Beder, S. (1999, March–April). Corporate hijacking of the greenhouse debate. Ecologist, 29, 119-122. The use of front groups, PR, think tanks, and willing scientists and economists has provided corporations with the means to confuse the public and obstruct political attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Beder, S. (2014). Lobbying, greenwash and deliberate confusion: how vested interests undermine climate change. In M. C-T. Huang and R. R-C Huang (Eds.), Green Thoughts and Environmental Politics: Green Trends and Environmental Politics (pp. 297-328), Taipei, Taiwan: Asia-seok Digital Technology. Corporations that would be affected by measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions set out to confuse and deceive the public and policy- makers on the issue. They use corporate front groups, public relations firms and conservative think tanks to cast doubt on predictions of global warming and its impacts, to imply that governments do not know enough to act, to argue that the cost of reducing greenhouse gases is prohibitively expensive and to promote doubtful solutions such as ‘clean’ coal. Similarly corporations and their lobby groups have sought to delay treaties and legislation and shape those that are finally agreed and passed. In particular they promote voluntary actions by presenting themselves as environmentally responsible and committed to finding solutions.
Beder, Sharon, 2001. Neoliberal think tanks and free market environmentalism. Environmental Politics, 10 (2), 128–133. Corporate-funded think tanks have played a central role in promoting free market environmentalism onto the policy agenda throughout the English speaking world. These think tanks have consistently opposed government regulation and advocated the virtues of a ‘free’ market unconstrained by a burden of red tape. The role of think tanks in the establishment of this ‘neoliberal’ agenda in the US and the UK in recent decades has been well documented. However their central role in a range of specific policy areas, such as environmental policy, has been neglected.
Bonds, E. (2011). The knowledge-shaping process: elite mobilization and environmental policy. Critical sociology, 37 (4), 429–446. Both using and contributing to power structure research, this article presents evidence that corporate and military elites form networks and mobilize resources to influence the development of environmental policy. This influence may be achieved when elites form and utilize knowledge-shaping processes, which involve four principle exercises of power. First, elites suppress information that may threaten their interests. Second, elites organize and fund institutions to produce and promote research that may be useful in efforts to secure their goals. Third, elites fund experts willing to attack and discredit potentially damaging research. Finally, they attempt to exert influence in knowledge administration, or in selecting what information counts as knowledge and what does not.
Boykoff, M. T. (2016). Consensus and contrarianism on climate change. How the USA case informs dynamics elsewhere. Mètode Science Studies Journal, 6 (2016): 89–95. This essay focuses on the USA context, and explores some of the intertwined social, political and economic factors, as well as cultural and psychological characteristics that have together influenced public attitudes, intentions, beliefs, perspective and behaviours in regards to climate change science and governance over time.
Boykoff, M. T. and S. K. Olson (2013), ‘Wise contrarians’: a keystone species in contemporary climate science, politics and policy. Celebrity Studies 4 (3) 276-291. Examination of the ‘Wise Use’ movements rooted in the US West to understand celebrity climate contrarians embedded in countermovements activities.
Brulle, R. J., Carmichael, J., & Jenkins, C. J. (2012). Shifting public opinion on climate change: An empirical assessment of factors influencing concern over climate change in the U.S., 2002–2010. Climatic Change, 114, 169-188. This paper conducts an empirical analysis of the factors affecting U.S. public concern about the threat of climate change between January 2002 and December 2010. Utilizing Stimson’s method of constructing aggregate opinion measures, data from 74 separate surveys over a 9-year period are used to construct quarterly measures of public concern over global climate change. We examine five factors that should account for changes in levels of concern: 1) extreme weather events, 2) public access to accurate scientific information, 3) media coverage, 4) elite cues, and 5) movement/countermovement advocacy.
Brulle, R.J. (2014). Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations. Climatic Change (2014) 122:681–694. This paper conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States. An examination of these data shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.
