Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-9-2017

Major Department or Program

Sociology - Environmental Studies


Alissa Cordner


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.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Donald Trump (1946- ), Climatic changes, Environmental responsibility, Global warming -- Political aspects, Political culture -- Manipulation, Climate change mitigation, United States -- Climate -- Climate Change Countermovement, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 -- Sociology-Environmental Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis



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