Organized Climate Change Denial

Dunlap, Riley; McCright, A.M.
The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Even as the consensus over the reality and significance of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) becomes stronger within the scientific community, this global environmental problem is increasingly contested in the political arena and wider society. The spread of debate and contention over ACC from the scientific to socio-political realms has been detrimental to climate science. This article provides an overview of organized climate change denial. Focusing primarily on the US, where denial first took root and remains most active, this article begins by describing the growth of conservative-based opposition to environmentalism and environmental science in general. It then explains why climate change became the central focus of this opposition, which quickly evolved into a coordinated and well-funded machine or ‘industry’. It also examines denialists’ rationale for attacking the scientific underpinnings of climate change policy and the crucial strategy of ‘manufacturing uncertainty’ they employ.