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Belief In Biblical End-Times Stifling Climate Change Action In U.S.

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    Message 1 of 1 , May 10, 2013
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      Thanks to Joseph Dillard.


      By Eric W. Dolan
      Raw Story
      Wednesday, May 1, 2013



      The United States has failed to take action to mitigate climate change
      thanks in part to the large number of religious Americans who believe
      the world has a set expiration date.

      Research by David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H.
      Bearce of the University of Colorado uncovered that belief in the
      biblical end-times was a motivating factor behind resistance to curbing
      climate change.

      “[T]he fact that such an overwhelming percentage of Republican citizens
      profess a belief in the Second Coming (76 percent in 2006, according to
      our sample) suggests that governmental attempts to curb greenhouse
      emissions would encounter stiff resistance even if every Democrat in the
      country wanted to curb them,” Barker and Bearce wrote in their study,
      which will be published in the June issue of Political Science Quarterly.

      The study, based on data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional
      Election Study, uncovered that belief in the “Second Coming” of Jesus
      reduced the probability of strongly supporting government action on
      climate change by 12 percent when controlling for a number of
      demographic and cultural factors. When the effects of party affiliation,
      political ideology, and media distrust were removed from the analysis,
      the belief in the “Second Coming” increased this effect by almost 20
      percent. (This suggests there is a significant overlap between those
      three variables and belief in the “Second Coming.”)

      “[I]t stands to reason that most nonbelievers would support preserving
      the Earth for future generations, but that end-times believers would
      rationally perceive such efforts to be ultimately futile, and hence
      ill-advised,” Barker and Bearce explained.

      That very sentiment has been expressed by federal legislators. Rep. John
      Shimkus (R-IL) said in 2010 that he opposed action on climate change
      because “the Earth will end only when God declares it to be over.” He is
      the chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

      Though the two researchers cautioned their study was not intended to
      predict future policy outcomes, they said their study suggested it was
      unlikely the United States would take action on climate change while so
      many Americans, particularly Republicans, believed in the coming end-times.

      “That is, because of institutions such as the Electoral College, the
      winner-take-all representation mechanism, and the Senate filibuster, as
      well as the geographic distribution of partisanship to modern partisan
      polarization, minority interests often successfully block majority
      preferences,” Barker and Bearce wrote. “Thus, even if the median voter
      supports policies designed to slow global warming, legislation to effect
      such change could find itself dead on arrival if the median Republican
      voter strongly resists public policy environmentalism at least in part
      because of end-times beliefs.”


      David Sunfellow
      Founder & President
      NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE)
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