A new report by the Pew Research Center reveals that religious Americans are less likely to be worried about climate change than other American adults.
The survey of 10,156 American adults reported that around 57% of all respondents, regardless of ethnicity, religion, and religious commitment, believe climate change is a severe problem. However, highly religious Americans - those who see religion as an essential part of their lives - are less likely to be concerned about climate change than other American adults.
A new Pew Research Center report says most U.S. adults consider the Earth sacred. But the highly religious are far less likely than other U.S. adults to express concern about warming temperatures worldwide. https://t.co/5mW8MBj4cQ
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 17, 2022
Pew Research Center also uncovered gaps between high, medium, and low religious commitments and their relationship with the perception of climate change. The more religious an American adult is, the less likely they are to see climate change as a serious issue and the more likely they are to identify as Republican.
Although many factors influence American adults’ perception of climate change, the survey, conducted from April 11 to 17, concludes that “the main driver of U.S. public opinion about the climate is political party, not religion.”
Six -in-ten of those who are both highly religious and concerned about climate change identify as Democratic or lean toward the Democratic Party (59%). The highly religious and not very concerned predominantly identify with or lean toward the GOP (83%). https://t.co/QL4cq7Ykwi pic.twitter.com/4ItXNmF3z6
— Pew Research Religion (@PewReligion) November 17, 2022
For instance, Democrats and political independents leaning towards the Democratic Party are more likely to believe that climate change is a problem, regardless of religious affiliation. On the contrary, Republicans and political independents leaning towards the Republican Party of all religious affiliations are less concerned about climate change.
As a group, Evangelicals are notorious for downplaying or denying climate change and its harmful effects. The survey discovered that 66% of Evangelicals are more concerned about the possible impacts of environmental regulations on the economy and individual freedoms than other religious groups.
But when politics is taken into consideration, a different picture emerges. 78% of Evangelicals who lean Democrat perceive climate change as a serious issue, compared to only 17% of Republican-leaning Evangelicals who share the same view.
In contrast, religiously unaffiliated American adults are most likely to see climate change as a threat, with about 70% of the respondents claiming it is a serious problem. 68% also believe that environmental regulations are worth the economic and political costs they could bring.
However, the study also showed that only 34% of religious “nones” who lean towards the Republican Party are less likely to be concerned about climate change than those who lean Democrat, with about 86% of Democrat-leaning religious “nones” seeing it as a threat.
Aside from religious affiliation, political party ties, and religious commitment, the Pew Research survey also studied other factors that shape religious American adults' perception of climate change. These factors include belief in the “end times,” holding dominionist views, care for future generations and attention from US congregations regarding the issue.