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Sara Harris: Does Learning Climate Science Matter?

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1:00 PM, Tuesday 1 Jun 2021 EDT (1 hour 15 minutes)
As more reports emerge describing current climate change impacts, dire forecasts and closing windows of opportunity to take mitigating action, what is the purpose and role of climate science education? Can human risk perceptions be altered through learning climate science, or do personal worldviews and environmental beliefs dominate how strongly we view climate change as a threat? Work using a validated test of climate science knowledge, coupled with measures of values, worldviews, and risk perception indicates that climate literacy’s relationship to risk is often weak, and differs among populations. The relationships among these factors provide food for thought regarding how to approach climate science education for different audiences, if the goal is a shift in cultural norms toward taking action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, present and future.

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