Changing Evangelical Minds on Climate Change
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One quarter of Americans self-identify as evangelical and a strong majority of these reject human-induced climate change. Can one lecture on climate science from a Christian perspective change their minds? Here, we examine the response of undergraduates at three evangelical institutions, located in upper state New York, Texas, and Canada, to a recorded lecture by an evangelical climate scientist. Pre/post-test surveys posed six questions from the Global Warming's Six Americas instrument with additional questions on participants' political and theological perspectives. All populations showed significant pre/post-test gains on almost every question, immediately after the intervention, with gains among the most conservative population being as large as the others. A one-month delayed post-survey showed that gains were still significant relative to pre-test values for most of the questions. Furthermore, gains did not decrease when the Christian frame was removed, except on one item related to Christian responsibility. These results suggest that even a limited exposure to accurate information can change minds, and that the context in which the information is presented (here, the evangelical college and faculty sponsor) may be more important than the content frame.
Doug Hayhoe et al 2019 Environ. Res. Lett. 14 024016