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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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  1. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Global Warming/Climate Change ProjectA Survey of Middle & High School Students Student ResearchersMahmoud Ahmed, Drew Christensen, Elora Leene, Wesley Meives and Daniel PutmanFaculty MentorDr. Eric Jamelske

  2. Overview • Background • Past Research • Motivation • Survey and Sample • Results • Questions/Discussion

  3. Just the Facts Anthropogenic Climate Change is REAL!


  5. IPCC – AR4: A State of the Planet Report • “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.” • “Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years.” • “There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.” • Advances since the TAR show that discernible human influences extend beyond average temperature to other aspects of climate. Anthropogenic warming over the last three decades has likely had a discernible influence at the global scale on observed changes in many physical and biological systems. • Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the time scales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if GHG concentrations were to be stabilized.

  6. Scientific Consensus on Climate Change • “Reviews of scientific literature and surveys of climate scientists indicate striking agreement, anthropogenic GHG have been responsible for “most” of the ‘unequivocal’ warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century.” - Anderegg et al. (2010) • “Despite claims sometimes made by some groups that there is not good evidence that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities, the scientific community is in overwhelming agreement that such evidence is clear and persuasive.” - Oreskes (2004)

  7. “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.” 12/28/2003

  8. Why Didn't the U.S. Sign the Kyoto Treaty? • Much of the reason that the US Senate failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol was due to lobbying efforts by right-wing groups including conservative foundations, think tanks, media, and public intellectuals (Dunlap et al., 2008).

  9. “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans… And to heal the planet… My promise is to help you and your family.” 8/30/2012 “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke….My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet. Because climate change is not a hoax.” 9/6/2012

  10. Previous Research • Pew Research Center (2008) • Dunlap and McCright (2008) • Feldman et al. (2010) • Rabe and Borick (2010) • Villar and Krosnik. (2010) • Leiserowitz et al. (2011) • Majority of Americans believe climate change/global warming is real, but less support for anthropogenic causes • Confusion about science and disengagement from policy, there is a political divide

  11. Previous Research • Jamelske, Barrett and Boulter (2012a, 2012b) • US college students similar to other research findings • Confused about science, disengaged from policy and divided politically, the economy is a priority • By comparison, Chinese college students much more aware and concerned by every measure regarding climate change/global warming issues, environment and economy of equal importance

  12. “A flash point has emerged in American science education that echoes the battle over evolution, as scientists and educators report mounting resistance to the study of man-made climate change in middle and high schools.” “Although scientific evidence increasingly shows that fossil fuel consumption has caused the climate to change rapidly, the issue has grown so politicized that skepticism of the broad scientific consensus has seeped into classrooms.” Tribune Washington Bureau, Sacramento Bee, 1/17/2012

  13. Our Survey • What do middle/high school children think about global warming? • Is global warming happening? • Is it anthropogenic? • Level of risk/concern? • What does science say? • What are the impacts? • Sources of learning/information? • Yale/George Mason Project on Climate Change Communication*

  14. Our Sample • 545 middle and high school students from Western Wisconsin • Convenience sample, university connections, science classes • Sample size varies due to non-response on some questions

  15. Initial Statement • Recently, you may have noticed that global warming has been getting some attention in the news. Global warming refers to the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and the world’s climate may change as a result

  16. ResultsA Preliminary Look at the Data…

  17. Is Global Warming Happening? What is Causing Global Warming?

  18. Is Global Warming Happening? What is Causing Global Warming?

  19. Is Global Warming Happening?(View of Science) What is Causing Global Warming?(View of Science)

  20. Is Global Warming Happening?(View of Science) What is Causing Global Warming?(View of Science)

  21. How Concerned Are You AboutGlobal Warming? How Much Risk of Harm Does Global Warming Pose to Humans ?

  22. Comparing Responses by Grade

  23. Comparing Responses by Grade

  24. Comparing Responses by Grade

  25. What Are the Three Most Important Issues for Society?

  26. What Are the Three Most Important Environmental Issues for Society?

  27. Comparing Responses by Grade

  28. (% YES) What Events Have Been Affected by Global Warming? P < 0.01, Grades 8, 9, 10 P < 0.01, Grades 8, 9, 10 P < 0.01, Grades 8, 9, 10

  29. Hurricane Sandy!

  30. Hurricane Sandy!

  31. Will Climate Change Get Some Respect Now? • "You can't say any one single event is reflective of climate change," William Solecki, the co-chairman of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, told me. "But it's illustrative of the conditions and events and scenarios that we expect with climate change." • “In that sense, whatever its causes, Sandy offers a window into the way ahead.” • “The storm took 55 lives in the U.S., and initial estimates of damages and losses run in the range of $30 to $50 billion.”

  32. Conservatives Use "Snowmageddon" to Mock Global Warming • "In reality, winter snows do not invalidate the reality that the planet just experienced the hottest decade on record. Scientists have been warning for decades that global warming would increase the severity of winter storms."

  33. Is Climate Change Causing This Drought? • “The best single reference on this topic is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).” • “Droughts have multiple causes. The US has suffered worse droughts in the past. It’s not yet clear whether we’ve reached the point where global warming is making droughts worse again, at least in North America. But evidence suggests that droughts will become more intense in many parts of the world if the planet keeps heating up — a trend that could disrupt the world’s food supply.”

  34. “The Arctic is warming even faster than other parts of the planet, and the rapidly melting ice is causing alarm among scientists about sea-level rise. In northeastern Greenland, average yearly temperature have risen 4.5 degrees in the past 15 years, and scientists predict the area could warm by 14 to 21 degrees by the end of the century.” A Melting Greenland Weighs Perils Against Potential

  35. Where Have You Learned About Global Warming?

  36. Where Have You Learned About Global Warming?

  37. Where Have You Learned About Global Warming? • School: Statistically Significant, many more 9th and 10th graders say they have learned a lot about global warming in school • Television: Not Statistically Significant, but more 6th and 7th graders say they have learned a lot about global warming from TV

  38. What About Girls vs. Boys?

  39. What About Girls vs. Boys?

  40. What’s Next?

  41. Future Work • More surveys across grades 6 - 12 • Student focus groups • Science teacher surveys and focus groups • More thorough analysis • Our CHILDREN are our FUTURE!

  42. Future Work • What should schools teach about climate change? • When should our children be taught about change? • Who will determine the curriculum? • National Center for Science Education • Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  43. Questions/Discussion