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Climate IQ a Reflection of Age, Education and Party Affiliation

New Hampshire and Yale studies throw light on America's ignorance of climate science

By Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 25, 2010

MANCHESTER, N.H.—Professor Lawrence Hamilton is not at all flabbergasted that most Americans are flunking Global Warming 101.

The University of New Hampshire sociologist witnesses the disconnect daily as he attempts to make that learning curve less steep.

Americans could boost their climate IQ, Hamilton suggests, if politicians would hire and value science advisers, scientists would speak out and more readily and share their data, and people would become more discriminating about their online intake.

“What’s new is the Internet-fed belief that you know more than you know,” Hamilton told SolveClimate News. “People aren’t getting climate change information directly from scientists. Instead, it’s being filtered via the Internet. And these days, four or more years of vigorous and peer-reviewed research can get spun by a blogger in one day.”

Hamilton traveled to Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 20 to present his study “Granite State Views of Climate Change” during a climate forum sponsored by the New Hampshire Carbon Action Alliance. The study shows that most New Hampshire residents believe their climate is changing—but there are deep partisan divisions. More on that later.

“Not very many people could even give a three-sentence explanation of climate change,” Hamilton said about the general public. “They think they understand it, but if you gave them a physics quiz, they wouldn’t pass it.”

Hamilton’s sentiments are echoed by a Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication study released in mid-October. In Anthony Leiserowitz and his fellow researchers found that although 63 percent of people believe global warming is happening, most of them can’t explain why.

Gaps in knowledge and misconceptions about climate change and Earth systems mean few Americans are eligible for the honor roll. Some 52 percent of the population would get an F grade, 40 percent would earn a C or a D and a mere 8 percent would be at the top of the class with an A or B.

Where New Hampshire Stands

No doubt, grasping the basics of climatology is difficult, Hamilton said. The vocabulary is challenging, modeling programs are complex and ever-evolving, and data sets can easily be misinterpreted by laypeople. For instance, he added, very few people even know that two types of sea ice exist—one type melts every summer while another has endured for eons.

To start gauging where New Hampshire residents stand on global warming, Hamilton collaborated with the UNH Carsey Institute to add three climate questions this year to what’s called the Granite State Poll. This statewide poll is a quarterly telephone survey of 500 randomly selected adults.

Overall, , July and September 2010 show that most residents believe the climate is changing, have at least a moderate understanding of the science behind it and think that most scientists agree that human activities are causing climate change.

The survey also shows that age, education level and political party affiliation affect respondents’ answers.

For example, those in the 18-to-29 age bracket overwhelmingly stated that climate change is happening now and is caused mainly by human activities. That belief lessens with age, the survey shows. As well, 62 percent of the respondents with an education beyond a bachelor’s degree said that human-caused climate change is happening now. That figure decreased to 42 percent among those with a high school degree or less.

However, the deepest divides cropped up when Hamilton separated respondents by party. Among Democrats, 79 percent said that human-caused climate change is occurring now. That dropped to 52 percent among independents and 27 percent among Republicans.

In addition, a full 75 percent of Democrats said most scientists agree that manmade activities are causing climate change. That number tapers off to 50 percent among independents and 26 percent among Republicans.

“We’ll be watching this as a barometer,” Hamilton said about continuing to track responses to the climate questions. “It’s not meant for advocacy.”

Where to Go From Here

And these days, four or more years ...

 “People aren’t getting climate change information directly from scientists. Instead, it’s being filtered via the Internet. And these days, four or more years of vigorous and peer-reviewed research can get spun by a blogger in one day.”

Yes indeed, look at all that work done by numerous scientists (Mann, Briffa, Phil and many many others) and peer reviewed none the less, that resulted in the famous Hockey Stick temperature reconstruction. Destroyed by on online blogger (Mckintyre at Now even some scientists that believe in AGW are trashing the Hockey Stick badly (). Sad isn't it? All those websites run by scientists such as wattsupwiththat and and others that present and discuss the very same data that the AGW guys have worked so hard collecting and filtering thru AGW colored glasses. Really hard to sell your "man is doomed" story when other scientists get to look at your data even thou you've done your best to keep it out of their hands (deny FOI requests, delete data, stack the peer review process... etc, as evidenced in the leaked in the climategate files).

Climate change (what else?)

I'm still waiting for evidence. If you think you have answers, I'd be delighted to discuss.

If you have some questions and want answers permit me to add to your questions. (I can also refer you to some answers that you may, or may not like.)

(Are you thinking - this must just be one of those internet notes circulating?, Probably is, except there are references back to credible sources. Really, you don't need to be a climate science specialist to understand that there is NO (nada, zilch) evidence that CO2 anywhere near its current levels creates warming.  (Industrial activity is pretty clearly adding CO2 to the atmosphere, but S L O W L Y.)

1.  What about the Medieval Warming Period (warmer than now and for 400 years) ?

2.  What about the "little ice age" (about 500 years in duration, ending when our current warming period began.

3.  While our current warming period could continue for a couple hundred more years and still be just natural variation, what about the fact that there's been no statistically significant warming for 15+ years now?  CO2 has been steadily rising.

4.  What about the fact that a packed gymnasium may have a CO2 level of 1000 ppmv, submariners regular live with 3000 to 4000 ppmv, and our current level is 390 ppmv, and even the UN predicts levels no higher than 600-700ppmv by 2100 ?

There's lots more, including the dubious actions by the so-called "scientists" at the UN's IPCC


CO2 is a fertilizer.

The point is that a "sociologist" claims that he can sell lies.

CO2 is not the reason of climatevariations.

CO2 is food for plants.


I think that people know more about the climate than what they are really given credit for. They just cannot afford to do what we are being told to do. Maybe more education is needed.



Man sollte jetzt in einem spielen, denn viele bieten Spielgeld Boni und Geld, nur um die Spiele einmal auszuprobieren.

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