10 Apr 2022


Evaluating the Reluctance on Climate Change

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Global warming has not been given the weight it deserves. In fact, it predicted the continuous ignoring of these adverse environmental changes would end up being catastrophic to human live and all other living organisms (Klein, 2014). As observed by political scientists and historians, global climate change had never been taken serious, until in late 1980s. People became aware of global warming after the Toronto Climate conference, which proposed the creation of IPPCC. Some additional bodies came out strongly to rally behind climate change. Some of the notable organizations include America’s Global Climate Coalition. It is worth noting that this group comprised of business and trade associates, who rallied behind the conservative or the libertarian think tank. This was common when President Reagan was in office. It has been difficult for these people to pass message on climate change, considering the continued denial from a section of Americans. Clearly, the global warming campaigners have demonstrated committed to fight global warming, although individuals who believe that climate change is a fallacy have heavily criticized these campaign (Manne, 2016). 

From the beginning of the 1990s, a growing international influence on environmentalism was noted, specifically with the increased focus on global warming. Nonetheless, climate-science denial flourished in the United States, and it is rapid force culminated into a group referred to as anti-environmental counter movement. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the people who were openly against anti-communism shifted to support the anti-environmentalism. Indeed, the economic libertarianism or market fundamentalisms were on the frontline in the facilitation of the swift transition from the Red Scare to Green. In fact, a dozen of institutions were formed, which consisted of individuals who were disseminating information on climate science denial. This happened in the larger part of the 90s. The great influence this group contributed to the emergence of denials blogs, which were actively involved in disseminating propaganda on climate change, in a bid to support anti-environmentalism ideologies (Manne, 2016). 

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It was important to note that the adoption of the political strategy of the climate-denialist counter movement thrived because it managed to create doubt in people. It is revealed that the same strategy was applied by the tobacco industry, as people in the tobacco business wanted to delay the enactment of the anti-tobacco laws. In the case of tobacco smoking, the manufacturers did deny that smoking is detrimental to health. Instead, they claimed that the evidence linking smoking health complication had not been clearly explained (Klein, 2014). 

Indeed, it is worth noting that Science has commanding cultural authority, specifically in the Western countries inclusive of the United States. In this respect, the denialist counter-movement focused on creating an imagination of an oppositional climate-science community. Erick Conway and Naomi Oreskes explained the idea in their publication, Merchants of Doubt . The success of the idea was reflected in the mass petitions, which were signed by climate scientists. Besides, several books were financed for publication, which carried the denialist ideas. What is more, some people were actively involved in funding of the denialist climate scientists. Empirical studies have noted that, in the 90s, mainstream media in the United States frequently quoted scientists, given their expertise in the field (Manne, 2016). 

Furthermore, the views of the denialist scientists were presented as testimony to the Congressional committees. As the popularity of the denialist counter movement widened in the United States, the genuine climate change scientists were summoned by the Congress, with accusation of academic fraud were leveled against them. In this respect, the dangers of global warming were largely overlooked (Jamieson, 2014). 

In late 2000s, the United States press had played a central role in facilitating the dueling scientist scenario, as they tried to analyze both sides of the debate. The dueling scenario became strong, given the increasing popularity of the denialist blogs and the right wing media, for instance, Fox News and radios shows. It has been revealed that approximately 97 percent of climate scientists strongly attributed the recent patterns of global warming, to be caused by careless human acts (Manne, 2016). In the past, books have written that explore the relationship between an individual psychology and climate change. According to Manne (2016), one of the famous publications on this topic is Requiem for a Species written by Clive Hamilton. Moreover, several other publications are dedicated to the sophisticated and ingenious empirical experiments. Even though most of these researches have been carried out in the United States, it is inferred that the perceptions on global warming do not differ greatly among developed countries (Manne, 2016). As such, the psychological studies in the United States highlight the presence of individual resistance to climate change, similarly to what has been observed in several developed countries (Foster, 2012). As pointed out in these studies, climate change is taken as a minor concern, in comparison to issues such as healthcare or the economy. Most Americans do not believe that climate change is a weighty issue and they do not understand their role in averting the climate change (Jamieson, 2014). 

