15 Oct 2010:
Most Americans Lack Basic
Knowledge of Climate Issues, Study Finds
The majority of Americans have limited understanding of the planet’s climate system
and the causes and threats of climate change, according to a new study by Yale University. Only 1 in 10 of those surveyed by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication said they are “very well informed” about climate change issues. And while 63 percent believe that global warming is occurring, many do not understand why. According to the survey
, 57 percent of respondents know that the greenhouse effect refers to heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere; 45 percent understand that carbon dioxide traps heat from the planet’s surface; and only 25 percent are aware of coral bleaching or ocean acidification. And the majority of respondents had significant misconceptions about climate science, including the incorrect belief that the hole in the ozone layer, toxic waste, aerosol spray, and acid rain cause global warming. Based on these results, the authors say only 8 percent of respondents would have knowledge equivalent to a grade of an A or B, and more than 52 percent would receive an F grade.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.