Climate change denial

Centre for Studies of Climate Change Denialism (CEFORCED)

​Why do we, on a societal level, not take climate change seriously? That is the question at the heart of the CEFORCED-network, which engages scholars from northern Europe and beyond, with Chalmers University of Technology as a hub.

For more than three decades anthropogenic climate change has been recognized by global leaders and the scientific community as a threat to human and more-than-human communities. As effects of our use of energy and resources rising sea-levels and rising temperatures, intense heatwaves and extreme precipitation events are destabilizing the conditions for human and non-human life on the planet. Still, we haven’t managed to bend the emissions curve, and, in fact, global carbon dioxide emissions are roughly 60 percent higher than they were in 1990.

One reason for failure is the organized campaign by fossil fuel interests and conservative foundations in the USA and beyond. This campaign – which has been called a “Climate Change Denial Machine” or a “Climate Change Countermovement” – has roots going back to the 1960’s and 1970’s but became more coherent and prominent in the early 1990s.

Within the CEFORCED-network, we are not only looking at the fossil fuel-industry to try to understand why the supposedly environmental progressive northern European countries has not managed to transition away from fossil fuels. Our historical research show how climate change was used to defend nuclear and the high energy society in the 1970’s but was then latter removed as an object from national politics. Here, ecomodern discourse played a key role to dismiss and obstruct calls for an energy transition in the early 1990’s and it was only in the late 00’s that literal climate change denial started to feature in the Swedish public debate to any degree. Lately, however, climate change has become a polarizing issue just as in the USA, with influential far-right parties and a significant far-right digital media system, spreading doubt about climate science.

Based upon publications from 2014, international conferences organised in Norrköping, Sweden, both 2016 and 2018 CEFORCED came together in 2018. Since then we have published seven peer-reviewed articles, one book (and two more just submitted), several popular science articles, organized yet another international conference (together with the Zetkin-collective), and appeared frequently on national and international media. Scholars within the project are regularly asked to comment on current events and to hold public talks.

Welcome to follow us on Twitter: @ceforced

Martin Hultman, Associate Professor in Science, Technology and Environmental studies, head the network.

Employed scholars at Chalmers are post-doc Kristoffer Ekberg and PhD-candidate Kjell Vowles.

Other scholars who have been connected with the project or been hired as guest scholars include:

Kirsti Jylhä is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm, Sweden. Guest scholar at CEFORCE during spring 2021.

James Painter, Research Associate, Reuters Institute, and Senior Teaching Associate, School of Geography, at the University of Oxford. Guest scholar at CEFORCED spring 2019.

Bernhard Forchtner, Associate Professor at the School of Media Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester. He is also a member of the university’s Institute for Environmental Futures. Affiliated researcher at CEFORCED, autumn 2021.


Peer-reviewed articles

Ekberg, Kristoffer, and Victor Pressfeldt. In press. ‘A Road to Denial – Climate Change and Neoliberal Thought in Sweden, 1988–2000’.

Vowles, K & Hultman, M (2022) Dead White men vs. Greta Thunberg: Nationalism, Misogyny, and Climate Change Denial in Swedish far-right Digital Media, Australian Feminist Studies, 36:110, 414-431, DOI:10.1080/08164649.2022.2062669

Vowles, K. & Hultman, M. (2021) “Scare-quoting climate: The rapid rise of climate denial in the Swedish far-right media ecosystem. Nordic Journal of Media Studies Vol. 3 Nr. 1 pp. 79-95, DOI: 10.2478/njms-2021-0005

Krange, BP Kaltenborn, M Hultman (2021) “Don’t confuse me with facts”—how right wing populism affects trust in agencies advocating anthropogenic climate change as a reality” Humanities and Social Sciences Communications Vol. 8 Nr. DOI: 110.1057/s41599021-00930-7

Ekberg, K & Hultman (2021) “A Question of Utter Importance: The Early History of Climate Change and Energy Policy in Sweden, 1974–1983”. Environment and History DOI: 10.3197/096734021X16245313030028

Stoddard, Isak, Kevin Anderson, Stuart Capstick, Wim Carton, Joanna Depledge, Keri Facer, Clair Gough, Frederic Hache, Claire Hoolohan, Martin Hultman, Niclas Hällström, Sivan Kartha, Sonja Klinsky, Magdalena Kuchler, Eva Lövbrand, Naghmeh Nasiritousi, Peter Newell, Glen P. Peters, Youba Sokona, Andy Stirling, Matthew Stilwell, Clive Spash, Mariama Williams (2021) “Three decades of climate mitigation: why haven’t we bent the emissions curve?” Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 46 pp. 653-689

Hultman, M. (2020). El viaje de la derecha nacionalista al ecocidio.: El caso de los Demócratas de Suecia (Sverigedemokraterna). Ecología política, (59), 101-106.

Krange, O., Kaltenborn, B. P., & Hultman, M. (2019). Cool dudes in Norway: climate change denial among conservative Norwegian men. Environmental Sociology, 5(1), 1-11

Hultman, M. (2019). Flera generationer av klimatsvek. Socialmedicinsk tidskrift, 96(3), 431-433.


Anthology chapters

Hultman, M. & Kristoffer Ekberg (2021) ”Maskuliniteter och klimatpolitik” Emil Edenborg, Sofie Tornhill & Cecilia Åse ed. Feministiska perspektiv på global politik. Lund: Studentlitteratur

Hultman, M. (2020) “Klimatkrisens demografi. Industrimoderna maskuliniteter ger upphov till klimatförnekelse” ed. Jennifer Hobbins, Erna Danielsson och Angelika Sjöstedt Genus, risk och kris. Lund: Studentlitteratur

Pulé, P., & Hultman, M. (2019). Industrial/breadwinner masculinities: Understanding the complexities of climate change denial. In Climate Hazards, Disasters, and Gender Ramifications (pp. 86-97). Routledge.

Hultman, M. (2019). Den inställda klimatomställningen. Politik och teknik 1980-talets Sverige. Socialmedicinsk tidskrift, 96(3), 401-405.

Hultman, M., Björk, A., & Viinikka, T. (2019). The Far Right and Climate Change Denial: Denouncing environmental challenges via anti-establishment rhetoric, marketing of doubts, industrial/breadwinner masculinities enactments and ethno-nationalism. In The Far Right and the Environment (pp. 121-135). Routledge.

Page manager Published: Wed 24 Aug 2022.