Photo of Robert J. Brulle

Robert J. Brulle

Brown University
United States
Email robert_brulle [at] brown [period/dot] edu

Robert Brulle is Visiting Professor of Environment and Society at Brown University in Providence RI, an Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Environmental Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Director of Research at the Climate Social Science Network (CSSN). His research focuses on U.S. environmental politics, critical theory, and the political and cultural dynamics of climate change. He is the author of over one hundred publications in these areas, and is the author of three books: Agency, Democracy and the Environment: The U.S. Environmental Movement from the Perspective of Critical Theory, co-editor, with David Pellow, of Power, Justice and the Environment, and co-editor, with Riley Dunlap, of Climate Change and Society: Sociological Perspectives. He was awarded the Frederick H. Buttle Distinguished Contribution Award to Environmental Sociology by the American Sociological Association in 2016, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association in 2018. Prior to his employment in the academic field, Dr. Brulle served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for twenty four years, where his area of expertise was in the field of environmental response and pollution prevention.

Robert J. Brulle’s website.


Brulle RJ, Hall G, Loy L, Schell-Smith K. 2021. “Obstructing action: foundation funding and US climate change counter-movement organizations,” Climatic Change. 2021;166(1):17.

Robert Brulle, Galen Hall, Loredana Loy, & Kennedy Schell-Smith. Forthcoming. “Obstructing action: Foundation funding and U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations” (under review).

Dunlap, Riley E. and Robert J. Brulle2020.  “Sources and Amplifiers of Climate Change Denial.”  Pp. 49-61 in D. C. Holmes and L. M. Richardson (eds.), The Research Handbook on Communicating Climate Change.  Cheltenham, UK:  Edgar Elgar. (November 2020).

Robert J. Brulle, Melissa Aronczyk, & Jason Carmichael. 2019. “Corporate promotion and climate change: an analysis of key variables affecting advertising spending by major oil corporations, 1986–2015,” Climatic Change (December 2019).

Robert J. Brulle. 2019. “Networks of opposition: a structural analysis of US climate change countermovement coalitions 1989–2015,” Sociological Inquiry (October 2019).

Robert J. Brulle & Melissa Aronczyk. 2019. “Organized Opposition to Climate Change Action in the United States.” In the Routledge Handbook of Global Sustainability Governance, Routledge (October 2019).

Justin Farrell, Kathryn McConnell, & Robert Brulle. 2019. “Evidence-based strategies to combat scientific misinformation,” Nature Climate Change (January 2019).

Robert J. Brulle & J. Timmons Roberts. 2017. “Climate Misinformation Campaigns and Public Sociology,” Contexts (March 2017).

Robert J. Antonio, & Robert J. Brulle. 2011. “The Unbearable Lightness of Politics: Climate Change Denial & Political Polarization,” Sociological Quarterly (April 2011).

Media Coverage

Robert Brulle and Riley E. Dunlap review the sociological dynamics of climate obstruction, “A Sociological View of the Effort to Obstruct Action on Climate Change,” Brulle RJ, Dunlap RE. Footnotes. July 7, 2021.

Robert Brulle comments on the climate movement’s efforts to block the Keystone XL pipeline, “Keystone Pipeline, Symbol to Oil’s Foes and Friends, Is Now Dead,” Dlouhy JA. Bloomberg Law. June 9, 2021.

Anonymous Donors Keep the Climate Denial Machine Chugging,” Taft M. Gizmodo. May 18, 2021.

Brulle quoted in article about how the railroad industry’s mixed record on climate change is attracting new scrutiny. “Coal-hauling rail industry arrives at climate crossroad,” E&E News, May 12, 2021.

Robert Brulle comments on the tired talking points used against climate action, “Republicans’ climate credibility hit by make-believe ‘war on burgers’ claim,” Milman O. the Guardian. April 28, 2021.

Robert Brulle quoted on climate obstruction in the IPCC report by Joe Lo. ‘Star Wars Without Darth Vader’ – why the UN climate science story names no villains,” Climate Home News, January 12, 2021.

