Poll: US sees moral obligation to fight climate change

Poll: US sees moral obligation to fight climate change
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Most United States residents feel that world leaders are “morally obligated” to fight climate change, according to a new poll commissioned by Reuters.

Sixty-six percent of the poll’s respondents said world leaders are morally obligated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change, the survey out Friday said.


Even more respondents — 72 percent — said they feel obligated to do what they can to fight carbon pollution.

The survey shows that ethical arguments might be one of the best ways to convince Americans that climate change is an important battle. It comes as Pope Francis is making a similar plea to Catholics around the world, a message he will bring to Congress this fall.

“When climate change is viewed through a moral lens, it has broader appeal,” Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network, told Reuters.

“The climate debate can be very intellectual at times, all about economic systems and science we don’t understand,” he said. “This makes it about us, our neighbors and about doing the right thing.”

Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, told Reuters that using moral reasoning could likely convince political conservatives to endorse efforts and policies to slow global warming.

Sixty-four percent of the poll’s respondents agreed with Francis that human activity is the main culprit behind climate change.

But only 10 percent saw the pope as an authority on the subject. That was about the same as respondents view Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and well below President Obama’s 18 percent.