Unpacking the political-ideological dimensions of climate change


THE discourse of climate change has proved to be so fascinating and rather interesting. Despite the menacing effects and catastrophic tendencies of climate change, this discourse has become a fertile area for research.

The scientific nature of climate change has been previously and exclusively the domain for scientists to research but its mind boggling nature has even attracted the communication scientists and social scientists to venture in climate change researches. Central to the discourse of climate change is the notion of carbon, described by communication scientists as a “hub”. The carbon hub can be further divided into clusters such as, the moral and religious, dietary, financial, political and socio-economic clusters.

The hype behind climate change has since accorded new dimensions to global warming. To those already in the know, climate change has since ceased to be only an environmental problem but has emerged to be a highly charged political-ideological field and a public problem too. In the United States and Britain in particular, any political party that needs votes should have sound and fault-proof environmental policies. Their worry for the environment is no longer a small issue but an issue of enormous magnitude of concern. This is in sharp contrast to this side of the world where the environment is left to take care of itself.
Climate change in many countries, especially Africa South of the Sahara, is one of those issues not to worry much about. Although in these countries, they even have ministries of environment and climate, they are there for glossing purposes rather than serious entities.

climate change

In the developed countries, climate change has aroused lots of emotions and has resulted into narratives of blame and counter arguments. Although climate is an old idea in the developed world, it has been quite versatile to retain tremendous power and bragging rights for the developed countries and their multinational co-operations. These multinational co-operations such as Coca-Cola, Union Carbide, Cargill, BP Shell, Total, Anglo-American and many others have left significant carbon footprints around the world. They are very much guilty in their own right. These multinational co-operations continue to acquire new political power and influence around the world. These countries use their ideologies of free-market economy and empowerment, which work as a powerful selection device in deciding the nature of climate news to be known by the ordinary people as well as the rank and file. It is nothing but political-ideology that has been used to shape the discourse of climate change as well as what should be classified as climate news. The media, especially robust international news agencies are the market places arguments and an arena for such green debates.

Powerful political nations and multinational co-operations are busy playing green-games with the whole fully knowing that climate change is the most serious environmental threat that the world is currently staring at. These traditional powerhouses have forced their world views upon every nation, especially weaker and gullible ones. But there are ideas, which we are not supposed to know but are true in every respect and are excluded from us in their discourse of manipulation.
It is their best weapon, the ideology which has often been linked to social domination and the distortion of reality. This is not to say that climate change does not exist but it is being used as a political tool to manipulate the world. Even the methods we should use to attend to climate change issues are motivated by political self interests.

By so doing, these dominant discourses of climate change from the powerful nations are designed to maintain submissiveness and ignorance. This also qualifies to be intellectual manipulation and heavily influenced by suppressive linguistic tools of blame. In this view, a group of rich nations and multinational co-operations, drunk with power always use the powerful media arenas as battlefields for control. Proponents of climate change such as former United States Vice-President Al Gore, a businessman himself happens to have direct dealings in carbon trading. For that reason and many other factors, Al Gore is an interested participant. He will have to convince the audience thoroughly that, indeed, he is not there to market and promote his businesses. If he cannot convince the public, then he will be an inconvenience to the truth himself. Most companies with a major control in carbon trading and green technologies are European owned.
As such, the benefits they accrue through environmental activism are quite enormous.

Therefore, the discourse about climate change and clean energy technologies may not directly result from the love of the environment but benefits private personal interests. The powerful and rich nations manipulate the discourse of climate change in order to cloud the common sense of a large group of people around the world, thereby infringing on their moral consciousness. And for this reason, knowledge and its effective application becomes power, that power to control other nations. Finally, the enemy here is not really climate change as we are forced to believe but humanity itself, which is largely composed of carbon sinners.
The manner in which climate change discourse is presented to the public is that of a blame game dimension resulting in the creation of two groups, that is the ‘us’ and ‘them.’ These are the political-ideological battles of the rich nations versus the poor ones in order to continue reinforcing their dominant political influences.

 Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his own personal capacity and can be contacted on: petrovmoyt@gmail.com