Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


Climate Change: Harbinger of ‘End Times’?

• December 18, 2012 • 5:49 PM

Somewhere, James Hansen is weeping.

Last week, we reported on American attitudes toward climate change, a post-Kyoto framework, and the Rocky Mountain pine beetle infestation (apathetic, stalled, and spreading, respectively). To that, we append this finding from the Annals of Exceedingly Unlikely But Worryingly Popular Ideas: while 63 percent of Americans agree that the weather is becoming “more extreme,” 36 percent view this as “evidence that we are in what the Bible calls the end times.”

In other words, one-third of us blame the recent spate of deadly hurricanes, record-breaking heat waves, and raging forest fires not on greenhouses gasses but plain ol’ godlessness.

To be fair, not all believers are so skeptical of science. Just one-in-five Catholics ascribe climate change to the coming Final Days, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, which conducted the survey, while 65 percent of white evangelical Christians see the wrath of God at work. Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to voice support for the hypothesis, which suggests that, at least in some corners of the country, faith trumps politics.

On a more hopeful note, just 2 percent of Americans believe that the end of the world will arrive on December 21, as predicted by the Mayans. That theory may be bizarre—NASA, our last bastion of scientific reason, has an entire Web page debunking its many tenets—but at least it’s provable, one way or another.

We’ll know on Friday.

Kevin Charles Redmon
Kevin Charles Redmon is a journalist and critic. He lives in Washington, D.C.

More From Kevin Charles Redmon

Tags: ,

If you would like to comment on this post, or anything else on Pacific Standard, visit our Facebook or Google+ page, or send us a message on Twitter. You can also follow our regular updates and other stories on both LinkedIn and Tumblr.

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow us


Subscribe Now

Quick Studies

Banning Chocolate Milk Was a Bad Choice

The costs of banning America's favorite kids drink from schools may outweigh the benefits, a new study suggests.

In Battle Against Climate Change, Cities Are Left All Alone

Cities must play a critical role in shifting the world to a fossil fuel-free future. So why won't anybody help them?

When a Romance Is Threatened, People Rebound With God

And when they feel God might reject them, they buddy up to their partner.

How Can We Protect Open Ocean That Does Not Yet Exist?

As global warming melts ice and ushers in a wave of commercial activity in the Arctic, scientists are thinking about how to protect environments of the future.

What Kind of Beat Makes You Want to Groove?

The science behind the rhythms that get you on the dance floor.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014