The Climate Change Policy Spectrum: Worldviews, Ideologies and the New (Economic) Merchants of Doubt

By Mark Edwards
Assistant Professor, School of Business, University of Western Australia
Posted on 13 December 2012
Filed under Culture, Politics

In a study of the responses of farmers to changing weather patterns Rogers, Curtis and Mazur found that, “Personal values and worldviews were found to be the most frequent factors linked to adaptive behaviour.” (Rogers, Curtis & Mazur 2012, p. 258)

This is the first post in a three-part series that examine the policy spectrum that emerges from the landscape of values and worldviews.

Policy responses to human induced climate change (HICC) cover a spectrum of views ranging from the radical denier’s dismissal of any need for policy to the radical interventionist call for policies that require immediate and wide-ranging transformation of the economic system (see Figure 1).   Because they fear the effects of devastating climate change over the coming decades, radical interventionists call for policies that will require a mandatory shift away from a carbon-based economy.  Radical interventionists generally hold the view that immediate and harsh, perhaps even authoritarian, government action is required to avoid the catastrophic environmental, social and economic disruption that will unfold if climate change continues unabated.  At the other end of the spectrum, the radical deniers claim that no policy response is needed as they deny the scientific evidence for HICC.  These two opposing views also represent vastly different worldviews regarding the role of government and business in society.  Where interventionists want direct government regulatory control, denialists want small government, the unhindered functioning of free markets and freedom for the businesses that operate in those markets. In between these two positions lie a variety of policy options with their own associated worldviews.

Figure 1 shows the spectrum of policy responses defined by the opposing positions of acceptance of HICC and radical government intervention as the most appropriate government response and radical denial of HICC and the ideological defence of free markets against regulation and government interference.  Between these positions there are battle lines that shift as a function of changing public and private attitudes, the ongoing reality of climate change impacts and debate over the role of government and business.

Although their influence has worked in very different ways, both the radical interventionist view and the radical denialist view inhibit the development and implementation of well-considered, timely climate policies.  In particular, denialist activities have been successful in weakening the social and political will to address global warming in a concerted and pro-active manner. But as the science accumulates, dramatic weather events occur and observable environmental impacts become more evident, the power of the denialist position to influence business and political leaders and public opinion will diminish.  

Even if the radical denialist position continues to influence public opinion, it will gradually hold less sway over policy makers and corporate leaders. It will not be so much the mounting scientific evidence that will convince many to take HICC seriously as it will the economic impacts of global warming through such realities as rising insurance premiums, emergency service costs, special assistance payments for drought and flood affected regions and the relocation costs of coastal housing and infrastructure.   The emergence of politically sensitive topics such as responding to the issue of climate refugees will also impact greatly on public opinion.  The increasing acceptance of HICC will not, however, automatically mean that governments and business will take the proactive steps necessarily to address climate change impacts. Greater recognition of the scientific reality of global warming will not necessarily shift worldviews that are suspicious of government regulation or unilateral action by a few progressive businesses.  Opposition to government action may even be galvanised by increasing acknowledgement of HICC. 

As the realities of HICC impacts hit home, the real battle ground will become less over whether HICC is a fact or not, and more over what the policy response should be. The battle will move from one defined by scientific versus anti-intellectual worldviews to one of interventionist worldviews versus free market worldviews. As the urgency of the climate crisis escalates, the debate over government regulation versus market-based solutions will take centre stage. Of course, this is already happening to some degree with the contrasting policy positions of the Commonwealth Government (moderate interventionist position via the carbon tax and other legislated measures) and the Opposition (free market position via its Direct Action Plan).  However, the debate over whether interventionist or free market policies offer the best pathway to responding to HICC will continue to grow.  Doubt about the efficacy of government intervention to address HICC may even become as much a barrier to action as the denialist strategy of manufacturing doubt about the scientific basis of HICC.  To unpack this topic further I need to describe a few more features of the policy response spectrum.

The next two posts will unpack those features.


Rogers, M, Curtis, A & Mazur, N 2012, 'The influence of cognitive processes on rural landholder responses to climate change', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 111, pp. 258-266.

Bookmark and Share


Comments 1 to 38:

