Doubts about the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change persist among the general public, particularly in North America, despite overwhelming consensus in the scientific community about the human influence on the climate system. The public uncertainty may be rooted in the belief, held by many cultures across the planet, that the climate is not directly influenced by people. The belief in divine control of weather and climate can, in some cases, be traced back to the development of agriculture and the early city-states. Drawing upon evidence from anthropology, theology, and communication studies, this article suggests that in many regions this deeply ingrained belief may limit public acceptance of the evidence for anthropogenic climate change. Successful climate change education and outreach programs should be designed to help overcome perceived conflict between climate science and long-held cultural beliefs, drawing upon lessons from communication and education regarding other potentially divisive subjects, such as evolution.

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