The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Will Davies: 646-628-1210 /
Nell Greenberg: 510-847-9777 /

8th Graders: We Know Humans Cause Climate Change, Why Don't Republicans?

First ever poll of children on climate change finds 90% know it’s manmade; Senators Cruz, Paul, Rubio challenged by kids on Capitol Hill to ‘Take the Climate Quiz’


An overwhelming majority of 8th grade children know that climate change is real and humans are causing it, according to a first ever national poll of children on climate change released today by the global advocacy group Avaaz and conducted by Ipsos. This is in stark contrast to nine out of ten GOP senators who voted against an amendment in January acknowledging the crisis as manmade.

On the heels of the poll, today a group of students from across the country are in Washington to challenge their GOP Senators, including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, to take an elementary school level climate science quiz.

Terra Lawson-Remer, campaign director at Avaaz, said: "Nine out of ten kids across America know that catastrophic climate change is impacting the air they breathe, the food they eat and the future they will inherit. And they know this is a crisis we're causing and can do something about it. Nine out of ten Republican Senators, on the other hand, are not only failing science class, they are failing our children."

Bailey Recktenwald from Durham, NC, one of the students challenging Senators on Capitol Hill today, said: "As we release fossil fuels that have been trapped under our earth for millions and millions of years, we're going to warm the planet, and that's just from a 6th grade science level. It baffles me that these senators can't grasp that."

Key results from the Avaaz/Ipsos poll of 8th graders:

  • Nine in ten (90%) eighth graders agree that climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to climate change
  • 87% say driving cars and other things that use gasoline is seen as contributing to climate change
  • 72% say the same of chopping down trees which consume carbon dioxide
  • 56% see the process of creating electricity for our lights from fossil fuels as contributing to climate change

The children on Capitol Hill today come from states on the front line of climate change: including Florida where land is being lost to the sea, and Omaha, Nebraska, a key battle line of the Keystone XL pipeline. Others in Washington tomorrow are from Atlanta, GA and Durham, NC. A New York Times poll in late January showed that Americans were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied climate science that determined that humans caused global warming.

Last month, Avaaz launched an online petition now backed by nearly 38,000 Americans, calling on US Senators who don't believe humans caused climate change to 'Stop ignoring facts and start passing laws to mitigate the climate crisis.' is a new global web movement with a simple democratic mission: to close the gap between the world we have, and the world most people everywhere want. "Avaaz" means "Voice" in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European languages. Across the world, most people want stronger protections for the environment, greater respect for human rights, and concerted efforts to end poverty, corruption and war. Yet globalization faces a huge democratic deficit as international decisions are shaped by political elites and unaccountable corporations -- not the views and values of the world's people.