New poll on religion and climate change

View of Earth from the International Space Station. Photo courtesy of NASA.

A new poll "finds that highly religious Americans (those who say they pray each day, regularly attend religious services and consider religion very important in their lives) are far less likely than other U.S. adults to express concern about warming temperatures around the globe," according to the Pew Research Center (November 17, 2022).

While only 39% of respondents with high religious commitment agreed that Earth is getting warming because of human activity, 50% of those with medium religious commitment and 70% of those with low religious commitment agreed. Similarly, 42% of respondents with high religious commitment regarded climate change as an extremely or very serious problem, as opposed to 55% of those with medium religious commitment and 72% of low religious commitment.

The Pew Research Center identified the primary factor responsible for the divergence as politics, remarking, "The main driver of U.S. public opinion about the climate is political party, not religion. Highly religious Americans are more inclined than others to identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, and Republicans tend to be much less likely than Democrats to believe that human activity ... is warming the Earth or to consider climate change a serious problem."

The poll was conducted on-line, in both English and Spanish, from April 11 to April 17, 2022, among 10,156 respondents sampled from a nationally representative panel of U.S. adults. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 10,156 respondents is plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.

Glenn Branch
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.