For climate change activists, a new Yale study entitled Americans’ knowledge of climate change might make the heart sink. Their worst fears appear to have been met with the results showing that 52 per cent of over 2000 Americans surveyed scored below 60 per cent on the knowledge test, earning them a lowly F grade.
Sure enough, the media response was scathing. 52 per cent of Americans flunk Climate 101, said the NYT’s Green blog. Large gaps found in public understanding of climate change, said the Science Daily.
But the headlines are a little unfair, not least because the questions were technical, and aimed at testing how detailed the public’s understanding of climate issues was (so not really ‘Climate 101′ then). For example, how many people would you expect to know that water vapour is an important part of the greenhouse effect? Or that “The last 10,000 years have been unusually warm and stable, compared to the climate of the past million years.”