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Scare-quoting climate: The rapid rise of climate denial in the Swedish far-right media ecosystem

July 12, 2021

CSSN Scholars Kjell Vowles and Martin Hultman have new research showing how the Swedish far right media turned antagonistic against climate change action.


The final years of the 2010s marked an upturn in coverage on climate change. In Sweden, legacy media wrote more on the issue than ever before, especially in connection to the drought and wildfires in the summer of 2018 and the Fridays for Future movement started by Greta Thunberg. Reporting on climate change also reached unprecedented levels in the growingly influential far-right media ecosystem; from being a topic discussed hardly at all, it became a prominent issue. In this study, we use a toolkit from critical discourse analysis (CDA) to research how three Swedish far-right digital media sites reported on climate during the years 2018–2019. We show how the use of conspiracy theories, anti-establishment rhetoric, and nationalistic arguments created an antagonistic reaction to increased demands for action on climate change. By putting climate in ironic quotation marks, a discourse was created where it was taken for granted that climate change was a hoax.

Image Credit: Edaen / Wikimedia