More Money, Less Acceptance: The Relationship between GDP, Science Literacy, and Acceptance of Human-induced Climate Change

By Robert Danielson and Doug Lombardi.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 19, 2015 $US5.00

In this study, the authors examined how a country’s GDP per capita, percent enrollment in secondary and tertiary education, and scores on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) predict the acceptance of human-induced climate change, after statistically controlling for their awareness of climate change. One would expect that all of these variables should be positively associated—that is, countries with greater GDP per capita should have more money to invest in education, which should raise their percent enrollment, scientific knowledge, and PISA scores. This, in turn, would create more highly skilled workers, which would further contribute to greater levels of GDP. We found that while greater enrollment in tertiary education significantly predicts acceptance of human-induced climate change—countries with larger GDP are less likely to accept human-induced climate change. These findings may imply that even those who score highly on international tests of science knowledge lack the skills to critically examine complex science arguments, particularly those that are controversial. Further research is needed to examine the possible links between science knowledge, acceptance of human-induced climate change, and other factors such as personal attitudes toward science or motivated reasoning.

Keywords: Global Climate Change, Attitudes, PISA

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.13-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 19, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 422.040KB)).

Robert Danielson

PhD Student, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Dr. Doug Lombardi

Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


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