Poll: Majority of US Catholics support responding to climate change, eco issues

Findings released today on the Feast of St. John Paul II may spell bad news for politicians with a reputation of downplaying environmental protection

While many Catholics in the United States today are debating Pope Francis’ reported nod to homosexual civil unions, there appears to be growing agreement within the US church both in the reality of climate change and that the issue must be addressed.

According to polling released this morning by Climate Nexus, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, 80% of white Catholic voters and 77% of nonwhite Catholic voters agree that climate change is happening.

A majority of US Catholic voters would also support policies that address climate change, such as clean energy infrastructure. 76% of nonwhite Catholic voters expressed such support as did 68% of white Catholic voters.

Support was strongest across racial and religious demographics when asked if “fulfilling our responsibility to protect God’s creation" was a basis for supporting climate action.

88% of nonwhite Catholics agreed with that statement as did 90% of white Catholic voters. Support was also heavy for this statement among Black Protestants, white evangelical protestants, Jews, and other faiths.

“As Catholics, we say we have a covenant with God to protect creation," said Dan Misleh, the founding executive director for the US-based Catholic Climate Covenant, in response to the polling numbers.

“For decades now, the Catholic Church, including St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and especially Pope Francis have added urgency to the call for Catholics to address climate change and to truly listen to the cry of the poor, who are the people most affected by a warming climate.”

The Catholic Climate Covenant was founded in 2006 with help from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to help guide the U.S. Church in educating, giving public witness, and offering resources to Catholics in addressing climate change.

“People are dying today from the impact of our neglect of God's creation,” Misleh said. “The results of this poll confirm what we know from our Catholic member organizations, parishes, families, schools, and other communities—that Catholics care deeply about climate change.”

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.