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Dead White men vs. Greta Thunberg: Nationalism, Misogyny, and Climate Change Denial in Swedish far-right Digital Media

June 15, 2022

By analyzing the reactions of four Swedish far-right digital news sites towards Greta Thunberg from 2018 to 2019, CSSN Scholars Kjell Vowles and Martin Hultman explore the overlap between anti-environmentalism and anti-feminism.


Climate change is affecting all life on earth. In Sweden, most political parties agree that the country, as part of the wealthy, industrialised global north, should be a forerunner in reducing its emissions, but there is a growing opposition to climate change mitigation from far-right nationalism, which has been visible within the main far-right political party the Sweden Democrats. The Swedish far-right media ecosystem hardly wrote about climate change before 2018, but when Greta Thunberg and the climate change justice movement rose to prominence, it became an important issue. By scare-quoting climate, a discourse was created where climate change was perceived as a hoax, and anyone demanding action could be ridiculed (Vowles and Hultman 2021). In 2019, four of the ten most read texts on the site Samhällsnytt were about global warming, all of them spreading climate change denial in connection to a story about Thunberg. She was titled ‘alarmist’ and climate change politics were described as an ‘irrational’ and ‘hysterical’ reaction to a scientifically non-existing problem. This can help explain why views about climate change in Sweden are, according to recent reports, becoming nearly as divided as in the US (e.g. Newman et al. 2020).

Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Per Grunditz