2016-02-12. Climate confusion among U.S. teachers.

posted Feb 12, 2016, 9:34 AM by Alan Gould
By Eric Plutzer et al, Science. For GSS Climate Change chapter 4. Excerpt: Although more than 95% of active climate scientists attribute recent global warming to human causes and most of the general public accepts that climate change is occurring, only about half of U.S. adults believe that human activity is the predominant cause, which is the lowest among 20 nations polled in 2014. We ...find that, whereas most U.S. science teachers include climate science in their courses, their insufficient grasp of the science may hinder effective teaching. Mirroring some actors in the societal debate over climate change, many teachers repeat scientifically unsupported claims in class.  ...30% of teachers emphasize that recent global warming “is likely due to natural causes,” and 12% do not emphasize human causes (half of whom do not emphasize any explanation and thereby avoid the topic altogether). ...Some teachers may wish to teach “both sides” to accommodate values and perspectives that students bring to the classroom. ...teachers might experience overt pressure from parents, community leaders, or school administrators not to teach climate change.  ...teachers also may not be very knowledgeable about a wide range of evidence—e.g., CO2 measurements from ice cores and from direct measures at Mauna Loa—and how climate models work. ...many teachers are unaware of the extent of scientific agreement. ...when asked “what proportion of climate scientists think that global warming is caused mostly by human activities?”—only 30% of middle-school and 45% of high-school science teachers selected the correct option of “81 to 100%.”....  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6274/664.full