Quiz: How Much do You Really Know About Climate Change?

by |September 21, 2017
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Photo: Pexels

We hear about climate change all the time—on the radio, on tv, in newspapers and magazines. Probably you already know the big picture: that the global thermostat is rising, thanks to greenhouse gas emissions from our cars and power plants, and that it’s having profound effects on the atmosphere, oceans, plants, and animals. But how much do you know about the nitty gritty details?

In honor of Climate Week NYC, we’ve dug up some staggering and fascinating statistics. Sharpen your Number 2 pencils (just kidding, you can use whatever writing utensil you’d like), and write down your responses to these 10 climate-related questions. When you’re done, the answers are at the bottom of the page—no cheating!

  1. How many metric tons of greenhouse gases does the U.S. emit every year (in terms of CO2 equivalent, based on 2015 data)?

A. 10

B. 500,303

C. 547.4 million

D. 6,587 million

 

  1. Since 1880, how much has the world has warmed?

A. Trick question—the world is actually cooling.

B. 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit

C. 7.1 degrees Fahrenheit

D. 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit

 

  1. Which of these impacts may result from climate change by 2100?

A. Global temperatures will rise by 2.5 to 10 degrees, and sea levels will rise by 1 to 4 feet.

B. Pests and mosquito-borne diseases will spread to new areas.

C. Hurricanes and rainstorms will become more extreme.

D. All of the above

 

  1. True or False: Unplugging your appliances and gadgets when you’re not using them could shave as much as 10 percent off your energy bill.

 

  1. Approximately how much have solar power prices dropped since 2008?

A. 70 percent

B. 97 percent

C. 25 percent

D. 36 percent

 

  1. How much money are fossil fuels receiving in subsidies per year?

A. $400.6 million

B. $1.3 billion

C. $744 billion

D. $5.3 trillion

 

  1. If sea levels rise by three feet (which could happen by the end of the century), how many military bases and installations will be at least partially underwater?

A. All of them.

B. 13

C. 128

D. 1

 

  1. How much carbon-free energy could offshore wind farms potentially generate in the U.S.?

A. 500 megawatts

B. 44,000 gigawatts

C. 1.5 terawatts

D. 2,000 gigawatts

 

  1. How many offshore wind farms are currently operating in the U.S.?

A. 1

B. 3

C. 9

D. 12

 

  1. How can you reduce your carbon footprint?

A. By eating less meat

B. By buying less single-use plastic

C. By driving less

D. All of the above

 

Ok, time’s up. Scroll down to get the answers.

scientists walk on ice

Scientists study water chemistry and plankton around pools of melting Arctic ice. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

 

Answers:

 

  1. How many metric tons of greenhouse gases does the U.S. emit every year (in terms of CO2 equivalent, based on 2015 data)?

Answer: D, 6,587 million. The U.S.’s carbon emissions from 2015 alone add up to the weight of nearly 20,000 Empire State Buildings.

 

  1. Since 1880, how much has the world has warmed?

Answer: B, 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not sound like much, but it has huge impacts on the environment. At the end of the last Ice Age, when the Northeastern U.S. was covered by 3,000 feet of ice, the world was only 5 to 9 degrees cooler than it is today.  

 

  1. Which of these impacts may result from climate change by 2100?

Answer: D, all of the above. And that’s not all—plenty more impacts are listed here.

 

  1. True or False: Unplugging your electronics when you’re not using them could shave as much as 10 percent off your energy bill.

Answer: True. According to the EPA, “energy vampires”—appliances that use up energy even when idle—cost Americans $10 billion a year. Unplugging them means less fossil fuel emissions, and less wasted money.

 

  1. Approximately how much have solar power prices dropped since 2008?

Answer: A, 70 percent, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. A report from the Environment New York Research and Policy Center predicts that solar power will be cheaper than coal by 2025. And wind power is becoming more affordable, too—by some estimates, prices have dropped by 41 percent since 2008.

 

  1. How much money are fossil fuels receiving in subsidies per year?

Answer: D, $5.3 trillion, according to an estimate from the International Monetary fund. This staggering number comes from the fact that fossil fuel producers don’t currently pay for their products’ hidden costs—the impacts of air pollution, floods, droughts, and storms exacerbated by climate change. Instead, governments and taxpayers foot the bill. That’s why some people advocate for carbon pricing.

 

  1. If sea levels rise by three feet (which could happen by the end of the century), how many military bases and installations will be at least partially underwater?

Answer: C, 128. It’s one of the reasons the Pentagon is already taking action to avoid and adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

  1. How much carbon-free energy could offshore wind farms potentially generate in the U.S.?

Answer: D, 2,000 gigawatts. That’s about twice as much electricity than Americans currently consume.

 

  1. How many offshore wind farms are currently operating in the U.S.?

Answer: A, 1. The 5-turbine, 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm began operating in December 2016. Others are on the way.

 

  1. How can you reduce your carbon footprint?

Answer: D, all of the above. And we’ve got more suggestions right here.

 

So, how’d you do? Feel free to let us know in the comments section or on Twitter.


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