Sustainability Roundtable: Pope Francis, Climate Change and US Catholic Voters

When Jan 19, 2018
from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where Urban Studies Room 123 (426 W Bloom St)
Contact Name
Contact Phone (502) 852-2927
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sUStain stacked iconPlease join us for UofL's Sustainability Roundtable series on alternating Fridays at 11am!

We kick off our spring series with Dr. David Buckley (Political Science), speaking onPope Francis, Climate Change and US Catholic Voters. David asks: What impact does leadership from religious elites have on policy attitudes of followers in the general public? This talk utilizes the release of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, to adjudicate among contending claims regarding responsiveness to religious leadership. An original survey experiment, conducted by YouGov on a nationally representative sample of Catholic voters in late 2015, tests the impact of exposure to the Pope’s message about climate change on responses related to climate science and policy. The unique experimental design tests the impact of Francis’ message relative to a similar message from unidentified “environmental experts.” Results show that the impact of religious leadership on this issue is concentrated among those more generally skeptical of climate change and calls to address it through governmental action: Republicans, white Catholics, and regular worship attenders. In addition, beliefs about the appropriate place of religion and politics and approval of Pope Francis’ leadership plays an important part in determining the effect of treatment.  In contrast, the Pope’s message has limited effect among Catholic Democrats, likely because these individuals respond to cues from the unidentified climate experts.  The results indicate that religious leadership could play a role in altering the coalition politics of climate change in the United States, but are unlikely to eliminate the political diversity among Catholic Americans.

The format is a 30-40 minute presentation from a variety of speakers, followed by 20-30 minute open discussion. Please feel free to bring your lunch! Anyone with an interest in sustainability can give talks at the speaker series and participate in the audience, including faculty, staff, students, practitioners, teachers, government officials, and members of the public. If you would like to give a presentation, or would like to hear a particular speaker, please contact Daniel DeCaro.

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