Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Agenda

Jan Paul van Soest: Climate denial comes to power - climate policies in times of Trump

Date: 19 January 2017
Time: 12:00 - 13:30
Location: C081, Leeuwenborch building, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen

The Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, organizes the Environmental Governance Seminar Series. Nationally and internationally renowned speakers will highlight a variety of recent topics in Environmental Governance. The lectures are open to the general public. You are warmly invited to attend the lectures.

The new president of the US, Donald Trump, is a well-known climate denier. Many of the members of his cabinet are too, with roots in the oil industry and conservative 'think tanks' paid by the industry. While around a year ago, when the Paris climate deal was crafted, the idea was that climate 'scepticism' had come to an end, the US proves otherwise: climate denial now comes to power. This may impact climate policies in other countries, both in positive (China taking leadership) and in more negative ways ('why should we act now that the US doesn't?'). Is it possible to understand the background of climate denialism, as part of what is called 'the anti-reflexivity movement'? Industry money plays a key role, but also does free-market ideology. Climate denial goes hand-in-hand with populism, where facts are easily dismissed as just another opinion. We can observe similar trends in Europe, including in the Netherlands: fact-free debates, populism and nationalism on the rise, decreasing levels of trust in authorities and governments, and social media that bring only those messages and news items that match personal worldviews. We've seen it all in the US. So, what can we learn?

Jan Paul van Soest is a well-known consultant, initiator and thinker/writer in the field of sustainability in the Netherlands. With his colleagues in De Gemeynt co-operative, he leads negotiations on complex social projects and plans where sustainability is in discussion, he gives advice to governments, businesses and civil society. Jan Paul was initiator of the Green Business Council, Association of sustainable companies.

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