Climate change isn’t a crisis say US religious groups

climate change

Climate change is not a crisis, according to many US religious groups and individuals.

A new Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) survey found beliefs on climate change severity haven’t changed much among religious groups over the past decade.

The June 2023 “One Home One Future” survey is the latest multifaith effort aiming to engage congregations in caring for the Earth.

The online survey probed the views of 5,192 adults in 50 states, finding that despite growing climate calamities American opinions have not moved dramatically.

Results by the number

Overall, 27 percent of Americans say climate change is a crisis (23 percent in 2014).

Religious groups’ attitudes about the severity of climate change haven’t changed much since 2014.

In fact, this year’s survey results show fewer white evangelicals think the Earth is in crisis. In 2014, 13 percent believed this to be the case. Just eight percent think so today.

Overall, less than a third of religious groups surveyed said they thought climate change is a crisis.

American Jews were the most likely to say so at 32 percent along with 31 percent of Hispanic Catholics, 22 percent of white mainline Protestants, 20 percent of white Catholics, 19 percent of Black Protestants and 16 percent of Hispanic Protestants.

Concerning views

Finding that people’s views about the climate crisis haven’t changed surprised Melissa Deckman, CEO of PRRI. “It’s just really concerning,”

This is despite the US suffering 23 separate weather and climate disasters costing over $1 billion each in damage this year.

In addition to the financial costs, Hurricane Idalia in Florida and the wildfires in Hawaiinare believed to have killed 97 people.

In addition, August 2023 was the planet’s hottest month in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 174-year record.

Climate change – causes

The survey also asked religious Americans about what causes climate change.

Most agree change is caused by human activity such as burning fossil fuels.

However, 49 percent of white evangelicals believe it is caused by natural patterns in the environment.

Political influences

To a great extent politics may be shaping people’s views, says Deckman.

She says non-believers in the climate crisis – Evangelicals and Latter-Day Saints – are stalwart Republicans.

The Republicans have resisted acknowledging climate change. (Donald Trump called climate change science a “hoax.”)

“I’m not at all surprised … because we know that the Republican Party’s official position has often denied climate change and it’s certainly not advocating for policies that mitigate climate change effects” Deckman says.

  • Less than 28 percent of Republicans believe human activity causes climate change, while half think natural changes in the environment cause it
  • 20 percent of Republicans don’t see solid evidence for climate change
  • 83 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents attribute it to human activity

Religiously unaffiliated views

The PRRI survey found the religiously unaffiliated  sector increasingly view sthe Earth as being in crisis.

Among this group, that view went from 33 percent in 2014 to 43 percent in 2023.

At the same time, fewer people believe God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of society.

Fewer than half of white Evangelicals subscribe to this belief and even fewer other religious groups do.

The survey found that religious groups are now more likely to believe God wants all individuals to take care of the Earth.


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News category: World.

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