Why college students aren’t doing enough to address climate change
A new survey finds that just 38% of college students believe climate change is occurring, the lowest level of engagement for any survey on the issue.
The study by the University of Michigan and The Associated Press finds that, on average, college students are less than half as likely as adults in all other sectors to believe climate changes are happening.
The survey, conducted by The Associated Group for the Study of American Life, found that college students were less likely than adults in other sectors, including the workforce and government, to think climate change was occurring.
It also found that a majority of college graduates and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher reported not believing climate change.
The findings are troubling given the growing consensus among the scientific community that climate change poses a grave threat to the health and lives of Americans, including many in the middle class, as well as a growing concern among those who live in rural areas and are more likely to live in extreme weather events, such as extreme drought.
More than one in three respondents said they believe climate scientists are “biased” against them, while almost one in four respondents said that the U.S. is “very likely” to see a significant increase in extreme heat and rain in the coming decades.
The majority of respondents said climate change would likely lead to a decrease in life expectancy, although a minority of respondents reported that they did not believe climate will lead to an increase in life spans.
The poll, conducted in the spring and summer of 2016, included questions about climate change and its impact on public opinion.
In all, 1,025 adults nationwide were surveyed, including 513 with a college degree or less, by landline and cellphone.
The survey was conducted between April 17 and April 20, 2016.