Date: 14 Nov 2013

American evangelicals and domestic versus international climate policy

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Abstract

Because a significant portion of the American electorate identify themselves as evangelical Christians, the evangelical position on climate policy is important to determining the role the United States could play in global climate cooperation. Do evangelicals oppose all climate policies, or are they particularly opposed to certain types of policies? We argue that American evangelicals oppose climate policy due to their distrust of international cooperation and institutions, which has been a prominent feature of evangelical politics since the beginning of the Cold War. Using data from the 2011 Faith and Global Policy Challenges survey and the 2010 Chicago Council Global View survey, we find support for the theory. Evangelicals are equally likely to support domestic climate policy as other Americans, but they are significantly less likely to support international treaties on climate cooperation. The findings suggest that proponents of climate policy could win more evangelicals to their side by focusing on domestic action, instead of multilateral negotiations or international institutions.