The Francis Effect

A recent surge of interest in the environment has increased public engagement amongst Catholics and Christians. Six months after Pope Francis’ letter to the Catholic Church and his subsequent visit to America, a global conversation has been sparked about environmental awareness. He made a moral call to action for people and the nations to consider implications of climate change.


The study found that a majority of Americans, Christians and non -Christians trust Pope Francis as a source of information on climate change and as a result people have become more concerned about the environment.


Public opinion trends:

• More than 6 in 10 Americans (62%) trust the Pope as a source of information about global warming.

• Many Americans (17%) and Catholics (35%) say the Pope’s position on global warming has influenced their views about the issue.

Views of Pope Francis: Americans had generally positive views of the Pope in the spring, with 53 percent of Americans saying they had moderately or very positive opinions. By the fall, the proportion who viewed him very positively had grown by 7 percentage points, and those with no opinion had decreased by 9 percentage points.

Of those Americans who say they've been influenced, half (50%) say the Pope’s position on global warming made them more concerned about global warming,


1 in 10 (8%) say they became less concerned 

Few Americans Say Their Views on Global Warming Have Changed

Only one in twenty Americans say they've changed their opinions on global warming over the past year. Fewer Americans (-3 points) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on coal-fired power plants. 

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