Americans Flunk Climate Test

According to a new Yale study, most Americans are aware of climate change, but have no idea why it is happening. The Yale team claims that only 8 percent of Americans have knowledge equivalent to an A or B grade, while 52% would get an F. The grading was done by a school where grade inflation is an issue, and Dubya carried a C+ average, so these numbers are even worse than they sound.  

The study found a generally poor level of understanding of such issues as how much greenhouse gas concentrations have increased in the last 100 years (a lot), the impact of livestock on global warming (quite large), and  how long greenhouse gasses stay in the atmosphere (a very long time.) The last item is particularly alarming, since our near term inability to reverse the impact of emissions is what drives the urgency to take action now.  Slowing climate change is more like stopping an aircraft carrier than turning a speedboat.  

But most concerning is that most in the survey admitted that they don’t know all that much about the issue. The Yale team reports that only 1 in 10 say that they are “very well informed” about climate change, and 75 percent say they would like to know more. What exactly are people waiting for? The truth is out there.

I suppose one could argue that as long as scientists are on top of the issue, we’ll all be informed at the depth we need to, in order to make collectively prudent decisions. But I have started reading Naomi Oreskes new book (The Merchants of Doubt), which documents how frequently (and easily) science is undercut by manipulating popular opinion. It only takes a few influential deniers to mislead the public.

Perhaps instead of “no child left behind” we need a policy of “no planet left behind?”

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Aludra N.
susan m7 years ago

no climate change??? Gee, at my house the weather has become downright insane,, volcanos, earthquakes, proof is everywhere for those who bother to look. Corporate greed has been allowed to the point where they have just about destroyed our home, and they want to continue to rape and pillage to satisfy their insatiable greed.. while we sit by and watch. If you enjoy breathing and drinking water, eating food that is healthy,, get rid of the corps (i.e. repugnicants) they have sold us out, and if allowed to continue will succeed in trashing the earth to the point that she will be unable (or unwilling) to continue to support any life. What good is money if you can't breathe?

Liz Thompson
Elisabeth T7 years ago

Good article,,,

Etienne Sonsois
Etienne Sonsois7 years ago

People care more about money than the planet. Why do you think Prop 23 exists?
make a wish:

tom Booth
tom Booth7 years ago

all about the money
United Corporations of America
God Bless the UCA

Bruno Moreira
Bruno Moreira7 years ago

thanks for the story...

Gregory A.
Greg Amour7 years ago

Everyone who wanted progress MUST go out and vote against the G NO P! The Republicans are accepting $75 million from unknown sources who refuse to reveal themselves. Call it legalized(by the 5 conservative members of the Supreme Court) bribery. But it is clear that the Republican agenda is simply to gain power at the expense of the middle class. It was Bush and deregulation of the Banks, mortgage companies, and Wall Street that caused this economic mess. Not even Iron Man could repair it with a snap of the fingers. The Party of NO has sabotaged efforts to improve it just to keep things bad so they could manipulate anger into power. You MUST defeat this cynical, money accepting party from giving back to their corporate sponsors their soul for $$$$ (75 million worth). DO NOT SIT THIS ONE OUT. If you do, EVIL and GREED and EXTREMISTS will prevail! VOTE! Damn it, YOU MUST VOTE!

Ireene V.
Ireene Viktor7 years ago

Probably not just americans but most people in the world doesn´t know these things and most of all doesn´t care ... :(

Elaine Dixon
Elaine Dixon7 years ago


Tim C.
Tim C7 years ago

Why is this so surprising? When most people don't even know who there representative is . let a lone that according to the EPA we are polluting each other by breathing out the poison gas CO2 with each breath we take.

Tim C.
Tim C7 years ago

When will people recognize it's all about the money