Pope Francis' message on climate change does not resonate with c - FOX34 Lubbock

Research: Pope's climate change message does not resonate with conservative Catholics

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Pope Francis has said climate change is a "concern of everyone", and he has criticized world leaders for their "weak" response to it.

On Tuesday evening, the Texas Tech Climate Center hosted the semester's first Science by the Glass Event: "Can Pope Francis Convince Catholics of Climate Change?" at Local Bar and Grill.

Nan Li, an assistant professor in agricultural education and communication, presented her research on the Pope's influence on the topic. 

Li said back in 2015, she began researching public opinion on climate change, after Pope Francis released his second encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.

"Pope Francis really for the first time acknowledged the scientific consensus on climate change and really framed this as a moral imperative to address climate change for the whole humanity," Li said.

She was interested in seeing whether the Pope's message could change people's opinions on this issue.

"What we found was, you know, in general the influence about that time was quite limited, you don't see that much changes in people's opinions," she said. "In fact, a lot of people, especially people on the right end of the political spectrum, they tend to resist Pope's message."

It remains a controversial topic in the U.S., she said.

"As time goes by, you know, we would be interested in seeing how his message will influence people, but for now, I think from a research point of view, it's still ongoing," Li said.

Patrick Ryker, a senior at Texas Tech, said he is a Catholic himself, and climate change should not be a left or right issue.

"We're all going to have to share the Earth no matter what, no matter what kind of ideology you have, no matter what you believe in," Ryker said. "The science shows that climate change is happening you know, it shouldn't be a religious thing, it shouldn't be a political thing, it should just be a human thing."

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