Here’s the Tiniest Sliver of Good News About Your Fellow Americans

Most of them are smarter than Trump about science.

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While Donald Trump and his administration have repeatedly denied the scientifically proven fact that climate change is taking place, most Americans know better. What a surprising number doesn’t know is that 97 percent of climate scientists agree with them.

new nationally representative survey released by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication interviewed more than 1,200 Americans and asked them a range of questions on their beliefs about global warming and their perception of its effect on the United States. “More than half of Americans believe climate change is mostly human caused,” researchers wrote. “That’s the highest level measured since our surveys began in 2008.”

The findings reveal exactly how out of step the Trump administration is with most Americans, but it also reveals a troubling lack of understanding about scientific consensus on the matter. Here are some highlights from the report:  

  •  70 percent of Americans believe global warming is happening;
  •  58 percent believe that it’s mostly caused by humans;
  • 97 percent of scientists believe that climate change is occurring but only 13 percent of Americans appreciate that there is such agreement among experts; 
  •  Nearly 60 percent believe that global warming is affecting weather in the United States;
  •  71 percent believe that climate not an immediate threat, but will harm future generations.

The high level of agreement regarding the human causes of climate change is good news, but Yale researchers found that the public misunderstanding of the scientific consensus has grave consequences for combating climate change. Other research has identified “public understanding of the scientific consensus as an important ‘gateway belief’ that influences other important beliefs…and support for action.” 

Read the full survey here.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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