Do Humans Cause Climate Change

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Do Humans Cause Climate Change – President Barack Obama signed a new global warming deal with China during his trip to Asia last week. It’s a historic deal that many hope could break the deal that keeps the world’s two biggest emitters on the sidelines of talks to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Both countries agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, with the US starting cuts in 2020 and China starting cuts in 2030.

Yet back home, President Obama is still facing voters who don’t believe climate change is caused by humans. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, only 40% of Americans blame global warming on human activity. This is despite decades of scientific evidence and the fact that Americans generally trust climate scientists.

Do Humans Cause Climate Change

Do Humans Cause Climate Change

The apparent disparity of knowledge has even troubled two philosophers: Michael Rainey, a professor of education at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dan Kahn, a professor of law at Yale University. Like both, we’re not asking the right questions. But they disagree on what the actual questions should be. If one or both are true, the change in tone could change our social debate on climate change.

The 97% Consensus On Global Warming

In the 1990s, Michael Rainey began asking random people what they thought was the world’s biggest problem. He didn’t set out to tackle environmental issues – he first studied applied physics and material science before turning to cognitive science. But again and again, they hear “climate change” as the answer.

Rainey also noted that while the scientific community is united on a consensus, the public is not, at least in the US. The Climategate controversy occurred in late 2009 over leaked emails between climate scientists and Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, which claimed that anthropogenic global warming was false, highlighting a widening divide among citizens. America about the causes of global warming. two examples of conflict.

Rainey and his team say a “lack of understanding” is causing the problem. In fact, it is the lack of understanding of the processes of global warming that hinders progress on this issue. “For most Americans, they’re stuck between a radio talk show host – the kind Rush Limbaugh is – and maybe a professor who teaches them about global warming. And if you don’t understand the machine, you have our competition executives , Like the Pope and Galileo,” he said: “When a controversial issue arises, the system becomes a barrier.”

Despite the fact that everyone is full of scientific facts related to global warming, Rainie said that our climate literacy is still not very high. In other words, although we may hear a lot about climate change, we don’t really understand it. This is similar to how many people follow the changes of the Dow Jones Industrial Average but do not understand how these changes relate to macroeconomic trends.

Human Vs. Natural Contributions To Global Warming

Climate illiteracy is not universal. Rainey recalled a scientist’s presentation at a recent conference that noted that many university professors studying global warming had no better understanding of its processes than the graduate students they were teaching. . He said, “Even one of the world’s leading climate change communicators doesn’t know the machine during dinner.”

“If you don’t understand the machine, you have competing authorities like the Pope and Galileo.”

According to Rainey, one of the most common mistakes is that the energy “leaves” the surface of the earth and is then trapped or “bounced back” by the greenhouse gases. The actual process is quite different. Rainie’s research team summed it up in 35 words: “The Earth is converting visible light energy from sunlight to infrared light energy, which is gradually being absorbed by the greenhouse gases that are leaving the Earth. When humans emit greenhouse gases, the energy leaves the Earth even more slowly—raising the Earth’s temperature.”

Do Humans Cause Climate Change

When Rainey surveyed 270 visitors to a San Diego park about how global warming works, he found that absolutely nothing could provide a sensible mechanism. In the second test, 79 psychology students at UC Berkeley received an average of 3.8 out of 9 possible points when tested on the technology of climate change. In a third study, 41 people recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an online marketplace for casual workers, scored an average of 1.9 out of 9. (Survey participants in Japan and Germany fared similarly here, meaning this is an American problem.) With each new experiment, Rainie found the knowledge level was consistently low.

A Growing Majority Of Americans Think Global Warming Is Happening And Are Worried

At least, you did before. In his experiments, after the first round of questions, Rainey included a short lecture or written statement on the true process behind global warming. They then interviewed the same people to see if they understood it well and if they believed that humans are the cause of climate change. In the UC Berkeley study, acceptance increased by 5.4%; In the Turk Mechanical study it increased by 4.7%. Perhaps most notably, acceptance increased among conservatives and liberals. There was no evidence of political polarization.

This does not mean that polarization does not exist. It is certainly true that liberals are more likely to accept anthropogenic global warming than conservatives. This has been shown by countless studies and researches. But politics does not always dominate knowledge when it comes – Rainie did not see evidence of a difference between the conservatives’ and the change of liberals in the desire to accept climate change after their “scientific intervention”.

Believing that the key to understanding the device, Rainey created a series of no-frills videos of varying lengths in multiple languages ​​explaining it. More than 130,000 page views later, Rainey is not shy about his goal: “Our goal is to attract 7 billion visitors,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dan Kahn says that it is not a gap in understanding that prevents the acceptance of human influence in climate change, but the cultural politics of the subject. He said people don’t need a sophisticated understanding of climate change. “They just need to be able to take into account what the best scientific evidence shows as a practical issue: human-induced global warming causes many very important forces – melting ice caps, levels rising water. , floods, increased risk of serious diseases, hurricanes and other extreme weather events – all of which put us at risk.”

Of Americans Don’t Believe Humans Cause Climate Change, Poll Shows

According to Kahn, the problem lies in the context surrounding the issue. When people are asked about their acceptance of anthropogenic global warming, he says that these questions confuse what people know about who they are and what cultural group they belong to. In those circumstances, expressing a position on the issue becomes more of a statement of cultural identity than scientific understanding.

Kahn’s views are based on his own surveys of the American public. In a recent survey of 1,769 participants recruited by polling company YouGov, they assessed people’s “general climate science understanding” with a series of climate change knowledge questions. They also collect demographic data, including political releases. Kahn sees no relationship between understanding of climate science and acceptance of human-caused climate change. Some people who know a lot about the subject still do not accept the principle of anthropogenic climate change, and vice versa. They also found that, predictably, conservatives are less likely to agree that humans are changing the climate.

Closing a position on this issue may become more a statement of cultural identity than scientific understanding.

Do Humans Cause Climate Change

Unlike Rainey, Kahn found strong evidence of polarization. For example, the more intelligent a conservative is, the more likely he or she is to disagree with human-caused global warming. Kahn suggests that these people use their critical analytical skills to find evidence that fits their political leanings.

How To Reduce Human Caused Environmental Changes

However, despite the strong reluctance of many to acknowledge man-made global warming, cities and counties in places like southeast Florida have stepped forward and supported actions to combat global warming. Kahn tells a story in which state and local officials in Florida argued for building nuclear power plants higher than planned because of predictions of sea level rise and hurricanes. But if you ask the same people if they believe in climate change, they will say, “No, something completely different!” Kahan said that.

Kahn isn’t exactly sure why some people act in ways that contradict his own beliefs — he laughs and mumbles when asked — but he has some ideas. Leading is the fallacy of duality, when a person mentally separates two apparently contradictory ideas and yet does not feel the need to reconcile them. He said this sometimes happens with religious doctors, who reject evolution but openly admit to using evolutionary principles in their lives.

Whatever the reason, Kahn thinks the Southeast Florida case is worth studying. There, the community is able to assess the scientific evidence of climate change and take action despite widespread debate over whether humans are actually causing climate change. The first thing, Kahn said, is that it keeps politics out of the room.

As skeptics and supporters of human-caused climate change, Ranney and Kahn also question each other’s findings. Kahn suspected Ranney’s

Consensus On Consensus: A Synthesis Of Consensus Estimates On Human Caused Global Warming

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