Large gaps found in public understanding of climate change

Oct 14, 2010

Sixty-three percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, but many do not understand why, according to a national study conducted by researchers at Yale University.

The report titled "Americans' Knowledge of Climate Change" found that only 57 percent know what the greenhouse effect is, only 45 percent of Americans understand that traps heat from the Earth's surface, and just 50 percent understand that global warming is caused mostly by human activities. Large majorities incorrectly think that the hole in the ozone layer and aerosol spray cans cause global warming. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Americans have never heard of the related problems of or coral bleaching.

However, many Americans do understand that emissions from cars and trucks and the burning of fossil fuels contribute to global warming and that a transition to is an important solution.

Americans also recognize their own limited understanding. Only 1 in 10 say that they are "very well-informed" about climate change, and 75 percent say they would like to know more about the issue. Likewise, 75 percent say that schools should teach children about climate change and 68 percent would welcome a national program to teach Americans more about the issue.

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

Explore further: Drought may take toll on Congo rainforest, study finds

More information: The executive summary and full report are available online: environment.yale.edu/climate/publications/knowledge-of-climate-change

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poll: American opinion on climate change warms up

Jun 08, 2010

Public concern about global warming is once again on the rise, according to a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities. The results come as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote this ...

American opinion cools on global warming

Jan 27, 2010

Public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008, according to a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

Americans favor conservation, but few practice it

Feb 16, 2010

Most Americans like the idea of conservation, but few practice it in their everyday lives, according to the results of a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

Recommended for you

Sea floor conditions mimicked for drilling platforms

1 hour ago

Mobile jack-up drilling platforms used in the oil and gas industry are at risk of rejection before installation due to their use in harsher environments and deeper waters—but University of WA scientists ...

Drought may take toll on Congo rainforest, study finds

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new analysis of NASA satellite data shows Africa's Congo rainforest, the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, has undergone a large-scale decline in greenness over the past decade.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Userless_Id
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 14, 2010
"Large gaps found in public understanding of climate change"

Large gaps found in scientific explanation and evidence of climate change.
KronosDeret
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 15, 2010
Well I don't have problems with climate change. Earth's climate is in state of continuous flux. Always changing. What I do have problem is validity and hard evidence that Human industrial production and CO2 exhalations are cause of some apocalyptic, never before seen warming.

What I actualy see is whats happening in society. Green initiatives do now drive major capital streams. Green jobs are glorified as new job market, trying to help restore economy after 8 horrible years of incompetence (Bush admin. wink wink). In my country solar energy became the new way how to milk national budget.

I want to make clear that I'm 100% for environment protection. I accepted more counter-intuitive conclusions based on hard scientific evidence. But CO2 and global warming just smells of con. Global scale con.
NotAsleep
not rated yet Oct 15, 2010
At least we can be confident of one fact: Big Tobacco kills a person every 6.3 seconds due to cigarette smoke related global warming

More news stories

Sea floor conditions mimicked for drilling platforms

Mobile jack-up drilling platforms used in the oil and gas industry are at risk of rejection before installation due to their use in harsher environments and deeper waters—but University of WA scientists ...