Americans Are Uninformed About Climate Change

A new study conducted by researchers at Yale University has found that sixty-three percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening. However most Americans do not understand why it is happening, and are similarly unaware of the related impacts of climate change.

According to the study, “Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change,” only 57 percent of those surveyed knew what the greenhouse effect was, only 45 percent understand that carbon dioxide traps heat from the Earth’s surface, and only 50 percent understand that global warming is actually caused by human activities.

Astonishingly, many Americans believe that global warming is related to the hole in the ozone layer and aerosol spray cans.

Another 75 percent of Americans have never heard of related issues such as ocean acidification and coral bleaching.

“This study demonstrates that Americans need to learn more about the causes, impacts and potential solutions to global warming,” said study director Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University. “But it also shows that Americans want to learn more about climate change in order to make up their minds and take action.”

Americans Want to Learn More about Climate Change

As Leiserowitz says, Americans do want to expand their knowledge.

The study found that Americans are aware that the emissions from cars and trucks and burning fossil fuels contribute to global warming and know that transitioning to renewable energy sources is an important next step.

They also are aware of how little they know and understand.

Only 1 in 10 Americans surveyed said that they were “very well-informed” about climate change, and 75 percent said they would like to know more about the issue. Additionally, 75 percent said that they thought climate education should be introduced into schools, and 68 percent said they would like to see a national program to teach Americans about the issue.

Source: Yale University
Image Source: respres via flickr under a CC license

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