The pope tried to convince skeptical US Catholics that climate change is real. Here’s why he failed.

(VOX) There was much hue and cry among climate hawks in 2015 when Pope Francis issued his “Laudato Si,” an impassioned, 184-page statement decrying humankind’s ill treatment of the Earth. In particular, it framed global warming as a challenge to the religious conscience.

Climate campaigners greeted the encyclical as a “game-changer” that would crack the conservative wall of denial.

Surveys at the time showed that the pope’s message did not, alas, do much to shift the views of American Catholics on climate change. But papal enthusiasts counseled patience. Give it time to sink in, they said. Look at little deeper.

Now another, more thorough investigation of the pope’s climate influence has been done by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center. (It was just released in the journal Climatic Change.) After more than a thousand 20-minute phone interviews with Catholics across the country, both before and after its release, influence of “Laudato Si” has become clearer.

And it turns out the initial surveys were right. It didn’t change many minds. [More]

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