Climate change, politics and religion: Australian churchgoers’ beliefs about climate change

Miriam Pepper, Rosemary Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


A growing literature has sought to understand the relationships between religion, politics and views about climate change and climate change policy in the United States. However, little comparative research has been conducted in other countries. This study draws on data from the 2011 Australian National Church Life Survey to examine the beliefs of Australian churchgoers from some 20 denominations about climate change—whether or not it is real and whether it is caused by humans—and political factors that explain variation in these beliefs. Pentecostals, Baptist and Churches of Christ churchgoers, and people from the smallest Protestant denominations were less likely than other churchgoers to believe in anthropogenic climate change, and voting and hierarchical and individualistic views about society predicted beliefs. There was some evidence that these views function differently in relation to climate change beliefs depending on churchgoers’ degree of opposition to gay rights. These findings are of interest not only for the sake of international comparisons, but also in a context where Australia plays a role in international climate change politics that is disproportionate to its small population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number47
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 05 May 2016


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