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

Most of them are smarter than Trump about science.

DNY59/Getty Images

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

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate