Just over half (53%) of U.S. Protestant pastors affirm that global warming is taking place and that it is human-caused, according to a LifeWay Research report published April 21.
This is a 10% increase since 2012 and it is the first time in LifeWay’s polling on this subject that more than half of respondents affirmed this view.
Those who disagreed declined 16 points to 38% over this same time period.
Of the 53% who agreed, 35% strongly agreed (up from 22% in 2012) and 19% somewhat agreed (down from 21%).
Among the 38% who disagreed, 14% somewhat disagreed (down from 18% in 2012) and 24% strongly disagreed (down from 36%).
Younger generations were more likely to affirm human-caused climate change, with 59% of respondents aged 18-44 doing so, compared to 49% of those aged 45-64 and 47% of those 65 and older.
Female pastors were far more likely than male pastors to agree that climate change is real and human-caused, with 83% of females agreeing compared to 47% of males.
“Fewer pastors are rejecting global warming and climate change out of hand,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, in a press release accompanying the report. “Yet pastors are still split on the subject, likely following along with political divides.”
When asked if their church “has taken tangible steps to reduce their carbon footprint,” 20% strongly agreed (up from 14% in 2012) and 34% somewhat agreed (up from 31%).
By comparison, 19% somewhat disagreed (down from 22% in 2012) and 17% strongly disagreed (down from 29%).
“Female pastors are more likely to agree than male pastors (76% v. 50%)” that their congregation had reduced its carbon footprint, the report said. “Pastors in the Northeast (62%) are more likely to agree than those in the South (50%).”
The margin of error for the survey was plus-minus 3.3%.
The full report is available here.