Climate Change Denial and Public Relations: Strategic communication and interest groups in climate inaction, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Climate Change Denial and Public Relations

Strategic communication and interest groups in climate inaction, 1st Edition

Edited by Núria Almiron, Jordi Xifra


256 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-07-09
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pub: 2019-06-26
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This is the first book on climate change denial and lobbying that combines the ideology of denial and the role of anthropocentrism in the study of interest groups and communication strategy.

Climate Change Denial and Public Relations: Strategic Communication and Interest Groups in Climate Inaction is a critical approach to climate change denial from a strategic communication perspective. The book aims to provide an in-depth analysis of how strategic communication by interest groups is contributing to climate change inaction. It does this from a multidisciplinary perspective that expands the usual approach of climate change denialism and introduces a critical reflection on the roots of the problem, including the ethics of the denialist ideology and the rhetoric and role of climate change advocacy. Topics addressed include the power of persuasive narratives and discourses constructed to support climate inaction by lobbies and think tanks, the dominant human supremacist view and the patriarchal roots of denialists and advocates of climate change alike, the knowledge coalitions of the climate think tank networks, the denial strategies related to climate change of the nuclear, oil, and agrifood lobbies, the role of public relations firms, the anthropocentric roots of public relations, taboo topics such as human overpopulation and meat-eating, and the technological myth.

This unique volume is recommended reading for students and scholars of communication and public relations.


"Within books on climate change and environmental communication, Climate Change Denial and Public Relations is distinct in its interrogation of industry and government communication tactics that undermine the socio-political actions needed to reverse this climate crisis. The authors take an enlightened and inclusive approach by including free-living animals among the vulnerable stakeholders who deserve consideration and reparation for human-caused global warming." — Carrie P. Freeman, Assistant Professor of Communication, Georgia State University, USA

"Climate change denial has long been a barrier to effective carbon reduction policies, and the nature and sources of the 'denial machine' are receiving increasing attention. This important volume adds to our knowledge by exploring the ideologies and worldviews underlying denial, and particularly the agents responsible for formulating and communicating denial narratives. It is a strong addition to the literature." — Riley E. Dunlap, Regents Professor and Dresser Professor Emeritus, Oklahoma State University, USA

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

About the Editors

Notes on Contributors


Núria Almiron and Jordi Xifra

PART I: Ethics and Anthropocentrism in Climate Change Denial and Public Relations

1. Rethinking the Ethical Challenge in Climate Change Lobbying: A Discussion of Ideological Denial.

Núria Almiron

2. The Anthropocentric Roots of Public Relations: A (Pre)historical Approach and Ontological Consideration.

Jordi Xifra

3. An Ecofeminist Analysis of Worldviews and Climate Change Denial.

Lisa Kemmerer

4. Why Environmentalism Cannot Beat Denialism: An Antispeciesist Approach to the Ethics of Climate Change.

Catia Faria and Eze Paez

5. The Elephant in the Room: The Role of Interest Groups in Creating and Sustaining the Population Taboo.

Karin Kuhlemann

PART II: Theorizing the Story Line of Climate Change Denial

6. Talking about Climate Change: The Power of Narratives.

Miquel Rodrigo-Alsina

7. Climate Change Countermovement Organizations and Media Attention in the United States.

Maxwell Boykoff and Justin Farrell

8. Think Tank Networks and the Knowledge-Interest Nexus: The Case of Climate Change.

Dieter Plehwe

PART III: Lobbying for Denial in climate change

9. The Climate Smokescreen: The Public Relations Consultancies Working to Obstruct Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in Europe A Critical Approach.

Lucy Michaels and Katharina Ainger

10. "Cowgate": Meat Eating and Climate Change Denial.

Vasile Stanescu

11. "This Nagging Worry About the Carbon Dioxide Issue": Nuclear Denial and the Nuclear Renaissance Campaign.

Núria Almiron, Natalia Khozyainova, and Lluís Freixes

PART IV: Advocating Against Climate Change Denial

12. Fighting Climate Change Denial in the United States.

Luis E. Hestres

13. A Wicked Systems Approach to Climate Change Advocacy.

Ana Fernández-Aballí


About the Editors

Núria Almiron is an Associate Professor at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona. She studies the ethics and political economy of communication, interest groups and strategic communication, critical animal studies and environment. Her work has appeared in journals such as Journalism Studies, Environmental Communication, and the European Journal of Communication.

Jordi Xifra is a Professor at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona. He studies public relations from history, philosophy, and filmic perspectives. His work has appeared in journals such as Public Relations Review, Journal of Public Relations Research, and American Behavioral Scientist. He is founder of Public Relations Inquiry.

About the Series

Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research

Current academic thinking about public relations (PR) and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged.

The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on topics such as:

  • PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation-building
  • PR's origins in the history of ideas
  • a Jungian approach to PR ethics and professionalism
  • global perspectives on PR professional practice;
  • PR as an everyday language for everyone
  • PR as emotional labour
  • PR as communication in conflicted societies, and
  • PR's relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox.

We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mindset that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Nonprofit Organizations & Charities / Marketing & Communications
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
SCIENCE / Global Warming & Climate Change