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Sierra Daily

Dec 17, 2012

Climate, Weather, or End of Days?

End timesWhile six in 10 Americans believe severe weather events like Superstorm Sandy are caused by climate change, four in 10 believe the natural disasters are evidence that the world is coming to an end. That’s the finding of a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service.

Here’s the breakdown, according to Reuters: “Most Catholics (60 percent) and white non-evangelical Protestants (65 percent) say they believe disasters like hurricanes and floods are the result of climate change. But nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of white evangelical Protestants say they think the storms are evidence of the ‘end times’ as predicted by the Bible. Overall, 36 percent point to end times and 63 percent to climate change.”

It turns out that politics, like religion, can’t keep itself out of weather. According to the survey, “more than three-quarters of Democrats and six in 10 independents believe that the weather has become more extreme over the last few years, while less than half of Republicans say they have perceived such a shift. ‘Their political leanings are even affecting how they experience weather, which is pretty fascinating,’" PRRI research director Daniel Cox told Reuters.

Image by iStock/DNY59.

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

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