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The Politics of Human-induced Climate Change Denial and Cognitive Bias in Risk Assessment

Hiroyuki Tosa
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Hiroyuki Tosa: Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University

No 39, GSICS Working Paper Series from Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University

Abstract: This short essay aims to summarize issues related to the politics of human-induces climate change denial under the condition of high degree of uncertainty, which we notice in the United States, some European countries and even in Japan, from the viewpoint of cognitive psychology addressing cognitive bias problems. In addition, we scrutinize how the politics of climate change denial relates to the rightwing populism by focusing on the relation between cognitive bias and identity politics including belief-systems as well as campaigns operated by vested interest groups such as petroleum industry. In other words, the explanation that ideological aspects of right-wing populism are connected to climate change denial has significant overlap with the idea of cognitive bias, whereby inconvenient truths or facts that do not align with individual belief systems are rejected. This extreme form of cognitive bias also plays a role in the formation of conspiracy theories, which right-wing populism is often keen to embrace. Conspiracy theories cast environmentalists who advocate action on climate change as closet socialists plotting to turn the country Communist under the pretense of environmental protection. The natural environment of the homeland is of aesthetic, symbolic, and material value and thus worthy of being protected to the chauvinists, whereas the climate problem is a transnational phenomenon different in kind from the national landscape, and actors who attempt to solve the problem of climate change are, based on their cosmopolitan orientation, adversaries seeking to undermine their foundation of national sovereignty.

Keywords: climate change denial; right-wing populism; cognitive bias; vested interests; belief systems; uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 10 pages
Date: 2021-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-neu and nep-pke
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