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Ambio. 2013 Oct;42(6):755-66. doi: 10.1007/s13280-013-0388-4. Epub 2013 Mar 8.

Opinions and knowledge about climate change science in high school students.

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Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Højbakkegård Allé 30, 2630, Taastrup, Denmark,


This study investigates the influence of knowledge on opinions about climate change in the emerging adults' age group (16-17 years). Furthermore, the effects of a lecture in climate change science on knowledge and opinions were assessed. A survey was conducted in Austria and Denmark on 188 students in national and international schools before and after a lecture in climate change science. The results show that knowledge about climate change science significantly affects opinions about climate change. Students with a higher number of correct answers are more likely to have the opinion that humans are causing climate change and that both individuals and governments are responsible for addressing climate change. The lecture in climate change science significantly improved knowledge development but did not affect opinions. Knowledge was improved by 11 % after the lecture. However, the percentage of correct answers was still below 60 % indicating an urgent need for improving climate change science education.

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