On Friday, November 21, PRRI released our latest survey, which covered religion, values, and climate change. The report, “Believers, Sympathizers, and Skeptics: Why Americans are Conflicted about Climate Change, Environmental Policy, and Science,” finds that few Americans believe they will personally be harmed by climate change but that it poses significant risk to people in developing countries.
The survey report garnered considerable media attention. Emma Green at The Atlantic noted that nearly half (49 percent) the public believe the severity of recent natural disasters is a sign of biblical “end times,” a finding that Aaron Blake at the Washington Post also pointed out. Both Green and Blake are quick to note that this belief is more prevalent in some religious communities than others—for example, white evangelicals (77 percent) and black Protestants (74 percent) are most likely to embrace the idea that the severity of natural disasters is a sign of the “end times.”
Michelle Boorstein, also of the Washington Post, pointed out that although Americans largely agree that God created the earth, they are divided on how God believed we should use its resources. Fifty-seven percent say God “gave humans the task of living responsibly with animals, plants and other resources, which are not just for human benefit,” while 35 percent say God gave humans all that “solely for their own benefit.” She also highlighted major differences between faith groups on topics including concern over climate change and how deeply connected they feel to nature.
Over at the Religion News Service, Cathy Lynn Grossman reported that although 70 percent of Americans said they “experience a connection to all life” every day or most days, only five percent thought climate change was the most important issue in the U.S. today. And Mark Silk focused his attention on the fact that at 73 percent, Hispanic Catholics are more concerned about climate change than any other religious group in America.
The International Business Times echoed the main findings from the report that showed that Americans generally don’t see themselves as vulnerable to the impacts of climate change—only 24 percent believe they’ll be greatly harmed. But their outlook is much grimmer for those in poorer developing countries—54 percent say others will be greatly harmed.
Read the entire report here.