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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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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