Energy & Environment

Education and views about climate change

Dan Farber

A political science blog called the Monkey Cage (the name is a reference to an irreverent remark by H.L. Mencken) has an interesting post about education and views about climate change.

As you would expect, education is positively correlated with a better understanding of the science — but only for liberals.

graph

Education and Views on Climate Change

Educated conservatives are no more convinced, and perhaps less convinced, by the science than less educated conservatives. The figures to the right tell the story

The reason could be “epistemic closure” — the more data people get, the more they filter the data to support their preexisting views, so the more confident they are in their views. Thus, the tendency of the more educated to be more politically polarized in general.

But it’s also possible that there are confounding variables relating to age, religion, or geography that make educated conservatives different from less educated conservatives, and that these within-group differences among conservatives have effects that counterbalance the general trend for educated people to know more about science. In any event, it’s an odd and interesting pattern.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.

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Comments to "Education and views about climate change":
    • Gammo

      This massive and rapid change to our climate is like nothing humankind has seen before. As such, the science around it has been cautious and careful in reaching consensus over time. But a strong consensus has finally been reached; the scientific community now agrees that climate change is real, it’s caused by human activity and it’s already happening.

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    • john

      Excellent confirmation of suspicions about basic differences between liberals and conservatives when it comes to which prefers an educated public, which believes in science, which cares more about the future of humanity, etc.

      Also provides a terrific reference to “Monkey Cage” that conservatives will probably never comprehend either.

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    • Anthony St. John '63

      Excellent confirmation of suspicions about basic differences between liberals and conservatives when it comes to which prefers an educated public, which believes in science, which cares more about the future of humanity, etc.

      Also provides a terrific reference to “Monkey Cage” that conservatives will probably never comprehend either.

      [Report abuse]

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