The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 441–469 | Cite as

American evangelicals and domestic versus international climate policy

  • Stephen ChaudoinEmail author
  • David Thomas Smith
  • Johannes Urpelainen


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.


International cooperation Religion Climate change Climate policy Evangelicalism Public opinion 

JEL Classifications

Q54 Q12 



We appreciate the helpful comments from Michaël Aklin, Andrew Cheon, Sung Eun Kim, Evan Lewis, Werner Selle, and Shannon Skotece. Thanks also to Valerie Schlosberg and Ignacio Arana for efforts in research assistance. We owe special appreciation to the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, The Chicago Council, and the authors of the Faith and Global Policy Challenges and Global Views surveys for making their extensive data publicly available.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Chaudoin
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Thomas Smith
    • 2
  • Johannes Urpelainen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Government and International AffairsUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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