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"No increase in temperatures": why right-wing populists are often climate deniers



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Last Friday in Flensburg.

imago / Willi Schewski

The superficial impression is that right-wing populist parties offer climate change deniers a natural home. That is true, but only partially. In addition, the greatest threat to international climate protection does not come from the right-wing populists themselves.

Not all delegates agreed on all the points when the AfD decided its general program three years ago at a congress in Stuttgart. The claim that there has been no increase in temperature for 18 years, "is based on a one-sided selection and unacceptable generalization of the measurement results for the lower layer of the Earth's atmosphere," he said. a movement that sought to cancel the passage.

There were still other petitions of this type, but the climate change deniers prevailed. "In the 20th century, the global average temperature increased by approximately 0.8 degrees," says the AfD in its current program, although it is true. But he continues, "However, since the end of the 1990s, contrary to the IPCC projections, there has not been an additional increase, even though CO2 emissions have increased more than ever during this period."

  nasa temp gov .JPG

(Photo: NASA)

This is nonsense, of course, as a look at this graph from NASA shows. According to the US Space Agency UU., 2018 was the fourth warmest year since temperature records began. Even warmer were only 2016, 2017 and 2015. There is no doubt that "there is no more increase".

However, it is less likely that you will be surprised that the AfD has made its own the denial of climate change. Behind this is the assumption that right-wing populism and climate skepticism tend to go hand in hand. A new study conducted by the research and consulting institute Adelphi confirms this impression, although only partially.

  • Seven of the 21 most powerful right-wing populist parties in Europe deny that there is a problem. In addition to AfD, the Austrian FPÖ, the British Ukip and the Dutch PVV belong to this group. Some of these parties also resort to conspiracy theories that climate change only serves to scald the taxpayer.
  • Eleven of the parties do not have an explicit climate policy, including the Polish PiS ruling party, which calls itself a pro-coal party. but rejects research on climate change.
  • Only three right-wing populist parties in Europe recognize climate change as a threat that must be addressed: the real Finns, the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz and the National Association "of Latvia.
  Figure 3 adelphi.jpg [19659017] (Photo: adelphi) </p>
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<p>   Another finding of the study is that AfD, in addition to Ukip, is one of the strongest deniers of climate change in Europe AFD's policy is full of relevant claims, for example, the federal government It suppresses the positive effect of CO2 on the growth of plants, in doing so, it is intended that climate research is not about scientific facts, but about a question of faith. "We do not believe the myth of climate change caused by man "AfD chief Alexander Gauland said in early January </p>
<h2>  The danger begins when the middle class parties adopt this rhetoric </h2>
<p>  Regardless of the affiliation of their party to one of the three groups mentioned above. Right-wing populists in the European Parliament are overwhelmingly opposed to climate policy measures, according to the study. In resolutions on climate and energy issues, almost half of all votes against come from the right-wing populist parties. Measures against climate change would be described by them as bad for the economy, socially unfair, environmentally damaging and / or useless. Climate policy is often a "liberal elitist concept" for right-wing populist parties. </p>
<p>  An important reason for this attitude is the rejection of multilateral approaches in international politics. The general rule is that a Eurosceptic or even hostile party will tend to reject international climate protection. However, this only applies to a limited extent when right-wing populists rule: the Polish police and the Hungarian Fidesz, for example, approved the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. </p>
<p>  Compared to the legislative period of 2009 to 2014, the proportion of MEPs voting against climate change measures increased significantly from 10 to 17 percent. Given that right-wing populist parties are likely to grow in some countries, the study for the next European Parliament to be elected in May represents a 19 percent share. "The study shows impressively that right-wing populism not only represents a threat to democracy, the rule of law and individual freedom, but also endangers the multilateral fight against climate change," said the SPD MEP. Jo Leinen </p><div><script async src=

The central threat to However, a European climate policy is not part of the right-wing populist parties, write the authors of the study. One of the greatest threats to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement is not the rise of right-wing populist parties and climate skeptics across Europe, "but the danger of middle class parties adopting their rhetoric and arguments" .

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