I reproduce the abstract and conclusion below but recommend you read the whole article here.
This article analyzes the extent to which two institutional logics around climate change—the climate change “convinced” and the climate change “skeptical” logics—are truly competing or talking past each other in a way that can be described as a logic schism. Drawing on the concept of framing from social movement theory, it uses qualitative field observations from the largest climate deniers conference in the United States and a data set of almost 800 op-eds from major news outlets over a 2-year period to examine how convinced and skeptical arguments of opposing logics employ frames and issue categories to make arguments about climate change. This article finds that the two logics are engaging in different debates on similar issues with the former focusing on solutions while the latter debates the definition of the problem. It concludes that the debate appears to be reaching a level of polarization where one might begin to question whether meaningful dialogue and problem solving has become unavailable to participants. The implications of such a logic schism is a shift from an integrative debate focused on addressing interests, to a distributive battle over concessionary agreements with each side pursuing its goals by demonizing the other. Avoiding such an outcome requires the activation of, as yet, dormant “broker” categories (technology, religion, and national security), the redefinition of existing ones (science, economics, risk, ideology), and the engagement of effective “climate brokers” to deliver them.
This article has analyzed the extent to which the logic and cultural debate around climate change represents a logic schism. This is an area that social sciences can add a great deal to further understanding in the social and policy arena. Unfortunately, the contemporary presentation of academic scholarship in the climate change debate is largely dominated by the fields of economics, engineering, and law. If social scientists that focus on cultural and social phenomenon want to engage as well, they must bring their academic tools to bear on problem domains such as climate change. It is not enough to say the science is decided if the skepticism countermovement remains active and public uncertainty increases. Organizational researchers and social theorists have unique theories and methods at their disposal to explain why climate change is a polarizing issue in some settings and not in others and why some organizations support or resist efforts to mitigate GHG emissions (Hoffman, in press). If successful in spurring greater scholarly interest in the cultural, ideological, and institutional elements undergirding the climate debate, research in this area—similar to all contentious social problems—will be undertaken by social science scholars using a variety of different theoretical approaches. Scholars who are more comfortable with normative research may take a critical theory stance toward climate skepticism, but others will approach the issue through the lenses of rational choice theory, game theory, organizational theory, economic sociology, and so on. I remain agnostic about which of these approaches will be the most successful at explaining the drivers behind and ultimately the outcomes of—the climate debate and believe this is best sorted out in robust academic as well as public debate.