3/10 Americans disbelieve manmade climate change. This percentage has been stable for 20 years (with a slight rise to almost 4/10 in some years).
The fine work of the Yale Climate Communication Center focuses on the positive. It heralds the 6/10 who believe in manmade climate change. This proportion has also been stable for 20 years.
This discomforts me as it shows virtually no change in opinion over 20 years.
1/10 to 1 in 8 Americans do not think climate change is happening. I find this still rather high. But perhaps I am out of touch. 1/4 Americans believe in clairvoyance (source Gallup).
Perhaps, most alarming only about one in eight Americans understand that almost all climate scientists (more than 90%) have concluded human-caused global warming is happening.
If that survey is correct then experts are having limited impact, and, or, peer reviewed robust information is not flowing down to the average American.
This lack of information or even disinformation (which seems to have plagued brexit) is a feature of today’s media that worries me.
The entrenched nature of people’s views also concerns me as it suggests to me there is a diminished ability to compromise and forge agreements from different viewpoints.
`'Public misunderstanding of the scientific consensus – which has been found in each of the Yale surveys since 2008 – has significant consequences. Other research has identified public understanding of the scientific consensus as an important “gateway belief” that influences other important beliefs (i.e., global warming is happening, human caused, a serious problem, and solvable) and support for action.
For more information, see: van der Linden, S. L., Leiserowitz, A. A., Feinberg, G. D., & Maibach, E. W. (2015). The scientific consensus on climate change as a gateway belief: Experimental evidence. PLoS ONE, 10(2). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118489
If you'd like to feel inspired by commencement addresses and life lessons try: Ursula K Le Guin on literature as an operating manual for life; Neil Gaiman on making wonderful, fabulous, brilliant mistakes; or Nassim Taleb's commencement address; or JK Rowling on the benefits of failure. Or Charlie Munger on always inverting.