May 20, 2024 | Carbon Brief

Jennie King on key geopolitical risks to climate action in 2024

ISD’s Head of Climate Disinformation Research and Policy, Jennie King, joined other experts in identifying key geopolitical risks to climate action in 2024. The op-eds were organised by Carbon Brief at an important time during a “critical decade” for climate action, especially this year when more than 50 countries will be hosting elections and likely deciding on their nation’s own response to climate risks.

Jennie explains how climate mis- and disinformation largely attempts to “weaken the public mandate for action, slow down the legislative process and, ultimately, maintain the status quo of the carbon economy. By confusing the public, actors can delay progress and prevent us from achieving a sustainable, decarbonised future.” But it also has another end goal: “…Climate issues are also being used as a gateway to undermine democratic life and norms. Nowadays, the aim of much content is not just to delay net-zero, but rather weaken trust in political systems and institutions writ large. Framing climate action as an elite conspiracy or inherently undemocratic, and feeding into wider anti-establishment sentiment, has proven very successful.”

The weaponisation of climate as an issue facing society is “uniquely vulnerable” due to the all-of-society buy-in required to transition forward. “By its very nature, climate is a problem that requires not only big government solutions, but multilateral cooperation. We are living in a time where people have lost faith or patience in either of those things,” she writes.

Jennie identifies two parallel challenges in addressing the threats we are facing: “one, ongoing and coordinated efforts to thwart climate action, often funded by billions of corporate dollars; second, the way that climate is being weaponised to increase social division and embed the idea that democracy doesn’t work. We cannot address one without the other.”

The full article is available here.