White U.S. evangelicals most skeptical on climate change
Among U.S. religious groups, white evangelical Protestants are the least likely to believe that human activities are contributing to climate change, according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. You can see the numbers, based on a broader 2008 poll, here.
Overall the Pew Forum found that a plurality, or 47 percent, of the adult U.S. population accepts that there is solid evidence that the earth is warming because of human activities. Most scientists have reached the conclusion that the planet’s climate is changing because of human-induced factors, notably the emissions from burning of the fossil fuels that drive the global economy.
Among religious groups Pew found that those who said they were unaffiliated with any faith tradition were the most likely to accept that humanity was warming the planet, with 58 percent of them taking that view.
Among white mainline Protestants the figure was 48 percent, it was 39 percent for black Protestants and 34 percent for white evangelical Protestants, a key base for the Republican Party whose leaders have often cast doubt on the link between emissions and climate change.
Former U.S. president George W. Bush pulled America out of the Kyoto treaty to curb emissions — a move hailed at the time by his Republican base — while President Barack Obama , a Democrat, has made climate a key policy priority.
Many evangelical Christians put their faith completely in the Bible which they see as the revealed word of God and so they also question other widely accepted scientific views such as evolution. Some have even suggested that climate change may be a sign that the biblical end times are drawing near.
But doubt about the link between human causes and climate change is hardly restricted to evangelicals in America. Overall 21 percent of Americans say there is no solid evidence that the earth is warming and 18 percent attribute it to natural causes. This is perhaps not surprising in a country that has an enduring love affair with the automobile.
(Photo: A view of the Manhattan skyline during Earth Hour in New York March 28, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES)