68 percent of US Catholics (63 percent of U.S. adults) recognize a personal moral responsibility to address climate change

June 15, 2016

As the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ eco-encyclical Laudato Si’ approaches, new research shows that Catholics in the United States are more likely than other Christians to accept global warming and to believe they have a responsibility to combat it, though how much credit the pope can claim for that is unclear.

The results come from a survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, which took place in May.

According to the poll results, 63 percent of Americans overall agree that temperatures on Earth are becoming warmer because of a concentration of greenhouse gases. Among Catholics that figure is 65 percent, while among Evangelicals the share  drops to 51 percent.

Francis has been able to “really put the moral argument front and center,” said observers.

The CARA poll found 68 percent of Catholics (63 percent of U.S. adults) recognizing a personal moral responsibility to address climate change. However, the same percentage said papal statements did not strengthen that belief. Thirty-two percent of Catholics acknowledged some level of influence, but that percentage dropped with each of the lower-ranking clergy and parish leaders.

Catholics buy climate change, but pope’s impact unclear