Despite their knowledge of climate science, a number of corporations and trade associations involved in the production or use of fossil fuels, acting in coordination with conservative think tanks, foundations, and public relations firms, have mounted a long-term effort to oppose action to mitigate carbon emissions. Viewed as a struggle to maintain political and cultural hegemony, this chapter shows the origins of this effort in the conservative and anti-environmental movements, aided by the development of public relations techniques applied to the management of environmental issues. This has resulted in a complex climate change countermovement, conducted by multiple organizations at different time scales and utilizing a wide range of tactics. This effort has successfully influenced cultural perceptions of climate change, leading to the continued obstruction of climate action.
Riley E Dunlap and Robert J Brulle
Starting in 1989, corporations with strong ties to the production and use of fossil fuels, in coordination with allied trade associations, conservative think tanks, philanthropic foundations, and public relations firms, mounted campaigns opposed to action to mitigate carbon emissions. A crucial strategy of this climate change counter-movement (CCCM) was the implementation of well-organized efforts to undermine public understanding of human-caused climate change by promoting uncertainty over mainstream climate science. These long-term efforts, often led by front groups to hide corporate responsibility, enlisted contrarian scientists for credibility and public relations firms for expertise in messaging. The misinformation developed by the CCCM has been greatly amplified by conservative media (especially Fox News, WSJ and talk radio), bloggers, and social media - as well as the Republican Party in the US, which has institutionalized climate change denial. This chapter reviews the major sources and amplifiers of climate change misinformation over the past three decades.