Environ. Sociol. http://doi.org/536 (2015)

There is a large and growing body of social science research on why some people continue to doubt scientific findings on climate change. Most of this work focuses on developed countries, however.

John Chung-En Liu from the University of Wisconsin–Madison seeks to address this blindspot. He conducts a critical discourse analysis of books, news reports, commentaries and online discussions to understand the nuances of climate contrarianism in China. Liu finds that arguments questioning mainstream science are rooted in a 'climate nationalism' specific to a Chinese context.

He finds that political commentators are quick to accuse institutions — be they Wall Street, the US government or the IPCC — of protecting the interests of the West to China's detriment. These theories of a 'western plot' founded on climate change are exacerbated by mistrust in non-Chinese scientists, Liu finds.

In the US and Europe, climate science and environmentalist ideology are often attacked. But in China, climate contrarianism doesn't necessarily rule out support for environmental regulation, Liu says. Understanding these national differences is essential to garnering global public support for climate change policies.