Many Americans Will Be Receptive to Pope Francis’ Climate Message


Many Americans Will Be Receptive to Pope Francis’ Climate Message

With Pope Francis now on U.S. soil, what can be said about Americans’ receptivity to his moral entreaty to act now to limit climate change? Our research indicates the American public – Catholics and non-Catholics alike – will be receptive to the Pope’s message.

Majorities of Americans and non-evangelical Protestants think global warming is happening; half of evangelicals do as well.

Image for Majorities Think Global Warming is Happening
Image for Majorities Think Global Warming is Happening

While a majority of Americans – two in three (63%) – say global warming is happening, Catholics are more likely to believe it is (69%). Moreover, Catholics are more likely than other American Christians such as non-Evangelical Protestants (62%) and Evangelicals (51%) to think global warming is happening, suggesting the Pope’s statements on the matter will resonate with Catholics. Source: Climate Change in the American Christian Mind

Among American Christians, Catholics are the most likely to think global warming is caused mostly by human activities

Image for Among American Christians, Catholics are the Most Likely to Think Global Warming is Caused Mostly by Human Activities
Image for Among American Christians, Catholics are the Most Likely to Think Global Warming is Caused Mostly by Human Activities

American Catholics (57%), more than other Christians and total Americans, are aware that global warming is caused mostly by human activities (97% of climate scientists agree). By contrast, not more than half of other Christians – 41% of Evangelicals and 50% of non-Evangelical Protestants – think global warming is mostly human caused.Source: Climate Change in the American Christian Mind

A Majority of Americans Say It is Appropriate for the Pope to Take a Public Position on the Issue of Global Warming

Image for A Majority of Americans Say It is Appropriate for the Pope to Take a Public Position on the Issue of Global Warming
Image for A Majority of Americans Say It is Appropriate for the Pope to Take a Public Position on the Issue of Global Warming

Americans think the Pope can use his platform to address global warming. Over half (55%) say it is appropriate for the Pope to take a public position on the issue of global climate change, while only 21% say it is not appropriate, (and 23% say they are unsure).

However, fewer than half of Americans (31% in July) have heard about the Pope’s recent encyclical, in which he wrote that addressing global warming needs to be a high priority for the Catholic Church and the world. It is likely that more Americans will be aware of the Pope’s views on climate change after his visit to the United States.Source: Speaking Out on Global Warming: Public Attitudes Toward the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change