For at least as long as the birth of environmentalism, discourses of ecological crisis have adopted, both consciously and unconsciously, themes and concepts derived from Jewish and Christian Apocalypses. These are ancient texts remembered best for their cosmic and spiritual revelations about the world and the world to come. The scope and methods of this adoption have varied widely: from symbolic representation (images of the Four Horsemen, for instance) to the influence of end-time belief upon environmental policy. More recently, references to apocalypse have accompanied the study of climate change specifically. However, they have tended to do so without more than a superficial engagement with the theological and philosophical underpinnings of apocalyptic faith. This review article addresses this issue by engaging the meanings of apocalyptic faith within four distinct areas in the interdisciplinary study of climate change: (1) Christian ecotheology; (2) critical and social scientific discourse; (3) policy and media communications; and (4) contemporary philosophy and ethics. WIREs Clim Change 2014, 5:233–246. doi: 10.1002/wcc.264

Conflict of interest: The author has declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

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