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A Bunch of 12-Year-Olds Are Schooling Republican Senators on Climate Change

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A group of kids hope to teach Republicans politicians a lesson about climate change on Tuesday. In an event organized by the advocacy group Avaaz, they will visit a dozen offices to ask senators—including Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul—to take a simple elementary school quiz on climate change science. Many of those senators would probably fail it. In the past, in response to questions about climate change, McConnell and Rubio have both told the press they are "not scientists."

The senators could learn something from the six students, who come from Georgia, Florida, Nebraska, and North Carolina. "When our world’s top scientists at NASA release information stating that humans are impacting the climate, I tend to believe them more," said Jack Levy, an 18-year-old student from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. "Scientists have noticed that this was a problem for a really long time, like, maybe 20 years ago? Longer than I've been alive," said Nadia Sheppard, a 16-year-old from North Carolina. 

Or, the lawmakers could turn to practically any 12-year-old for an explanation. Avaaz, which helped organize the People's Climate March in New York City last September, commissioned a poll from Ipsos on how 12-year-olds view climate change. Out of 1,002 eighth-grade students surveyed, 90 percent responded that climate change is real and it’s “significantly” driven by human activity.

The Senate voted in January on a series of amendments over whether climate change is real and driven by human activity. Only 50 percent voted to approve a Democratic amendment asserting that climate change is real and is significantly caused by human activity, a number that rose to 59 percent for a similar amendment that dropped the word “significantly.”