In a country that largely believes God created the planet, most Americans are divided on issues regarding climate change and global warming. Incidentally even between different faith groups the opinion regarding environmental issues show a notable divide.
According to the new study conducted by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) – a major U.S. academic group for those who study religion – huge majority (73%) of White evangelicals remain skeptical of climate change. But Hispanic Catholics along with unaffiliated Americans and black Protestants think otherwise and largely believe in global warming and its effects. Overall though 43 percent of white mainline Protestants, 50 percent of Catholics and 52 percent of the unaffiliated do believe in the planet getting warmer.
Furthermore 53% Americans believed God would allow humans to destroy the world, compared to 39% who opposed that idea.
The survey found people divided in four groups. 46% people believe in climate change, 25% were only sympathizers, 26% remained skeptics while 3% people remained unsure.
“We asked about spiritual measures such as being in awe of the universe, and you might think it would correlate with views about the universe. But, in fact, they have very little relationship”, said Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI who conducted the survey based on telephone interviews with 1,013 adults between Sept. 14 and 18.
He further added. “These issues are symbolically important for two groups that play a major role in Republican primary politics: white evangelical Protestants and members of the Tea Party,”
The divide on the political affiliations is observed to be sharper. Only 41% of Republicans believed in global warming as oppose to 81% Democrats. Even though many Americans say that they do not care much about a candidate’s stance on either evolution or climate change, it does matter to White evangelicals. Therefore this can be an important point to exploit for the Republican candidates in the upcoming elections.
“There is no reason for climate change to be a partisan issue,” said Dan Cox, PRRI’s research director, “But the political leadership on the issue has led to a polarization of opinion, with Democrats and independents on one side and Republicans on the other.”