Rebranding the Climate Change Counter Movement through a Criminological and Political Economic Lens
The climate change counter movement (CCCM) has been the focus of social scientists and environmental activists for several years (e.g. Greenpeace, nd, Dunlap and McCright, 2015). The movement is made up of an organised group of actors that have campaigned, distorted and minimised the impacts of climate change, and criticised domestic and international level policy to remedy climate change. The purpose of this study is to add to this area of investigation having located 465 CCCM organisations across the globe. To examine the CCCM I adopt a two-part theoretical framework synthesising a perspective from the political economic and sociology of crime and deviance literatures. First, I propose that the operation of CCCM organisations can be explained through a Gramscian (1971) lens of Hegemony. Second, I propose the messages adopted by CCCM organisation can be understood through a crime and deviance lens. Specifically, I propose these messages can be rebranded as CCCM neutralisation techniques (Sykes and Matza, 1957) I conducted a content analysis of 805 documents taken from these organisations to see if CCCM organisations adopted messages that could be rebranded as techniques of neutralisation. I then conducted a cross-national analysis to (1) predict the number of organisations, and (2) predict the use of neutralisation techniques across countries. A series of negative binomial regression and ordinary least squared regression equations to test whether political, economic, and ecological factors can explain the number of CCCM organisations across countries and the messages they adopt. These results reveal strong support for the notion that CCCM organisations operate and use CCCM neutralisation techniques to protect fossil fuel hegemony against climate action. Several techniques of neutralisation are used to justify the continued use of fossil fuels and rationalise the ecological consequences to help sustain support for the hegemonic global capitalist economy. Moreover, CCCM organisations operate to challenge the rise of environmentalism and environmental protection that aims to respond to and remedy climate change.
Peer Reviewed : No