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 Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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