In the history of science, there have been few instances in which almost all experts in a particular field were in complete agreement. Climate change is one of those instances. Nearly two decades of research has converged on the following fact: Over 97 percent of climate scientists have independently concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.
In a new study published in Science magazine last week, Eric Plutzer and colleagues report a finding that should alarm the nation: Only 30 percent of middle-school and 45 percent of high-school scienceteachers in the U.S. are aware of the fact that nearly all climate scientists are convinced that global warming is caused mostly by human activities.
Here’s the kicker: The authors explain that although many science teachers themselves believe that climate change is happening, because most are not aware of the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change many opt to teach “both sides” of the so-called climate debate, mistakenly giving students the impression that the basic facts are still contested, rather than conveying the fact that there is a deep and well-established consensus among climate scientists.
A great deal of our own research, as well as that of many other researchers, has identified the importance of communicating the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.