Religion & Liberty Online

Is There a ‘Francis Effect’ on Climate Change Opinion?

Climate-Change-Report-23For the past few years Pope Francis has made it clear he considers climate change to be an essential issue of concern. In his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, he wrote that climate change is one of the “principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” Has Francis been able to convince American Catholics to share his concern?

Maybe so. A new Pew Research survey shows that Catholics, along with people who are unaffiliated with major religions, are more likely to agree with the pope’s position than are Protestants in the U.S.

Among American Catholics, half believe climate change is a very serious problem and 39% are very concerned it will harm them personally. Only 34% of Protestants are very concerned about global warming, and just 26% express strong concerns that it will harm them in their lifetime.

In Australia and Canada, Catholics are more likely than Protestants to express serious concerns about personal harm caused by climate change, though in both nations worries about global warming are most common among the religiously unaffiliated.


Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).