Conference on climate change denial
Martin Hultman, who works with environmental history and the history of ideas, is organising the world’s first conference on climate change denial.Why are you holding a conference about the scepticism or indifference people feel when faced with scientific evidence of climate change?
“We are trying to understand and take the issue of climate change denial seriously. We have known about the problem of climate change since the end of the 1980s. Why is more not being done? We have the knowledge, so why are we not taking decisive action? Politicians and other decision-makers are not taking the knowledge we have sufficiently seriously. Why is this?
One of the explanations for this denial of scientific evidence has been that the results often challenge power relationships and the structures of society, and the issue of climate change is a clear example of this. There is often also a conservative and strongly religious element among such groups, and they deny totally the benefits of science. For these people, it becomes threatening, a way of distancing oneself from religion.”
What has your research revealed?
“I work together with Jonas Anshelm, professor at the Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change, in these questions. A few years ago we published an article that discussed climate change denial: it received a great deal of international attention, and caught the eye of an American researcher in environmental sociology. We showed that leading climate change deniers are often older men who have been involved in the construction of the modern industrial society. Such men feel that this is where their identity is located. This is why modern climate change research threatens them, their identity and what they stand for. Donald Trump is currently proclaiming climate change denial in his campaign to be president of the US, and the Swedish Democrats party in Sweden voted against ratifying the Paris Agreement.
It is possible, however, to question whether climate deniers are just a small group. Nearly half of the US electorate can see themselves voting for Trump, and 30% of the electorate in Great Britain don’t consider issues relating to the climate to be important. This is also an important question across generations, where young people want to direct energy consumption away from fossil fuels, while older people are more often climate change deniers.”
Who is attending the conference?
“We have around 25 researchers from various parts of the world, including Australia, Brazil, China and Canada. Several are participating by video link: we want to have as little impact on the climate as possible. We have collected the most interesting researchers who have investigated the phenomenon of climate change denial. This is the first conference ever to focus solely on this question.”
What will be the next step for researchers after the conference?
“We are planning to document the presentations in detail. It is our ambition to start a global research programme into the subject. We can discover interesting starting points by collecting the available knowledge. This is a major issue facing society.”
Dates and location: 27-29 October in Norrköping.
LiU researchers have joined international calls for a boycott of scientific conferences in the US.
Psychology students took on role of treaters in a study of perfectionism and internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy.
Social value creation is on the agendas of more and more companies and organisations. Erik Jannesson, senior lecturer in management control, has just published a book on the subject.
Rolf Holmqvist is one of 17 researchers who are critical to guidelines for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Malin Thor Tureby was keynote speaker at an international conference on oral history.
Cats that meow with a dialect have caused a sensation in the world media. Robert Eklund, a linguist who works with cats at the Department of Culture and Communication, has lost count of the number of times the work has been reported in the media.
On 6 December, a Farewell Mingle was held for departing exchange students who have studied at Linköping University.
"We have a global and critical perspective that attracts today's students," says Stefan Jonsson, professor at REMESO, about the Faculty of Arts and Science’s first international master’s programme at REMESO in Norrköping - Ethnic and Migration Studies.
Achieving perfect health has become a religion in the western world, according to a newly published study. Barbro Wijma, professor emerita and physician with many years of experience meeting patients, views this development with dismay.
Skin colour matters, also in Sweden. But many people don’t accept that racism is a problem here – only in other countries. So claims doctoral student Victoria Kawesa, who writes about black feminism and whiteness in Sweden.
Johanna Sköld from Child Studies at Linköping University co-organised an international workshop where researchers compared various models of compensation for institutional neglect and abuse.
Anna Lindström and Monika Lopez of the Department of Culture and Communication applied earlier this year for funding for an initiative in an issue relating to refugees. The funding was granted, and the “Tomorrow’s Nobel laureates” project was born.
Suad Ali, expert on Sweden’s refugee quota, works tirelessly for refugees worldwide. For her dedication she has been chosen as one of Linköping University’s two Alumni of the Year.
Thomas Lunner’s research has given improved hearing to millions of people with impaired hearing. He has been chosen as one of this year’s Alumni of the Year.
Last updated: 2017-02-13