Climate Scepticism – is it primarily found in the English-speaking world, and if so, why?

Date: 24 May 2012
Speaker(s): James Painter
Venue: London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Climate Change and Environment Seminar Series: Summer Term

The presentation will focus on the prevalence of climate scepticism – in its various forms – in the print media around the world. Most previous academic research on climate scepticism has tended to focus on the way it has been organised, and its impact on policy outputs, rather on the types of scepticism and the individuals who represent them.

The paper lays out the different forms of scepticism, and gives examples of the differences between them. It then draws on extensive content analysis of a large database of newspaper articles in Brazil, China, France, India, the UK and the USA, taken from two separate three-month periods in 2007 and 2009/10. It shows the country variations in the quantity, type and professional backgrounds of sceptics quoted in the press.

It concludes that climate scepticism is largely an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon, found most frequently in the US and British newspapers, and explores some of the reasons why this may be so.