By now you’ve probably heard about the new Yale study that found that 52 percent of Americans would flunk Climate 101. That statistic may sound depressing — but the study is actually hilarious!

I first read about the study at Grist, whose “Spray it not so!” tagline made me LOL. Apparently, two-thirds of Americans think aerosol spray causes climate change. Worse, an ozone-loving 43 percent of those surveyed also believe “if we stopped punching holes in the ozone layer with rockets, it would reduce global warming.”

Those tidbits were funny enough to me that I decided to download the entire 60-page study (PDF) — partly for more laughs and partly to quiz myself — and found myself laughing on the first page. Why? Well, on the upside, a happy 63 percent of respondents said yes, they believe that global warming is happening. But when they were asked how sure they are of global warming’s reality, an indecisive 4 percent of the yes respondents said they were “not at all sure.”

Why these people didn’t just answer “Don’t know” on the first question is a mystery to me — but on the flip side, 6 percent of those who said they DON’T believe global warming is happening were “not at all sure” about their beliefs either.

A full 10 percent of the respondents admitted not knowing what the “greenhouse effect” was — while a bolder 3 percent said it refers to "how plants grow." A strange 7 percent of people believed solar power to be a fossil fuel.

There were some tough questions too, though. Can you answer this one?

The average temperature of the Earth’s surface is currently about 58 degrees Fahrenheit. What do you think the average temperature of the Earth’s surface was during the last ice age?
I couldn’t. The answer is on page 21 of the study (PDF). I recommend reading the whole thing to brush up on your Climate 101 knowledge!

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