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How Much Do You Know About Climate Change?

When Yale University quizzed US adults on the facts, most of them got a failing grade. How do you compare?

Posted on April 26, 2019, at 10:02 a.m. ET

This week, BuzzFeed News is highlighting the current reality of climate change and how it is changing our world. How much do you know about what’s going on?

  1. What does the “greenhouse effect” refer to?

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    Incorrect
    The Earth’s protective ozone layer
    Correct
    Incorrect
    How plants grow
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Gases in the atmosphere that trap heat
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Pollution that causes acid rain
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun, reflected back from the Earth’s surface.

  2. In 2016, the warmest year on record, the average temperature of the Earth’s surface was about 58.8 degrees Fahrenheit (14.9 degrees Celsius). What was the average over the 30 years from 1951–1980?

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    Incorrect
    about 51 degrees F (10.6 degrees C)
    Correct
    Incorrect
    about 54 degrees F (12.2 degrees C)
    Correct
    Incorrect
    about 57 degrees F (13.9 degrees C)
    Correct
    Incorrect
    about 60 degrees F (15.6 degrees C)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Since the middle of the last century, the Earth has warmed on average by almost 2 degrees F (about 1 degree C).

  3. Which gas is good at trapping heat from the Earth’s surface?

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    Incorrect
    Carbon dioxide
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Methane
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Water vapor
    Correct
    Incorrect
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    All three are greenhouse gases. Another is nitrous oxide, which is emitted when farmers add nitrogen to the soil by using synthetic fertilizers.

  4. Which gas is produced by burning fossil fuels?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Oxygen
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    Oxygen
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    Carbon dioxide
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    Carbon dioxide
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    Helium
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    Helium
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    Hydrogen
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    Hydrogen
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    Correct!
    Wrong!

    When fossil fuels burn, much of the carbon they contain combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.

  5. Which is a fossil fuel?

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    Incorrect
    Solar
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    Solar
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood
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    Wood
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    Oil
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    Oil
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    Hydrogen
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    Hydrogen
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    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Oil forms from the remains of tiny marine organisms, laid down in ocean sediments.

  6. Roughly how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere in 1850?

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    150 parts per million
    Correct
    Incorrect
    290 parts per million
    Correct
    Incorrect
    410 parts per million
    Correct
    Incorrect
    450 parts per million
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    That’s just under 0.03% of the air, by volume.

  7. Roughly how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere today?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    150 parts per million
    Correct
    Incorrect
    290 parts per million
    Correct
    Incorrect
    410 parts per million
    Correct
    Incorrect
    450 parts per million
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    There is about 40% more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than there was in 1850.

  8. How much do scientists estimate that global sea levels rose from 1900 to 2000?

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    Incorrect
    6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 centimeters)
    Correct
    Incorrect
    3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters)
    Correct
    Incorrect
    10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.7 meters)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Scientists have measured sea level rise with tide gauges and, more recently, from satellites.

  9. If we were to stop burning fossil fuels today, would global warming stop almost immediately?

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    Yes
    Correct
    Incorrect
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    There’s a delay between emissions entering the atmosphere and all of the related warming.

  10. Which of these countries emits the most carbon dioxide?

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    Incorrect
    Japan
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    Japan
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    United States
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    United States
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    India
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    India
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    China
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    China
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    Correct!
    Wrong!

    China’s carbon dioxide emissions overtook those of the US in 2007.

  11. Which of these countries emits the most carbon dioxide per person?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Japan
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    Japan
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    United States
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    United States
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    India
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    India
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    Correct
    Incorrect
    China
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    China
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    Correct!
    Wrong!

    On average, each American is responsible for more than twice the carbon dioxide emissions of the average Chinese citizen.

  12. Which of the following actions would reduce global warming?

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    Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Reducing tropical deforestation
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Driving less
    Correct
    Incorrect
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Curbing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the air will reduce global warming. The two top sources of US emissions are transportation and electricity production.


For more from this series, click here.

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