NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/03/17
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear friends of NCSE, Encouraging news from the latest Gallup poll on climate. A column by NCSE's Glenn Branch for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. And a report of a survey on public opinion on climate change in four European countries.
THE LATEST GALLUP POLL ON CLIMATE "Record percentages of Americans are concerned about global warming, believe it is occurring, consider it a serious threat and say it is caused by human activity. All of these perceptions are up significantly from 2015," reports Gallup (March 14, 2017). Specifically, asked, "And from what you have heard or read, do you believe increases in the Earth's temperature over the last century are due more to -- [ROTATED: the effects of pollution from human activities (or) natural changes in the environment that are not due to human activities]," 68% of respondents identified human activities as responsible for increases in the Earth's temperature, while 29% chose natural causes and 3% ventured no opinion. (The bracketed interpolation is Gallup's.) Asked, "Just your impression, which one of the following statements do you think is most accurate -- most scientists believe that global warming is occurring, most scientists believe that global warming is NOT occurring, or most scientists are unsure about whether global warming is occurring or not," 71% of respondents said that most scientists believe that global warming is occurring, while 5% said that most scientists believe that it is not occurring, 22% were unsure, and 2% ventured no opinion. The poll was conducted by telephone March 1-5, 2017, with a random sample of 1018 adults in the United States; the sample was weighted to match national demographics. The margin of sampling error was +/-4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For Gallup's story about the poll, visit: http://www.gallup.com/poll/206030/global-warming-concern-three-decade-high.aspx For details about the poll (PDF), visit: http://www.gallup.com/file/poll/206036/170314_ClimateChange%20(Trends).pdf And for NCSE's collection of polls and surveys on climate change, visit: https://ncse.com/library-resource/polls-climate-change NCSE'S BRANCH IN BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch contributed "Science Teachers in the Trenches of the Climate Wars" to the opinion section of the website of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March 13, 2017). Observing that "climate science is going to be encountering stormy weather during the Trump administration," Branch nevertheless urged that "it is important not to overlook the importance of defending the integrity of climate education." He cited recent legislative attempts to undermine the teaching of climate change in Iowa and Idaho. Turning to the level of local school districts, he invoked the results of the NCSE/Penn State study of climate change education. Although less than five percent of public middle and high school science teachers reported experiencing pressure not to teach about the human causes of climate change, he noted that the survey found "a significant correlation between local attitudes and instructional approaches ... On climate, teachers appear to take their cues from their communities." "A lot is at stake," Branch concluded. For millions of students, "their best chance of attaining scientific literacy -- and with it a grasp of the scientific consensus on climate change -- is here and now. And their chance depends on the readiness, willingness, and ability of their teachers to teach climate change honestly, accurately, and confidently." Along with Josh Rosenau and Minda Berbeco, Branch contributed a discussion of the NCSE/Penn State survey, entitled "Climate Education in the Classroom: Cloudy with a Chance of Confusion," to the journal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 2016. For Branch's column, visit: http://thebulletin.org/science-teachers-trenches-climate-wars10609 For information about the NCSE/Penn State study (PDF), visit: https://ncse.com/files/MixedMessages.pdf For "Climate Education in the Classroom" (subscription required), visit: http://thebulletin.org/2016/march/climate-education-classroom-cloudy-chance-confusion9241 POLLING CLIMATE IN EUROPE European Perceptions of Climate Change, the March 2017 report of a public opinion survey conducted in June 2016 in France, Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom, offers information about the attitudes toward the reality of, the causes behind, and the scientific consensus about climate change in those countries. Asked, "As far as you know, do you think the world's climate is changing or not," 92% of French respondents, 83% of German respondents, 93% of Norwegian respondents, and 86% of British respondents answered yes; 6%, 16%, 4%, and 12% answered no; and 2%, 1%, 3%, and 2% indicated that they didn't know. Asked, "Thinking about the causes of climate change, which, if any, of the following best describes your opinion," 55% of French respondents, 49% of German respondents, 34% of Norwegian respondents, and 43% of British respondents said that it was mainly or completely caused by human activity; 36%, 34%, 57%, and 41% said that it was partly caused by natural processes and partly caused by human activity; 8%, 9%, 9%, and 11% said that it was mainly or entirely caused by natural processes; and 1%, 6%, less than 1%, and 2% said that there was no such thing as climate change. Asked, "To the best of your knowledge, what proportion of scientists agree that climate change is happening and that humans are largely causing it," 33% of French respondents, 24% of German respondents, 35% of Norwegian respondents, and 30% of British respondents correctly answered that the vast majority of scientists (80% or more) agree. Conducted by Ipsos Mori, the survey polled 1010 French, 1001 German, 1004 Norwegian, and 1033 British respondents; Norwegian respondents were interviewed by telephone and the other respondents face-to-face. The data were weighted to ensure representative samples. The reported results for national samples are accurate to within 2-3%. For the report of the survey (PDF), visit: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/98660/7/EPCC.pdf And for NCSE's collection of polls and surveys on climate change, visit: https://ncse.com/library-resource/polls-climate-change WHAT'S NEW AT NCSE'S BLOG? Have you been visiting NCSE's blog recently? If not, then you've missed: * Emily Schoerning discussing the importance of NCSE's outreach to graduate students: https://ncse.com/blog/2017/03/spotlight-students-0018489 For NCSE's blog, visit: http://ncse.com/blog Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600 Oakland CA 94612-2922 510-601-7203 fax 510-788-7971 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Check out NCSE's blog: http://ncse.com/blog Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: http://reports.ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. 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