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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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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