Global Census of Climate Obstruction Organizations

Co-chairs: Dieter Plehwe (Berlin Social Science Center) and Ruth McKie (De Montfort

Due to the asymmetric research concentration and uneven availability of source material, we know much more about climate change denial groups in the U.S. than about those in other countries. Moreover we know more about climate change denial (and human cause denial) than about other strategies of persistent climate change policy opposition and obstruction. This working group will bring together scholars from different geographical locations, disciplines, and methodologies. It’s aim is to develop, co-ordinate and conduct a methodological robust
survey needed to improve our knowledge about denial and obstruction in many countries around the globe, establishing the different ways it matters and to identify the transnational linkages between groups.

Given global denial and obstruction groups have built up power bases directing opposition energy against the IPCC and other international bodies in addition to domestic institutions (“contender matching capacity”), research on these groups must leave this national container
perspectives behind, in order to address both the national and the supra- and international dimension of the work of groups in different countries. Note however, this does certainly not preclude a country focus or comparative country studies (with an eye to actors and activities across borders).

Preliminary key questions for the working group include:

  • Who are the relevant actors locally involved in opposition to ambitious climate change mitigation? Which areas of the local landscapeare they coming from (e.g. business interest groups, political party/factions, civil society groups (NGOs/Think Tanks etc.)
  • Are there foreign partners of local groups? Where, what role do they play?
    Which strategies, denial and other, are employed to oppose ambitious climate change mitigation in different countries?
  • Which patterns emerge if we compare strategies cross space and time? Are strategies developed / coordinated across borders and by whom or how?

One central aspect of global survey research, will be building the robust database and what issues may arise. Should and can we set up a joint database to work both on individual studies and collectively on a common joint project (and public service tool)? No matter what we do exactly, we probably share important units of analysis such as Locations (Countries, regions within countries, macro-regions / groups of countries (e.g. EU etc.), Organizations (corporations, business associations, consulting companies, corporate foundations, Think Tank, NGO / Front group, political party), Individuals (age, gender, education, profession, employment), Works (papers, books, blogs etc.), Events (conferences, hearings etc.), Frame/s (“climate change denial”, “anthropogenic cause of climate change denial”, “need to act fast denial”, “need to change production / consumption patterns denial” (technological solution suffice), etc.)