People Are Asking Google If Climate Change Is Real

This year is shaping up to be the hottest on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday released temperature data for June, ranking it as the warmest June in history. As temperatures remain high, people are turning to Google to ask about climate change — what it is, if it’s real and how to stop it, among other queries.

(Though Google’s data doesn’t necessarily reflect people’s attitude toward climate change or other environmental issues, there is a consensus in the scientific community that climate change is happening, that humans are largely responsible for it and that it is a threat to human activities and the natural world. Climate change is also acknowledged by the U.S. Senate and the United Nations.)

Google has published data on how Search users have been reacting to this summer’s intense heat wave. Here are some of the most popular questions coming out of the United States:

In the United States, climate change was especially popular in the District of Columbia, where Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been an outspoken defender of environmental protection.

Google also offered up data from elsewhere in the world. Searches related to climate change were extremely popular in South Pacific countries like Fiji and the Solomon Islands, as well as Swaziland in Africa and Panama in Central America.

In addition, Searches for “climate change” spiked on June 18, the day Pope Francis issued a long-awaited encyclical denouncing climate change as an urgent global environmental crisis. Here’s what that spike looked like:

Google’s Trend data even shows a shift in the way people talk about the environment: We don’t use the word “global warming” as much as we used to.

Interest in “global warming” peaked in March 2007, around —> Read More