Cann, H. W. (0215). Climate Change, Still Challenged: Conservative Think Tanks and Skeptic Frames. Paper prepared for the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association Las Vegas, NV, April 2-4, 2015. Using a sceptic framing typology developed by McCright and Dunlap (2000), this paper assesses online Heartland publications from September to December of 2013, providing a snapshot portrait of what think tanks in the United States are talking (and not talking) about. In this way the author argues the emergence of two key themes. First, the 2013 Heartland documents show an unexpected decline in the prevalence of frames that critique the economic implications of climate change policies. Secondly, the 2013 documents show a changing relationship between attacks on the scientific uncertainty of climate change versus the moral characters of those involved with mainstream climate research.
Curtin, P. & Rhodenbaugh, E. (2001). Building the news media agenda on the environment: A Ccomparison of public relations and journalistic sources. Public Relations Review 27(2): 179-195. This content analysis study compares two types of information subsidies provided to members of the Society of Environmental Journalists: public relations materials mailed to members and news tip sheets put together by SEJ for the use of their members. Results suggest that although the critics’ charges have some merit, the preponderance of materials promoting a backlash agenda stem from just a few public relations sources.
Doyle, J. (2007). Picturing the climactic: Greenpeace and the representational politics of climate change communication. Science as Culture, 16(2): 129-150. In this paper, the author examines the problems associated with communicating a temporal environmental issue such as climate change, by analysing the history of climate change communication produced by Greenpeace since the early 1990s. Through historical analysis, the intention is to consider how Greenpeace has sought to make ‘real’ the potential and often invisible risks of climate change. Given Greenpeace’s commitment to photo- graphic documentation, what limitations has this mode of representation posed for the communication of climate change?
Dunlap R.E. & Jacques, P.J. (2013). Climate Change Denial Books and Conservative Think Tanks: Exploring the Connection. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(6) 699–731. Analysis of the role of conservative think tanks (CTTs), long recognized as a central actor in the denial machine (McCright & Dunlap, 2000), focusing specifically on their links to the rapidly increasing number of books (108 through 2010) that espouse climate change denial. The authors find that a majority of the books are linked to a CTT, via either author or editor affiliations or publication by a CTT press, although the link is much lower for the recent spate of self-published books. The authors also find that over time a larger proportion of these books have been produced in other nations, particularly the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and that books from these nations are strongly linked to CTTs. Last, we find that contrarian scientists with doctorates in natural science disciplines author or edit a declining minority of the denial books.
Dunlap, R. E. and McCright, A. M. (2010) ‘Climate change contrarian: Sources, actors and strategies’. In Constance Lever-Tracy (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 240–259. Conservative think-tanks in particular have facilitated and promoted the efforts of a small number of ‘contrarian’ scientists in an effort to provide the forces of denial with the guise of scientific credibility, magnifying the visibility and impact of the contrarians’ views (McCright and Dunlap 2000, 2003). The activities of the contrarians have supplied vital ammunition for attacking mainstream climate science, symbolised by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and thus the scientific underpinnings of calls for policy-making to deal with climate change (Begley 2007).
Dunlap, R. E., & McCright, A. M. (2011). Organized climate change denial. In J. S. Dryzek, R. B. Norgaard & D. Schlosberg (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (pp. 144-160). London, UK: Oxford. This article provides an overview of organized climate change denial. Focusing primarily on the US, where denial first took root and remains most active, this article begins by describing the growth of conservative-based opposition to environmentalism and environmental science in general. It then explains why climate change became the central focus of this opposition, which quickly evolved into a coordinated and well-funded machine or ‘industry’. It also examines denialists' rationale for attacking the scientific underpinnings of climate change policy and the crucial strategy of ‘manufacturing uncertainty’ they employ.
Dunlap, R.E. (2013). Climate Change Skepticism and Denial: An Introduction. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(6): 691-698. Introduction to a special issue of ABS on climate change denial.
Gale, R. (1986). Social Movements and the state: the environmental movement, countermovement, and government agencies. Sociol Perspect 29(2): pp. 202-240. This article modifies resource mobilization theory to emphasize interaction amongst social movements, counter-movements, and governmental agencies.
