Study: People are Confused about Climate Change, Weather and Climate Definitions

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

photo by Geralt

Local weather apparently plays a major part in people’s opinions on climate change, which was previously defined as global warming until recently, as a study discovered. George Washington University geography professor Michael L. Mann, a co-author of the study, explained that people who saw record-low temperatures are more skeptical of climate change.

Per an article in the GW Magazine, Mann said that a difficult part about informing the public about climate change is “the cognitive disconnect between local and global events” (i.e. defining climate change for the lay person). He added, “It is easy to assume that what you experience at home must be happening elsewhere.”

The article claimed, “experts say climate change will have a diverse set of effects,” without quoting a single expert except for Mann. Mann lamented, “unfortunately climate change was very early on framed as just climate warming.” The study added that the issues are the definition of climate versus weather and how to define it clearly in the public sphere.