The Language of Climate Politics: Fossil-Fuel Propaganda and How to Fight It

The Language of Climate Politics: Fossil-Fuel Propaganda and How to Fight It

by Genevieve Guenther

Narrated by Genevieve Guenther

Unabridged — 8 hours, 4 minutes

The Language of Climate Politics: Fossil-Fuel Propaganda and How to Fight It

The Language of Climate Politics: Fossil-Fuel Propaganda and How to Fight It

by Genevieve Guenther

Narrated by Genevieve Guenther

Unabridged — 8 hours, 4 minutes

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In an illuminating analysis, Dr. Genevieve Guenther shows that the climate debate is not, in fact, neatly polarized, with Republicans obstructing climate action and Democrats advancing climate solutions. Partisans on the right and the left often repeat the same fossil-fuel talking points, and this repetition produces a centrist consensus upholding the status quo, even as global heating accelerates.

Weaving this analysis through fascinating critical histories of the terms that dominate the language of climate politics-the words we, alarmist, cost, growth, "India and China," innovation, and resilience-Dr. Guenther shows how this consensus is established. Fossil-fuel interests weaponize the discourses of science, economics, and activism, co-opting and twisting climate language to help greenwash their plans for ongoing extraction. But all too often climate scientists, economists, and even advocates will unwittingly echo the false and dangerous assumptions of their supposed political opponents. This apparent agreement between foes, filtered through the news media, not only influences our commonsense yet mistaken views about the climate crisis but also enables powerful decisionmakers to justify the corporate and policy actions that threaten us all. Revealing this dynamic, Guenther shows how to transform it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 05/13/2024

Climate scientists, advocates, and journalists have unwittingly absorbed propagandistic definitions and narratives that subtly shape the news narrative in favor of fossil fuels, argues climate activist Guenther (Magical Imaginations) in this revelatory study. Hoping to clear the air, she uncovers the origins of climate change–related terms currently trafficked by the media, showing how ideas developed by right-wing think tanks have traveled into mainstream news coverage. For example, she tracks how the term “alarmism” has been deployed since 2017—first by the center-right Breakthrough Institute, which bills itself as environmentalist but pushes for increased fossil fuel development in the short-term—to discredit activists and scientists who continue to emphasize the need to rapidly decrease carbon emissions. Other terms investigated include economic-inflected ones like “cost” and “growth,” which Guenther argues obfuscate the real on-the-ground consequences of warming, and “resilience” and “innovation,” which promise unlikely technical fixes. She also examines the fad among American talking heads and op-ed writers for (falsely, she asserts) blaming “India and China” for increasing their carbon emissions and thereby casting decarbonization efforts elsewhere as futile. Her meticulous descriptions of how these terms have been laundered across five years of New York Times op-eds and New York Magazine features makes for piquant media-junkie fare. It’s a breath of fresh air. (July)

From the Publisher

"It's hard to imagine a savvier or more useful new account of our greatest crisis. People who care about the future will cherish this smart volume, which will turn them into far more effective advocates; it is a genuine gift to the world." — strongBill McKibben, Author of emThe End of Nature/em/strong

"This is a brave, compelling, and necessary book. Guenther blasts away the most persistent myths of the climate crisis: that rapidly phasing out fossil fuels will devastate our economy; that China and India are the evil twins of climate politics; that building greater 'resilience' to climate impacts is a simple, catch-all solution. Guenther knows her subject and is a fabulous bullshit detector. Reading The Language of Climate Politics is an excellent way to arm yourself for the fight for a better future." — strongJeff Goodell, Author of the emNew York Times/em bestseller emThe Heat Will Kill You First/em /strong

"This remarkable, empowering book is not just about, but a model instance of, climate communication. It makes a lucid, passionate case for moral anger directed at executives, politicians, economists, and journalists who obfuscate, exacerbate, or profit from the harms inflicted by the use of fossil fuels. If you want to understand the climate crisis and you only have time to read one book, this should be it." — Kieran Setiya, Professor of Philosophy, MIT, and author of Life is Hard

"An enlightening and inspiring journey through the politics of climate change. It's a pivotal read for those committed to shaping America's future." — Ro Khanna, Member of Congress

"In this genius book, Dr. Genevieve Guenther takes the whole overwhelming universe of fossil fuel propaganda and distills it to six key words and one key narrative, exposing the rhetorical tricks used so effectively by the various powers obstructing climate action and thus ridding them of their power entirely. Dr. Guenther shows how these words have come to dominate the discourse on climate not only amongst those who seek to delay climate action but also in the increasingly watered-down proposals of those who support climate policy. This is one of the best explanations I've read of how the heck the climate crisis has gone unchecked for so long. I'm sure I'll be recommending it to people for a long time." — Amy Westervelt, Investigative Climate Journalist, Founder, Drilled Media

"The primary obstacle to tackling the climate crisis is political, not technological. And the political battle has become a war of words. In this important book, Genevieve Guenther navigates the battlefield with insight and wit, expertly elucidating the ways in which the modern climate discourse has been polluted by bad actors with an agenda of business-as-usual dependence on fossil fuels. Read this book and be better prepared to meet the defining challenge of our time." — Michael E. Mann, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Earth & Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from the Earth's Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis

Product Details

BN ID: 2940192619308
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Publication date: 07/10/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
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