Sixty percent of Protestant pastors disagree that global warming is real and manmade, and 41 percent of them "strongly" disagree, a new survey says.
The skepticism is up from an already high 48 percent of pastors in 2008 who somewhat or strongly disagreed with the strong scientific consensus on manmade global warming.
The latest result was released by LifeWay Research, a Southern Baptist-affiliated polling agency. It was based on a survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors of various denominations in October 2010.
All the usual red-blue divides apply here.
Evangelicals, Republicans, pastors in the South and those with lower educations are more likely to be skeptical of manmade warming, the survey said.
Pastors in mainline congregations, which tend to be more liberal, tend to believe in manmade warming, as do Democrats and those in the Northeast.
That echoes other polling. The Pew Research Center has found skepticism about manmade global warming to have risen from 17 to 32 percent since 2006. Skepticism is particularly strong among political conservatives, who have a lot of overlap with evangelicals.
The LifeWay survey doesn’t go into why pastors believe what they do. But conservative groups’ media outlets and policy statements have included steady denunciations of what most scientists say is a settled issue. The Southern Baptist Convention’s official position contends that the "scientific community is divided" on the extent of human involvement in warming
The United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that global warming is "very likely" manmade, due to carbon emissions, and "not due to known natural causes alone." Other scientific societies have reached similar conclusions.