Last year I blogged on Walter Russel Mead’s analysis that linked climate denial to a tradition of American populism. At one level it is obvious that there is an association between climate scepticism and populists (such as the lovely Jeremy Clarkson). But in this post I explore those links more deeply, inspired by Paul Taggart’s excellent book on populism. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Climate denial
Bryan Walsh’s piece on Al Gore’s reality versus everyone else’s in Time magazine is an excellent precis of the current politics of climate change. He even gets the UK picture about right; the default position for US environmental writers is to assume European climate policy is a done deal. That said, Continue reading
Dagnabbit, there’s no pleasing you scepticy chaps is there. It’s not enough that people are becoming bored with climate change. They have to be becoming bored with climate change for the right reasons (obv. waking up to the grand conspiracy etc – see comments on Matthew’s recent post).
Are you environmentalists in disguise (as the more ardent fans of my favourite football club often chant, although they substitute ‘environmentalists’ for ‘Derby’)? Greens have been criticised – at least by Matthew and I – for wanting people to take the necessary actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the name of the climate; to forfend Armageddon.
In truth it doesn’t matter. If people are in fact beginning to wonder if the whole oil thing looks a bit iffy and so whack a solar panel on their Wimpy semi then it’s all to the good (even if we do end up paying them for the privilege). Not only do they mitigate a little bit of climate change, but they’re also instant early adopters.
In a topsy-turvy fashion, one could apparently level the same criticism at denialist folk. If people are becoming disgruntled with beardy climate wonks (strokes beard!), it has to be because they’ve seen through the AGW lie and not due to a growing sense that dealing with climate change all looks a bit too tricky and pricey, thank you (is it your zeal I can feel?)
A little while back Andrew picked up on an FT piece warning that technocratic elites should take notice of the possibility of a populist backlash. The current issue of Foreign Affairs (behind paywall) contains a couple of excellent analyses that drill further down into this theme, and carry some important implications for climate policy.
Walter Russell Mead places the American Tea Party movement in historical context, and explores the challenges it poses to US policy makers trying to follow a liberal internationalist agenda. He identifies the Tea Partyers as latter-day “Jacksonian” populists, named after the original 19th C populist President Andrew Jackson (no, not that Jackson!). As Mead explains: Continue reading