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
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


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A groundbreaking investigation into the propaganda justifying the fossil-fuel economy, The Language of Climate Politics offers readers powerful new ways to talk about the climate crisis that will help create transformative change.

"If you want to understand the climate crisis and you only have time to read one book, this should be it." - Kieran Setiya, author of Life is Hard

"A revelatory study...It's a breath of fresh air." Publishers' Weekly Starred Review

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 common-sense 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.

Ultimately, The Language of Climate Politics is an inspiring call to arms, a book that equips readers with powerful new terms that will enable them to fight more effectively for a livable future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780197642238
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 07/10/2024
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 126,975
Product dimensions: 6.46(w) x 9.46(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Genevieve Guenther is the founding director of End Climate Silence and affiliate faculty at The New School, where she sits on the board of the Tishman Environment and Design Center. Dr. Guenther advises NGOs, corporations, and policymakers on fossil-fuel disinformation and climate communication, and she serves as Expert Reviewer for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Her research has appeared in both scholarly journals and media outlets such as Scientific American, The New Republic, and MSNBC, and she has been invited to speak about climate and language to audiences at Duke, Columbia, and Harvard, among other universities. She lives in New York City with her family.

Table of Contents

Preface: We

Introduction: Why Words Matter in Climate Politics

Chapter 1 Alarmist
Chapter 2 Cost
Chapter 3 Growth
Chapter 4 "India and China"
Chapter 5 Innovation
Chapter 6 Resilience

After Words: Walking the Talk

Index of Keywords
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