Majorities of American Catholics, Protestants, and Evangelicals Support Policies to Reduce Global Warming

April 1, 2015 – (New Haven, CT) A new national survey finds that majorities of American Christians support a range of policies that would help reduce global warming:

  • Tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (83% of Catholics, 80% of non-evangelical Protestants, and 74% of evangelicals, respectively)
  • More research funding into renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power (81%, 81% and 73%)
  • Regulation of carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas) as a pollutant (74%, 75% and 72%)
  • Requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year (67%, 68% and 60%)

“Our survey finds that most American Christians believe global warming is happening and support policies that can help reduce it,” said lead-researcher Anthony Leiserowitz, PhD. “We also find that most believe ‘God expects people to be good stewards of nature, which is not only here for human use.’”

The survey also found that majorities of Catholics, Protestants, and evangelicals say it is important to them personally to care for future generations of people (82%, 82%, and 86% respectively), the natural environment (76% of each group), and the world’s poor (67%, 63%, and 77%). Over half also think reducing global warming will help future generations of people (67%, 60%, and 55%).

“Most American Christians think that reducing global warming today will help our descendants tomorrow,” said Ed Maibach, PhD, a lead researcher of the study. “Caring for future generations of people, as well as caring for the natural environment and the world’s poor today, are strongly held personal values for most American Christians. It appears that recent comments on the immorality of climate denial by the US Episcopal Church, and the Pope’s support for climate action are likely to be well received by many within the American Christian community.”

This report is based on findings from a nationally representative survey – Climate Change in the American Mind – conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Interview dates: February 27 – March 10, 2015. Interviews: 1,263 Adults (18+). Average margin of error: +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The research was funded by the 11th Hour Project, the Energy Foundation, the Grantham Foundation, and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.

In addition to Drs. Leiserowitz and Maibach, principal investigators included Geoff Feinberg and Dr. Seth Rosenthal of Yale University; and Dr. Connie Roser-Renouf of George Mason University.


For questions about the survey, please contact:
Anthony Leiserowitz, 203-432-4865,