Friday, November 21, 2014

Faith Groups Divided over God’s Role in Climate Change, Natural Disasters

"The severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of" Click to enlarge.
The United Nations' climate panel warned recently that global climate change is set to render "severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts" and 2014 will likely be the hottest year on record.

Yet the majority of Americans think the worst climate impacts will happen in poorer, less-developed foreign nations, and not in the United States, according to a new survey about religious beliefs and climate change among Americans by the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, and the American Academy of Religion.

Among a pool of 3,000 Americans, 24 percent of respondents said they believe climate change would personally harm them a great deal, while 30 percent said it would harm them moderately.  Forty-five percent of respondents said climate change would inflict little to no harm upon them.

Highlighting an apparent conflict in the data, however, 54 percent of respondents reported that "people living in poorer developing countries will be harmed a great deal as a result of climate change," and 20 percent said those foreign residents would experience moderate damage.

Segmented in the three categories -- labeled "believers," "sympathizers" and "skeptics" -- 46 percent said they believe in climate change and said human activity is the primary cause driving steady global warming.  In contrast, 26 percent said climate change isn't happening, and a quarter said either that the warming is due to natural fluctuations or that they were uncertain.

"That's a significant chunk of the public," said Dan Cox, the research director at PRRI, of the skeptic demographic.  "We've found that ideology and partisanship drives these views."

When given a chance to explain why there isn't sufficient evidence to support climate change, the skeptics often cited the current weather and extreme winter storms, Cox added.

Read More at Faith Groups Divided over God’s Role in Climate Change, Natural Disasters

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