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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

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.


"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: 

For details about the poll (PDF), visit: 

And for NCSE's collection of polls and surveys on climate change, visit: 


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: 

For information about the NCSE/Penn State study (PDF), visit: 

For "Climate Education in the Classroom" (subscription required), visit: 


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: 

And for NCSE's collection of polls and surveys on climate change, visit: 


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: 

For NCSE's blog, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
fax 510-788-7971 

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