  1. I gotta favorite this website it seems very helpful .
    facebook hacker software
    view bot youtube
  2. You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant!
    hochzeit musik dj
  3. japan.comp234 at 20:25 PM on 6 October, 2015
    Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information..
    things to do in phuket
  4. japan.comp234 at 16:47 PM on 15 October, 2015
    This blog is really great. The information here will surely be of some help to me. Thanks!.
    fat diminisher system review
  5. japan.comp234 at 18:54 PM on 23 October, 2015
    I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.
    car title loans Los Angeles CA
  6. Really a great addition. I have read this marvelous post. Thanks for sharing information about it. I really like that. Thanks so lot for your convene.
    venus factor review youtube
  7. brad.haddon234 at 23:45 PM on 28 October, 2015
    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. If possible, such as gain knowledge, would you mind updating your blog with additional information? It is very useful for me.
    twitter follow bot
    youtube subscribers bot
  8. japan.comp234 at 19:49 PM on 31 October, 2015
    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often.
    Venus Factor Review
  9. brad.haddon234 at 21:20 PM on 2 November, 2015
    I gotta favorite this website it seems very helpful .
    ecom premier academy discount
  10. japan.comp234 at 19:03 PM on 5 November, 2015
    Excellent website you have here, so much cool information!.. Build my list 2.0 review
  11. japan.comp234 at 19:16 PM on 6 November, 2015
    Thanks a lot for sharing us about this update. Hope you will not get tired on making posts as informative as this. Build my list 2.0
  12. japan.comp234 at 20:41 PM on 9 November, 2015
    I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to undertand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not tht good. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he ejoyed it as well! Genius marketing pro
  13. I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of wonderful information, saved to my bookmarks itunes alternatives
  14. I was reading your article and wondered if you had considered creating an ebook on this subject. Your writing would sell it fast. You have a lot of writing talent. description
  15. I just couldn't leave your site before letting you know that I genuinely delighted in the top quality data you present to your guests? Will be back again often to determine the status of new posts. Da'esh
    i was just browsing along and came upon your blog. just wanted to say good blog and this article really helped me.
  17. japan.comp234 at 18:01 PM on 3 December, 2015
    I am unquestionably making the most of your site. You unquestionably have some extraordinary knowledge and awesome stories. bali deals
  18. Interesting and amazing how your post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much, and I am looking forward to Hearing from your next..
    low income home insurance
  19. japan.comp234 at 20:09 PM on 3 January, 2016
    thank you for a great post. Smart Member 2.0
  20. Only aspire to mention ones content can be as incredible. This clarity with your post is superb and that i may think you’re a guru for this issue. High-quality along with your concur permit me to to seize your current give to keep modified by using approaching blog post. Thanks a lot hundreds of along with you should go on the pleasurable get the job done.
    online Casinos mit Startguthaben ohne einzahlung
  21. brad.haddon234 at 16:10 PM on 7 January, 2016
    The post is composed in extremely a decent way and it contains numerous helpful data for me. Spring Web Design
  22. japan.comp234 at 22:36 PM on 7 January, 2016
    Much obliged to you for setting aside an ideal opportunity to distribute this data extremely valuable! Venus Factor Review
  23. japan.comp234 at 19:25 PM on 11 January, 2016
    Your article has piqued a lot of positive interest. I can see why since you have done such a good job of making it interesting. seriöse Online Casinos
  24. brad.haddon234 at 23:55 PM on 15 January, 2016
    I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive! Keep putting up.. buy instagram followers buy instagram likes
  25. japan.comp234 at 21:39 PM on 18 January, 2016
    hello!! Very interesting discussion glad that I came across such informative post. Keep up the good work friend. Glad to be part of your net community. how to get instagram followers
  26. japan.comp234 at 19:25 PM on 21 January, 2016
    Great articles and great layout. Your blog post deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. hampton bay lighting
  27. japan.comp234 at 19:58 PM on 29 January, 2016
    nice bLog! its interesting. thank you for sharing.... it marketing
  28. Most social marketers I know have been twitter tools to get more followers hard at work trying to build a robust presence on various social channels. But when they go to their executive team to tell them about all the success they have been having, they twitter most followers list get a resounding, “So what?
  29. Any marketer buy canadian twitter followers that cannot show the economic impact of their activities will fail to earn the attention of twitter users with most followers their executives.
  30. Further, they will fail to increase followers twitter get those same executives to focus on the right social strategy because they are not showing any impact of their efforts. The good news is that proving the value of your social media marketing strategy is get 1000 followers twitter not as hard as it seems.
  31. Here are 4 simple metrics you i want more followers on twitter can use to prove the economic value of your social media marketing strategy to your what are fake followers on twitter executive team.
  32. If you’re one of the app to track twitter followers organizations that is struggling to show a relationship between your social media marketing 100 free twitter followers and your fundraising dollars - then this guide is meant for you!
  33. japan.comp234 at 00:13 AM on 2 February, 2016
    I needed to thank you for this awesome read!! I unquestionably getting a charge out of each and every piece of it I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post. estelle
  34. japan.comp234 at 18:01 PM on 4 February, 2016
    Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. ageless male discounts
  35. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing..
    insurance quotes without personal information
  36. japan.comp234 at 19:55 PM on 6 April, 2016
    Hi there! Nice post! Please tell us when I will see a follow up! mihran kalaydjian
  37. It is very true that the climatic changes are occurring today without any correct order or balance. The changing weather pattern is mainly affecting the farmers. I am very interested to know more about the reasons for this change and study about it. where can i buy cheese curds
  38. Very good and the professor explain so well. In this present age it is too tough to maintain economic. WE should be Video of Root Bridge aware every person from economics
Comments Policy

Post a Comment

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or register a new account.