The World Risk Poll shows that people who have experience with severe weather are more likely to see climate change as a severe threat. Around the world, it is increasingly evident that climate change is happening: heat waves, wildfires, and floods are becoming more severe and more common.
But it’s mostly people with higher education who recognise climate change is happening. The World Risk Poll shows that, worldwide, the likelihood of people viewing climate change as a serious threat to their country was much lower among those with primary education or less (32%) than among those with secondary (47%) or post-secondary (50%) education.
Why does education predict climate change concerns? Climate change is a complex scientific topic, which may be harder to understand for people who do not have much science education. But climate scientists and climate journalists often make climate change even harder to understand by using jargon such as adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development.
Climate change communications should be accessible for everyone.
My team at the University of California has been working with climate policy makers to describe climate change in a way that is more concrete and in everyday language. We have also created a quick guide to climate jargon for people who want to learn more about climate change and the associated terminology. Ultimately, we hope that these efforts help to empower people to act on climate change.