Robert Brulle’s research on PR firms’ role in greenwashing client’s activities featured by Amy Westervelt. PR Firms Are Being Shamed For Helping Fossil Fuel Companies ‘Green’ Their Image,” Huffpost, December 10, 2020.

Robert Brulle quoted on public relations’ role in climate denial by Bill McKibben. When ‘Creatives’ Turn Destructive: Image-Makers and the Climate Crisis,” New York Times, November 21, 2020.

DonorsTrust supports plutocracy, not democracy,” Robert Brulle, Providence Journal, December 1, 2020.

Robert Brulle’s research on oil and gas industry advertising discussed by Nicholas Kusnetz. “What Does Net Zero Emissions Mean for Big Oil? Not What You Think,” InsideClimate News, July 16, 2020.

Robert Brulle’s research on climate denial advertising discussed by William F. Lamb. “Guest post: How ‘discourses of delay’ are used to slow climate action,” Carbon Brief, July 6, 2020.

Robert Brulle’s research on the climate change counter movement web discussed by Joan Conrow. “Anti-science groups drive US protests against COVID lockdowns,” Alliance for Science, April 24, 2020.

Robert Brulle’s research on climate lobbying discussed by Isaac Stanley-Becker & Tony Romm. “The anti-quarantine protests seem spontaneous. But behind the scenes, a powerful network is helping,” The Washington Post, April 22, 2020.

Robert Brulle’s research on public relations campaigns by the fossil fuel industry discussed by Nicholas Kusnetz. “Heartland Launches Website of Contrarian Climate Science Amid Struggles With Funding and Controversy,” InsideClimate News, March 13, 2020.

Robert Brulle quoted by Emma Cosgrove in “Union Pacific to tackle emissions reduction with science-based targets,” Supply Chain Dive, March 11, 2020.

Robert Brulle quoted by Paul Armstrong in “Amazon Primed: Amazon Care Launches, Bezos $10 Billion Blunder, Pentagon Documents,” Forbes, February 23, 2020.

Robert Brulle’s research on the climate change countermovement discussed by Louise Matsakis. “With a $10 Billion Fund, Jeff Bezos Can Control the Planet’s Future,” Wired, February 20, 2020.

Robert Brulle’s research on the climate change countermovement discussed by Benjamin Storrow & Scott Waldman. “‘Wildly successful.’ How Bob Murray helped denialism,” E&E News, December 18, 2019.

Robert Brulle’s research on oil company advertising summarized by Brown University. “Climate change legislation, media coverage drives oil companies’ ad spending, study finds,”, Dec 17, 2019.

Robert Brulle’s research on the climate change countermovement web discussed by Robinson Meyer. “A Major but Little-Known Supporter of Climate Denial: Freight Railroads,” The Atlantic, December 13, 2019.

Robert Brulle’s research on the climate change countermovement discussed by Élan Young. “Exxon knew — and so did coal,” Gristle, November 29, 2019.

Robert Brulle’s research on the climate change countermovement discussed by Élan Young. “Coal Knew, Too,” Mother Jones, November 25, 2019.

Robert Brulle quoted by Scott Waldman & Adam Aton. “Trump’s conspiracy theories on Ukraine echo climate claims,” E&E News, October 1, 2019.

Robert Brulle quoted by Ryan Mac & Zahra Hirji. “Google Is Promoting Climate Change Denialism On Its Apps and Mobile Homepage,” Buzzfeed News, September 5, 2019.

Robert Brulle quoted by Jillian Mock & John Schwartz in “What if We All Ate a Bit Less Meat?,” The New York Times, August 21, 2019.

Robert Brulle’s research on climate lobbying discussed by Benjamin Ryan. “These Days, It’s Not About the Polar Bears,” The New York Times, May 12, 2019.

Robert Brulle’s research on climate lobbying discussed by Josh Gabbatiss. Major polluters spend 10 times as much on climate lobbying as green groups, study finds,” The Independent, July 19, 2018.

Robert Brulle’s research on the climate change countermovement discussed by Robert O’Harrow Jr. “A two-decade crusade by conservative charities fueled Trump’s exit from Paris climate accord,” The Washington Post, September 5, 2017.