In this country there has been a strong link between religion and opinions about climate change. The more conservative the denomination, the more unlikely people are to believe that a changing climate is the result of human actions. Or, indeed, that the climate is changing at all. Katharine Hayhoe has confronted this connection head-on. She is an atmospheric scientist and the director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is also a devout Christian.
Hayhoe sat down with Dave Miller on "Think Out Loud" to talk about the link between faith and climate science, and why she has taken on the challenge of convincing Christians that climate change is real. Here are some notable moments from her interview:
1. On why people deny climate change is occurring.
The real objections people have to climate change is not the science. It's the solutions.”
2. On teaching people about climate change.
Social science has shown very conclusively that often the more information we have, the more polarized we are about climate change. And giving people more information, if they already have a very strong objection to it, actually deepens the divide and the animosity, rather than bridging the gap.”
3. On how people define their beliefs based around what group they belong to.
When facts come along that conflict with what we already think is true, we have a choice to face there: do we make a profound and fundamental difference in who we are as a person... or do we reject those facts?”
4. On why people would show compassion about climate change.
As a person of faith, we are also told not to just care about ourselves. We are also told to care about others, especially those who don't have all the advantages we'd have, and those are the very first people who are already being effected by climate change today.”
5. On the problem with giving people information about climate change/science.
The barrier to forward action today is not in the physical sciences. It's communicating what we know to people in a way that is consistent with ,and immediately meshing with, the priorities we already have. So we recognize not just the urgency of the problem but the necessity of the action.”