A Road to Denial: Climate Change and Neoliberal Thought in Sweden, 1988-2000
Journal article, 2022

Neoliberal and conservative actors, financed by the fossil fuel industry, have been identified as crucial parts of a climate change denialist counter movement since at least the 1980s. We claim that this intersection stems from more than just vested interest fuelling advocacy groups. By focusing on the intellectual developments and social networks of core actors in the environmental debate in Sweden, we trace the history of opposition to environmental regulation in a country proclaiming to be an environmental pioneer. Our analysis shows that while the framing of climate change in terms of complexity initially provided actors with arguments for neoliberal policies, the obstruction of climate and environmental action was steeped in a neoliberal thought style. Our findings demonstrate the importance of scrutinising economic paradigms and thought styles that has enabled the delay of climate policy as well as the continued need for historical and geographically specific studies of obstruction.


Kristoffer Ekberg

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Science, Technology and Society

Victor Pressfeldt

Lund University

Contemporary European History

0960-7773 (ISSN)

Vol. 31 4 627-644 PII S096077732200025X

Subject Categories

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Environmental Management

History of Technology



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