Tag Archives: climate sceptics

Letter from America: how cowboys cope with climate change

Alastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He’s currently participating in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change. This is his third report on his experiences.

As we make our journey over the shale wells and wind farms of the Great Plains to Colorado, we are joined by the pope. On the airport TV screens, on the front covers of the newspapers and in the conversations overheard in the terminal shuttle, his encyclical on climate change dominates our journey. As we are now in the early stages of the presidential nominations, His Holiness has also featured as a political debate starter on talk shows. Read more

Letter from America: Washington and the art of compromise

The capitol building in WashingtonAlastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He’s participating in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change and will be sending dispatches over the next couple of weeks based on his experiences.

Washington is a city that changes startlingly from block to block. Take the Capitol Building, which looms over its surroundings like the younger, stockier brother of St Paul’s Cathedral, reflected in the water landscaped in front with the Washington monument in the distance. Dotted around it are countless police, tourists and lobbyists. You are vividly aware of where you are. Read more

Green conservatism: the benefits of real free trade in carbon

KraftwerkThis post is by Peter Franklin, former Conservative policy adviser and speech writer. It first appeared on Conservative Home and is an extract from the forthcoming collection of essays Green conservatism: protecting the environment through open markets. Similar collections are being published under Green Alliance’s ‘Green social democracy’ and ‘Green liberalism’ projects as part of Green Alliance’s Green Roots programme, which aims to stimulate green thinking within the three dominant political traditions in the UK.

There’s no use denying it, the environment is a difficult area for the Conservative Party. And the biggest environmental issue, climate change, presents the greatest difficulties.

Although Margaret Thatcher was the first world leader to warn about the threat of global warming, and although David Cameron has famously highlighted the issue too, other prominent Conservatives, including Nigel Lawson and Peter Lilley, have been outspoken in their opposition to the mainstream agenda on climate change. Read more

What’s the link between the rising tide of populist politics and climate denial?

flooded warning signsThis post is by Matthew Lockwood, senior research fellow at the University of Exeter.

Last week I blogged on how UKIP’s rise has been mirrored by a rise in the proportion of people saying that they do not think the world is warming. There may or may not be a causal link between the two, but my hypothesis is that you would expect populism to drive climate denial, not just here but also in the US, in the form of the Tea Party movement.  Let’s assume that my hypothesis is correct. In the long term populism tends to self-destruct but, unfortunately, it can do a lot of damage before that happens. So what should those who are concerned with the effects on climate policy do about it?

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Climate scepticism and UKIP trends – more than a coincidence?

nigel-farageThis post is by Matthew Lockwood and first appeared on Political Climate.

I’ve blogged before on my ideas about the importance of seeing climate scepticism as a political phenomenon related to populism. With yesterday’s county council election results now showing a big UKIP vote, today seems an appropriate time to note that the rise in UKIP support correlates pretty well with an increase in scepticism expressed in polls. Read more

Sceptics, climate change and the media

newspapers detailThis is a guest post by James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

It’s nearly Christmas, so it must be the end of another round of UN climate talks.  One of the less reported aspects of this annual meet-up is that the 190-odd delegations often come from quite different backgrounds when it comes to popular views about climate change in their home countries.

For example, surveys show significant differences between countries as to how much people believe that mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions are the main driver of climate change.

At first this might seem odd. After all, reports from the IPCC and others are pretty good at laying out where there are core certainties and residual uncertainties.  And these reports get widespread coverage in most countries of the world. Read more

Why climate scepticism at a local level needn’t be a barrier to action

This is a guest post by Peter Lefort, Project Officer for the Community Action Group network, an organisation that supports 40 sustainability groups across Oxfordshire. 

Climate scepticism is now a term as pervasive as climate change itself. It is tempting to view the battle as one fought between two sides, but in reality climate scepticism is so broad an idea, covering everything from corporate-funded think tanks to disillusioned individuals, that it is misleading to view it as a single argument, and especially as one that can be defeated by knowledge.

A recent study conducted at Yale Law School concluded that when people increase their scientific and reasoning skills, their previous views on climate change are strengthened; sceptics become more sceptical while those who are concerned become more worried. Knowledge is rationalised into an existing worldview, and so the battle remains a stalemate. Read more