Galloway, C. & Lynn, M. (2007/8). Public Relations and climate change impacts: Developing a collaborative response. PRism 5(1-2): http://praxis.massey.ac.nz/prism_on-line_journ.html. Global climate change effects pose problems both for community development professionals concerned with strengthening communities and for public relations practitioners confronting communication challenges. This paper suggests that each discipline has something to offer the other in dealing with communities facing climate change impacts
Greenberg, J., Knight, G. & Westersund, E. (2011). Spinning climate change: Corporate and NGO public relation strategies in Canada and the United States. The International Communication Gazette, 73(1-2): 65-82. This article examines the role of PR in the debate about global climate change. Seeking to move beyond a focus on PR as just the handmaiden of corporate power, the article documents the fluid role of professionalized communication in terms of its impact on both corporate and NGO actors and their activities, focusing on communication tactics and the influence of PR consultancies.
Jacques, P. J., Dunlap, R. E., & Freeman, M. (2008). The organization of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism. Environmental Politics, 17, 349-385. This study quantitatively analyses 141 English-language environmentally sceptical books published between 1972 and 2005. The study finds that over 92 per cent of these books, most published in the US since 1992, are linked to conservative think tanks (CTTs). Further, it analyses CTTs involved with environmental issues and find that 90 per cent of them espouse environmental scepticism. It concludes that scepticism is a tactic of an elite-driven counter-movement designed to combat environmental- ism, and that the successful use of this tactic has contributed to the weakening of US commitment to environmental protection.
McCright, A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2000). Challenging global warming as a social problem: An analysis of the conservative movement’s counter-claims. Social Problems, 47, 499-522. This paper examines the counter-claims promoted by the conservative movement between 1990 and 1997 as it mobilized to challenge the legitimacy of global warming as a social problem. A thematic content analysis of publications circulated on the web sites of prominent conservative thin tanks reveals three major counter claims. First, the movement criticized the evidentiary basic of global warming as week, if not entirely wrong. Second, the movement argued that global warming will have substantial benefits if it occurs. Third, the movement warned that proposed action to ameliorate global warming would do more harm than good.
McCright, A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2003). Defeating Kyoto: The conservative movement’s impact on U.S. climate change policy. Social Problems, 50, 348-373. This paper examines how the conservative movement mobilized between 1990 and 1997 to construct the “non-problematicity” of global warming. After describing how conservative think tanks mobilized to challenge the global warming claims of mainstream climate science, the authors examine how these counter-movement organizations aligned themselves with prominent American climate change sceptics known for their staunch criticism of mainstream climate research and their affiliations with the fossil fuels industry. The authors argue that a major reason the United States failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to ameliorate global warming is the opposition of the American conservative movement, a key segment of the anti- environmental countermovement. They examine how the conservative movement mobilized between 1990 and 1997 to construct the “non-problematicity” of global warming.
McCright, A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2010). Anti-reflexivity: The American conservative move- ment’s success in undermining climate change science and policy. Theory, Culture, and Society, 27, 100-103. The American conservative movement is a force of anti-reflexivity insofar as it attacks two key elements of reflexive modernization: the environmental movement and environmental impact science. The conservative movement has employed four non-decision-making techniques to challenge the legitimacy of climate science and prevent progress in policy-making.
McCright, A.M (2007). Dealing with climate contrarians. In: S.C. Moser and L. Dilling, eds. Creating a climate for change: communicating climate change and facilitating social change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 200-212. Summary of existing research on the claims, organizational affiliations, tactics, and effectiveness of the contrarians in the American national policy context, and then strategies for dealing with contrarians.
Meyer DS, Staggenbord S (1996) Movements, countermovements, and the structure of political opportunity. Am J Sociol 101(6). Movement, countermovement interaction is an ongoing feature of contemporary counter-movements and, indeed, of contemporary politics. Yet the interplay of contending movements is understudied and under-theorized. This article began to remedy this deficit.
