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Pew survey: Catholics divided over global warming

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/16/15

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On the eve of a forthcoming encyclical by Pope Francis on the environment and climate change, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that U.S. Catholics’ views on global warming are broadly reflective of American public opinion writ large; a solid majority believe that Earth is warming, but there is much more division over the cause and seriousness of climate change. Moreover, the poll shows that climate change is a highly politicized issue that sharply divides American Catholics, like the U.S. public as a whole, mainly along political party lines. About seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics (71%) believe the planet is getting warmer. Nearly half of Catholic adults (47%) attribute global warming to human causes, and a similar share (48%) view it as a very serious problem. But more than eight-in-ten Catholic Democrats say there is solid evidence that Earth is warming, compared with just half of Catholic Republicans.1 And while six-in-ten Catholic Democrats say global warming is a man-made phenomenon and that it poses a very serious problem, only about a quarter of Catholic Republicans agree. Among the U.S. public as a whole, belief that global warming is occurring is nearly twice as common among Democrats as Republicans (86% vs. 45%). The view that global warming is caused by human activity is roughly three times as common among Democrats as among members of the GOP (64% vs. 22%), as is the view that it represents a very serious problem (67% vs. 21%).

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