Sadly, climate change is still the unpopular topic on the list of concerns for Americans. Jobs, economic inequality, healthcare, debt and deficit, immigration and education all beat out concern for climate change. This report from the Public Religion Research Institute looks to see if there’s a connection between religious beliefs and accepting the science of climate change.


This report concludes what you might not think – they find there is ‘no significant relationship between frequency of spiritual experiences and beliefs about the reality and causes of climate change’. The strongest indicator as to whether you accept the science of climate change is still your political affiliation, with the Tea Party strongly at the denial end and Democrats better represented in the science end of the spectrum.


  • 65% of Democrats surveyed accept the reality of climate change, 22% of Republicans do and 23% of Tea Party members do.
  • A full 53% of Tea Partiers deny the reality of climate change.
  • White evangelical Protestants are more likely than other religious groups to be climate change deniers.
  • Americans who report higher frequency of spiritual experiences are more likely to be more concerned about climate change.

Climate silence – most Americans who attend religious services at least once a month hear little about climate change from the pulpit or from their religious leaders. Americans who say their clergy leader speaks about climate change are more likely to be concerned about climate change.

Caring for our planet – 57% of respondents rejected the idea that God intended humanity to use the Earth purely for our own benefit and that we have responsibilities to other living things and the care of the planet.

Waiting for leadership – 69% of respondents believe the U.S. Government needs to do more to address climate change, regardless of whether they think the primary solutions to climate change will come from the private sector. Most people also still think dealing with climate will require major sacrifices.

Support for emissions limits – 64% supported placing stricter limits of vehicle emissions and 57% supported limits on the CO2 emitted from power plants, however respondents were more divided over policies related to traditional fossil fuels like the building of the Keystone XL pipeline and fracking.


image via flickr (cc) Saint-Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy

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