Several other studies focused on understanding the indifference or the inertia have demonstrated the falsity of what remains as the most common explanation, as pointed out in the information deficit model. From a statistical perceptive, there is a negative correlation between self-reported and genuine understanding of climate-change, as well as the degree of personal concern on the individual express (Esty & Moffa, 2015).Based on the explanation given, a larger percentage of the conservative white males did not believe in dangers of climate change. Considering the conservative males are beneficiaries of the status quo, they chose to overlook climate change talks. In fact, the great hostility portrayed to the climate change advocated is linked to the psychological tendency popularly referred to as system justification. 

Another study affirmed the allegations that the conservative were hostile to science, in particular disciplines covering the environment and health. On the contrary, conservatives seem to trust science linked production, as well as other disciplines that cover capitalist enterprise and material progress. However, it is wrong to assume that all these studies articulated issues in the right way. It is established that some individuals have confused climate change with the ozone layer hole. Only ten percent of people understand that 90 percent of environmental destruction is because of human activities (Manne, 2016). 

Different studies have revealed that the choice of language is critical in passing across messages related to global warming. As seen in most conservatives, they are not willing to accept that there is a problem, whenever there is a discussion on global warming or climate change. Previously, some studies have noted the level of visceral response to the climate change problem among the conservatives. It is proposed that communicative calmness is critical in articulating climate change messages (Foster, 2012). In one study, it was concluded that Americans are repelled by climate change information, which appears apocalyptic (Manne, 2016). It is argued that when climate change messages are presented in this manner, it has the potential to interfere with the orderly and stable world. Elsewhere, another study suggested that people seem irritated by global warnings, regarding them as alarmist. Indeed, these findings indicate the politicizing of the global warming issue has detrimental effect on the environment (Esty & Moffa, 2015). 

Additionally, numerous studies have emphasized the need for framing. For instance, one study revealed that the application of frame of care has been widely rejected by the conservatives. Moreover, another study suggests that climate change warnings may turn out effective if framed as public health concerns, as opposed to national security as it has been in the last twenty years. Indeed, it is speculated that the liberals were repelled by the climate change ideologies because they assumed it is a conservative cause. On the other hand, the conservatives were repelled by the intrusion of the left wing issues, which is linked to a cause they valued (Klein, 2014).

It is important to realize that the psychological methods make use of statistical model, where American citizens are involved. In a study by Kari Marie, documented in her publication Living in Denial , she outlines the sources that have contributed to the resistance in climate change. She closely studies a Norwegian town, during a period of adverse weather condition. She does not focus on an individual perceptive, but rather focuses on the denial at the societal level. In her findings, she noted that people in the Norwegian town denied that there was climate change, and they firmly believed that climate change is a meaningless topic. In fact, residents of the town rarely discussed climate change. Moreover, most conversations on climate change were considered a turn off to the most residents in this town. In fact, they refused to endorse it as a topic in schools based on the belief that it will misguide learners. Additionally, they held the belief that they are a small town hence incapable of averting the said climate change effects (Manne, 2016). 

In conclusion, most people have been reluctant to address climate change because they believe that environmentalists made up the story. Indeed, sections of the Americans believe that climate change is not real, and this has been widely supported by blogs that have managed to spread the propaganda to different place. As noted, the white conservative males have openly dismissed climate change talks. Beside, the Congress has vilified scientists who acknowledge global warming, with claims that they participate in academic fraud. At an individual level, most people think that they are incapable of controlling global warming. Considering the lack of willingness to address global warming as a problem, human being continue to act reckless to the environment, contributing to global warming in different parts of the world. In this regard, there is a need to change these perceptions, if global warming has to be reversed. 


Esty, D., & Moffa, A. (2015). Why Climate Change Collective Action Has Failed and What Needs to be Done Within and Without the Trade Regime . Journal of International Economy Laws 15(3), 777-791.

Foster, J. (2012). The Sustainability Mirage: Illusion and Reality in the Coming War on Climate Change. London: Routledge.

Jamieson, D. (2014). Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future. California: OUP USA.

Klein, N. (2014). This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate . Boston: Simon and Schuster.

Manne, R. (2016). Why have we failed to address climate change? Retrieved on April 7, 2016 from https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/december/1448888400/robert-manne/diabolical

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