Knowledge and understanding of the causes and effects of climate change depend upon education and political views, an American study suggests.
Professor Lawrence Hamilton, a sociologist at New Hampshire University, analysed data from a poll of New Hampshire residents about attitudes to climate change. and found that “Not very many people could even give a three-sentence explanation of climate change.” Perhaps that’s depressing but not surprising but the data revealed divisions amongst the respondents.
“For example, those in the 18-to-29 age bracket overwhelmingly stated that climate change is happening now and is caused mainly by human activities. That belief lessens with age, the survey shows. As well, 62 per cent of the respondents with an education beyond a bachelor’s degree said that human-caused climate change is happening now. That figure decreased to 42 per cent among those with a high school degree or less.”
When political affiliation was taken into account, stark differences emerged.
“Among Democrats, 79 per cent said that human-caused climate change is occurring now. That dropped to 52 per cent among independents and 27 per cent among Republicans.”
“Americans could boost their climate IQ, Hamilton suggests, if politicians would hire and value science advisers, scientists would speak out and more readily and share their data, and people would become more discriminating about their online intake.” (My emphasis).
Sometimes it’s tempting to think that climate change deniers have taken over the web.
“I think they’ve been using lasers and chemicals to melt the Arctic for their NW Passage and to propagandaize their Global Warming trend.” – a comment on an internet forum! There’s the problem, where do we start?