Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies surveyed Americas for their views of climate change and political affiliation. Overall, they found that 63 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, but many do not understand why.
Many Americans lack some of the knowledge needed for informed decision-making in a democratic society. For example, only:
- 57% know that the greenhouse effect refers to gases in the atmosphere that trap heat;
- 50% of Americans understand that global warming is caused mostly by human activities;
- 45% understand that carbon dioxide traps heat from the Earth’s surface;
- 25% have ever heard of coral bleaching or ocean acidification.