, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 755–766 | Cite as

Opinions and Knowledge About Climate Change Science in High School Students

  • Inez Harker-SchuchEmail author
  • Christian Bugge-Henriksen


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.


Climate change Emerging adults Education Opinion Scientific knowledge Policy development 



We wish to thank: Dr John Roy Porter, Eskild Hohlmann Bennetzen, Dr Helga Kromp-Kolb.

Supplementary material

13280_2013_388_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (176 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 175 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenTaastrupDenmark

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