Dominant counter-frames in influential climate contrarian European think tanks

Abstract

Numerous studies to date have interrogated United States (US) think tanks—and their networks—involved in climate change countermovement (CCM). Comparatively in Europe (EU), research has been lacking. This investigation therefore attends to that gap. We conducted a frame analysis on eight most prominent contrarian think tanks in six countries and four languages in Europe over 24 years (1994–2018). We found that there has been consistent contrarian framing through think tanks in the EU regarding climate change. Yet, we found a proliferation of contrarian outputs particularly in recent years. This uptick in quantity correlates with increases in CCM activities in the US. Our content analyses showed that well-worn climate change counter-frames spread by US CCM organizations were consistently circulated by European organizations as well. Moreover, we found that, as in the US, neoliberal ideological stances stood out as the most frequently taken up by contrarian think tanks in Europe. As such, we documented that CCM tropes and activities have flowed strongly between US and EU countries.

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  1. 1.

    Global Go to Think Tank Index is an index build upon the nominations and rankings made by a panel of experts on the basis of a large list of qualitative criteria that the experts assess according to their perception. For the 2018 Global Go to Think Tank Index, the panel included over 1796 peer institutions and experts from the print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions, and governments around the world (McGann 2019).

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Funding

This work was funded by the Spanish State Research Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigación, AEI) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Grant CSO2016-78421-R.

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Correspondence to Núria Almiron.

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Almiron, N., Boykoff, M., Narberhaus, M. et al. Dominant counter-frames in influential climate contrarian European think tanks. Climatic Change 162, 2003–2020 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-020-02820-4

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Keywords

  • Climate change denial
  • Contrarian counter-movement
  • Europe
  • Think tanks
  • Counter-frames