April 16, 2009

Religious Groups’ Views on Global Warming

Religious Groups' Views on Earth Warming Evidence

Earth Day takes place on April 22 each year. One issue at the center of public discussions about the environment is global warming: whether it is occurring and what its causes might be. An analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life of a 2008 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press examines views on global warming among major religious traditions in the U.S. The unaffiliated (58%) are the most likely among the religious groups studied to say there is solid evidence the earth is warming because of human activity. White evangelical Protestants are the most likely to say there is no solid evidence the earth is warming (31%), and the least likely to believe that humans have contributed to heating up the planet (34%). While only 39% of black Protestants say global warming is a result of human activity, they are, however, the least likely of the religions studied to deny global warming is occurring (15%).

Data from a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 23-27, 2008, among 1,502 American adults. Results for other religious groups are not reported due to small sample sizes.

Question wording: From what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, or not? [If “yes,” ask]: Do you believe that the earth is getting warmer… 1 – Mostly because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, OR 2 – Mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s environment? [options rotated]

For more on religion and science see Science in America: Religious Belief and Public Attitudes.