Climate Change Sceptics Revisited: Creatures of Culture

Willem van Rensburg


Scholarly investigation of climate change scepticism at the elite level places much emphasis on the ideological and material motivations and tactics of some prominent sceptic individuals. This has resulted in a narrow view of scepticism at the elite level. This study investigates a broad cadre of sceptic elites, aiming to reveal their cultural predispositions through a grid-group analysis of their core constructions of human and physical nature. The evidence presented suggests that elite sceptics hold substantively uniform conceptions of human nature and physical nature, that these conceptions correspond most with the individualist cultural type postulated by Cultural Theory, with some linkages to the hierarchical and isolate types, and that they correspond least with the egalitarian cultural type. The article argues that if the quality of the climate change debate is to be improved and greater legitimacy for climate policies is to be achieved, a greater understanding of and ‘connect’ with the particular cultural biases of climate change sceptics would be necessary. 

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