Russian climate scepticism: an understudied case

Ashe, Teresa and Poberezhskaya, Marianna (2022). Russian climate scepticism: an understudied case. Climatic Change, 172(3-4), article no. 41.



In this paper, we consider climate scepticism in the Russian context. We are interested in whether this has been discussed within the social scientific literature and ask first whether there is a discernible climate sceptical discourse in Russia. We find that there is very little literature directly on this topic in either English or Russian and we seek to synthesise related literature to fill the gap. Secondly, we consider whether Russian climate scepticism has been shaped by the same factors as in the USA, exploring how scientists, the media, public opinion, the government and business shaped climate scepticism in Russia. Climate scepticism in the USA is understood as a ‘conservative countermovement’ that seeks to react against the perceived gains of the progressive environmental movement, but we argue that this is not an appropriate framework for understanding Russian climate scepticism. Articulated within a less agonistic environment and situated within an authoritarian regime, Russian expressions of climate scepticism balance the environmental, political and economic needs of the regime under the constraints of a strong ‘carbon culture’ and closed public debate.

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