1st Edition

Metaphor and Argumentation in Climate Crisis Discourse

By Anaïs Augé Copyright 2023

    This volume sheds light on the argumentative role of metaphor in climate change discourse, unpacking the ways in which stakeholders use specific metaphors to influence perceptions of the climate crisis.

    While existing research has explored the explanatory function of metaphors in communication on climate change, this book offers an alternative view, one which posits that metaphors can go beyond disseminating scientific observations to promoting biases in the depiction of these observations. Augé analyses oft-used ideas in climate change communication, such as greenwashing, drawn from a wide-ranging corpus spanning media discourse, scientific discourse, NGO communications, political speech, and social media messages in English. The book presents an overview of different arguments conveyed through metaphors around five key themes—climate change mitigation; the evolution of climate change; global and local effects; the significance of climate change in specific countries; and the relationship between climate change and other contemporary social issues. The volume highlights how the complexity of climate change often necessitates the use of metaphor and the value of further research on the argumentative function of metaphor in elucidating its ideological dimensions in climate crisis discourse.

    This book will be of interest to scholars in discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, and environmental communication.

    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents


    Chapter 1: Conceptualisations of the environment

    1.1. Introduction

    1.2. The complexity of the climate crisis and its metaphors

    1.3. Metaphorical arguments in discourse: Narratives and Scenarios

    1.4. Overview of the content

    Chapter 2: Cognitive bias and argumentation: the personification of the environment

    2.1. Introduction

    2.2. The ORGANS and BODY COMPONENTS of the environment

    2.3. The HEALTH of the planet


    2.5. Summary

    Chapter 3: The role of metaphors in the climate change debate: the political relevance of the topic

    3.1. Introduction

    3.2. The metaphor of the Cathedral

    3.3. The conceptualisation of ANTAGONISTIC RELATIONSHIPS


    3.5. Summary

    Chapter 4: Metaphors in argumentative texts: a corpus study

    4.1. Introduction

    4.2. Metaphors and literary genres: from science to (social) media

    4.3. Metaphors in corpus: a case study

    4.4. Argumentation through metaphorical exploitation: the selection of data

    4.5. Summary

    Chapter 5: Metaphors of environmental optimism: climate change mitigation

    5.1. Introduction

    5.2. Green politics: COP26, a journey to a cleaner, greener future

    5,3, Green solutions? Nuclear power and the "Rainforest Chernobyl"

    5.5. Green solutions or greenwashing? The misuse of optimistic metaphors

    5.6. Summary

    Chapter 6: Metaphors of environmental pessimism: uncontrollable climate crisis

    6.1. Introduction

    6.2. Activism through metaphor: "There is no Planet B"

    6.3. Activism or alarmism? Misrepresentation of activists and "deniers"

    6.4. Scientific uncertainties: "Incriminating fingerprint"

    6.5. Summary

    Chapter 7: Global climate (in)justice: metaphorical emphasis on responsibilities

    7.1. Introduction

    7.2. Debates over (inter-)national responsibilities: the greenhouse world

    7.3. Climate justice: definition(s)

    7.4. Legal implications: ecocide and eco-terrorism

    7.5. Summary

    Chapter 8: "Earth to COP": international dialogue with the Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA)

    8.1. Introduction

    8.2. The need to change international discourse about the climate crisis: "words can reframe worlds"

    8.3. Promotion of cultures and traditions: the survival of the lands and the survival of the communities

    8.4. The "North-South" Divide

    8.5. Summary


    Chapter 9: Climate justice: overlapping crises in metaphorical discourse

    9.1. Introduction

    9.2. "The climate crisis is not gender neutral": metaphors of ecofeminism

    9.3. "Climate change is racist": metaphorical views on environmental racism

    9.4. "Let’s talk about climate migrants, not climate refugees": overlapping discourses and metaphors

    9.5. Summary

    Chapter 10: Conclusion

    10.1. Introduction

    10.2. Arguments through metaphors in climate crisis discourse

    10.3. Local climate crises: promotion of global solidarity

    10.4. Further perspectives: activism, artivism, and the role of controversies




    Anaïs Augé is a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Louvain (Belgium), Institute of Political Sciences Louvain-Europe. Her research is notably published in Environmental Communication (doi: 10.1080/17524032.2021.1890174) and Metaphor & Symbol (doi: 10.1080/10926488.2019.1683949). She is the co-editor of the International Journal of Language and Culture.