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ABSTRACT

Science educators have a key role in empowering students to take action to reduce global warming. This involves assisting students to understand its causes as well as taking pedagogical decisions that have optimal probabilities of leading to students being motivated to take actions based on empirically based science beliefs. To this end New South Wales’ (Australia) (n = 500) and English (n = 785) secondary students’ (Grades 7–10) beliefs about the effectiveness of various specific actions in reducing global warming, and their self-reported willingness to take those actions, were determined and compared, using a specially designed questionnaire. Using novel derived indices, the relationship between beliefs and willingness to act for specific actions was explored. In general, both cohorts were less inclined to act than their beliefs in the effectiveness of the actions might warrant, although the extent of this disparity varied between different actions. However, further analysis identified those actions for which science education may be more effective in encouraging proenvironmental behavior. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed 97:191–217, 2013