Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A study conducted by Katharine Hayhoe’s dad suggests even recorded lectures by Katharine Hayhoe can convert climate skeptics.
Study: Katharine Hayhoe is successfully convincing doubtful evangelicals about climate change
A new study finds that a lecture from evangelical climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe successfully educates evangelical college students, validating the “trusted sources” approach
Approximately one-quarter of Americans identify as evangelical Christians, and that group also tends to be more resistant to the reality of human-caused global warming. As a new paper by Brian Webb and Doug Hayhoe notes:
a 2008 study found that just 44% of evangelicals believed global warming to be caused mostly by human activities, compared to 64% of nonevangelicals (Smith and Leiserowitz, 2013) while, a 2011 survey found that only 27% of white evangelicals believed there to be a scientific consensus on climate change, compared to 40% of the American public (Public Religion Research Institute, 2011).
Hayhoe lecture’s effectiveness
The participants filled out a survey before and after the lecture, detailing their acceptance that global warming is happening, its cause, whether there’s a scientific consensus, how high of a priority they consider it, how worried they are about it, and how much it will harm various groups. The results showed an increase in pro-climate beliefs for every single question after listening to Katharine Hayhoe’s lecture.
Acceptance that global warming is happening increased for 48% of participants, and that humans are causing it for 39%. Awareness of the expert scientific consensus increased among 27% of participants. 52% were more worried about climate change after watching the lecture, and 67% increased their responses about how much harm climate change will do. 55% of participants viewed addressing climate change a higher priority after attending Katharine Hayhoe’s lecture. For most of the remaining participants, there was no change in responses to these questions.
By testing three different lecture approaches, Webb and Hayhoe also concluded that the lecture was equally effective when presented in person or as a recorded video, and that adding material about common climate misconceptions didn’t make the lecture any more effective.
The abstract of the study by Katharine’s dad;
Assessing the Influence of an Educational Presentation on Climate Change Beliefs at an Evangelical Christian College
Brian S. Webb, and Doug Hayhoe
Despite an overwhelming scientific consensus, a significant proportion of the American public continues to reject anthropogenic climate change. This disparity is particularly evident among evangelical Christians, for whom theological conservatism, general scientific skepticism, political affiliations, and sociocultural influences may impede their acceptance of human-caused climate change. Climate advocates have attempted to engage the evangelical community through various educational initiatives; lacking empirical measurement, however, it is difficult to draw conclusions regarding the efficacy of such programs. Here, we present the results of a study that addresses this lack by adapting questions from the Six Americas of Global Warming survey to measure the climate change beliefs of undergraduate students at an evangelical Christian college before and after attending a lecture by a Christian climate scientist. The 88 participants who successfully completed a pre- and post treatment survey were divided into three groups: the first attended a live lecture, the second attended a recorded lecture, and the third attended a similar version of the same recorded lecture in which the presenter removed material addressing common misconceptions about climate change. The results demonstrate a significant increase in the proclimate beliefs for students in all three groups. There was no significant difference between the impacts of the live and recorded lectures or between the recorded lectures with and without misconceptions. These findings affirm the value of climate education among evangelicals; highlight the potential utility of such presentations, both recorded and live; and point to opportunities for research in the area of faith-based climate communication.
Who can argue with dad’s peer reviewed science? Clearly all alarmists have to do to achieve complete victory in the climate debate is to convince everyone to watch a Katharine Hayhoe video.