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Most Catholic Republicans believe in climate change

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Posted at 1:23 PM, Jun 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-19 13:29:05-04

When Pope Francis urged Catholics around the world to believe in and fight against climate change, he may have been preaching to the choir.

A slight majority of Catholic Republicans already believe in climate change, according to a study released Thursday by Yale University to coincide with the pope’s encyclical.

That’s against the Republican party line. About 6 in 10 non-Catholic Republicans say they don’t believe in climate change. Overall, Democrats are twice as likely to believe in climate change as Republicans, according to Pew Research.

Catholics make up one-quarter of all Americans, with most identifying as politically conservative or moderate. About one-third of them are Republicans, which means the pope’s encyclical could have major political implications.

Average Global Temperature | FindTheData

Among scientists, there is almost universal agreement that climate change is real and caused by humans. But less than 30 percent of all Republicans knew that — Catholic or not.

Belief in global warming decreased for both Catholic and non-Catholic Republicans when they identified as “conservative.”

Still, most Republicans said they approve of renewable energy and energy efficient tax rebates.

CO2 Emissions World Map | FindTheData

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.