Climate Denial: Emotion, Psychology, Culture, and Political Economy

Kari Marie Norgaard

in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566600
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Climate Denial: Emotion, Psychology, Culture, and Political Economy

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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.

Keywords: denial; climate denial; political economy; climate science; disturbing information

Article.  7579 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Comparative Politics

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