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Donald Trump and the denial machine : institutionalizing the U.S. Climate Change Countermovement
Varian, Caitlin Grace
May 9, 2017
Sociology - Environmental Studies
An organized countermovement has developed to misinform the public, distort climate science and oppose energy rationing regulations. I examine the ways in which Donald Trump and his administration are a part of the United States Climate Change Countermovement (CCCM) and consider the implications for the Climate Change Movement (CCM). I conducted a content analysis of Trump’s campaign speeches to explore how his campaign rhetoric relates to countermovement claims. I also completed a network analysis of three federal agency landing teams, considering the social, political and economic ties that exist between core organizations in the CCCM and members of the Trump Administration. I argue that the CCCM has captured the federal agencies most responsible for issues pertaining to energy and environment. I also argue that Trump’s promotion of American Exceptionalism, abundance, and prosperity works to institutionalize the Human Exemptionalism Paradigm within the federal government. Throughout this thesis, I strive to make sense of how the 2016 U.S. presidential election will hold historic importance for national and global climate change mitigation efforts.
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