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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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    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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    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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    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! 
    Wrong! 

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

  5. Which is a fossil fuel?

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

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

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    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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    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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    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?

    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! 
    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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    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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