Miller, D. & Dinan, W. (2015) Resisting meaningful action on climate change: Think tanks, 'merchants of doubt' and the 'corporate capture' of sustainable development. In: A. Hansen and R. Cox, eds. Handbook of environment and communication. London: Routledge. The chapter examines various corporate and elite responses to climate change. In particular it notes the tensions within global elite networks between those who take a proactive response to climate issues and have aimed to provide leadership on climate by shaping (arguably dominating) the political and public discourse on this issue, and the defensive movement of climate change contrarianism and denial. These two tendencies have resulted in differing sorts of lobbying, public relations and corporate responses to climate issues.
Norgaard, K. M. (2006). “People want to protect themselves a little bit”: Emotions, denial, and social movement nonparticipation. Sociological Inquiry, 76(3), 372–396. Following Evitar Zerubavel, the author describes the process of collective avoiding as the “social organization of denial”. Emotions played a key role in denial, providing much of the reason why people preferred to avoid information. Emotion management was also a central aspect of the process of denial, which in this community was carried out through the use of a cultural stock of social narratives that were invoked to achieve “perspectival selectivity” and “selective interpretation.”
Norgaard, K. M. (2011). Climate Denial: Emotion, Psychology, Culture, and Political Economy. In J. S. Dryzek, R. B. Norgaard & D. Schlosberg (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (pp. 144-160). London, UK: Oxford. . The term ‘denial’ is sometimes used to describe the phenomenon of outright rejection of information as true. However, the term, in the case of climate change, has several other aspects. This article outlines the phenomenon of climate denial, that is, the active resistance to information on a collective level. It begins with a review of existing explanations for the public failure to respond to climate change from psychology and sociology. It then uses ethnographic data to introduce the framework of socially organized denial. This view from the ground up builds upon many of the explanations to concept of denial, and highlights the intersecting role of emotions, culture, social structure, and inequality in people's lived experience. Broadly, this article is concerned with the more pervasive and everyday problem of how and why people who purport to be concerned about climate change, manage to ignore it.
O’Neill, S. J., & Boykoff, M. (2010). Climate denier, skeptic or contrarian? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, E151. Comment on “Expert credibility in climate change”.
Piltz, R. (2008). The denial machine. Index on Censorship, 37(4), 72-81. In March 2001, early in their first year in the White House, President Bush and Vice President Cheney set the framework for their approach to climate change policy by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty process and rejecting regulatory limits on emissions of greenhouse gases. Also in 2001, with far less fanfare, the new administration began to align itself with an orchestrated global warming disinformation campaign designed to mislead the public about the scientific evidence for anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming and its likely harmful impacts.
Plehwe, D. (2014). Think tank networks and the knowledge–interest nexus: the case of climate change Critical Policy Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, 101–115. The large number of think tanks and think tank networks involved in climate change policy scepticism can be considered central. Such networks are designed to promote or to disrupt political discourse. Although many individual think tanks and network relationships do not give cause for particular concern, the combination of powerful expert, consulting and lobby/advocacy capacities that rely on organized think tank infrastructures implies a growing need for closer attention to think tank models in public policy analysis.
Plehwe, D. (2014). Think tank networks and the knowledge–interest nexus: the case of climate change. Critical Policy Studies, 8:1, 101-115. This paper suggests a new approach to think tank network studies that will be useful to develop an agenda for a second generation of cooperative transnational think tank studies capable of engaging with the cross-border dimensions of the knowledge–interest nexus of ideas and orientations.
Rahmstorf, S. (2004). The climate skeptics. In Munich Re (Ed.), Weather catastrophes & climate change (pp. 76-83). Munich, Germany: Munich Re. Media reports repeatedly focus on sceptics. Some of them do not believe in climate change, others attribute it to natural causes, and others consider it harmless or even favourable. How seriously should we take these theories? This chapter discusses the climate sceptics arguments.Weart, S. (2011). Global warming: How skepticism became denial. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 67(1), 41-50. Deniers of the scientific consensus avoided normal scientific discourse and resorted to ad hominem attacks that cast doubt on the entire scientific community while disrupting the lives of some researchers. The author points out that scientists have failed to mount a concerted public relations campaign to defend their position.