouse gas emissions by XX"
  • Should include the country's Nationally Determined Contribution


Adaptation approachesEdit

Policies and legislation to achieve adaptationEdit

Mitigation and adaptation (alternative option to keep it together)Edit

  • You might also choose to treat "mitigation and adaptation" together in one section instead of two separate sections.
  • Include here legislation, local ordinances, policies, international participation/Regional networks, alliances / groups, participation in treaty bodies


Policies and legislationEdit

International cooperationEdit

  • This section might be relevant for developing countries if there are receiving funds for climate change adaptation projects for example.

Society and cultureEdit


  • You may include public responses such as: citizen action, NGO initiatives, Protests /grassroots, public opinion surveys, lawsuits

Private sector effortsEdit

  • You may include private sector efforts, for example information on Green jobs, sustainable energy industry, technical innovation/Research, investment


Arts and mediaEdit

Historical aspects (optional)Edit

Statistics (optional)Edit

  • If there are large tables that have not yet been moved to a sub-article, they could go here. See example of Climate change in Canada of what might go into this section.

Climate change by state, region or territory (optional)Edit

See alsoEdit

  • Include "Energy in..." and "Environment in..." articles if they exist


  • Make sure to include National climate change assessments or plans as references if they exist

External links (optional)Edit