Post-Political Populism as the Elephant in the Room: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Greta Thunberg’s Public Speeches on Climate Change

This is part of our Campus Spotlight on Maastricht University, and a Roundtable on Maastricht University Student Research.


Greta Thunberg’s Skolstreik för klimatet in front of the Swedish parliament in August 2018 inspired people around the whole world. Thunberg became the most prominent face of the global climate movement and has been successful in establishing climate change as an essential topic on the public agenda. At the same time, the world has been experiencing an unprecedented wave of populism. Indeed, the “populist Zeitgeist[1] is haunting the world more than ever. Commonly, populism and the global climate movement are perceived as enormously influential but antagonistic forces. In this article, I aim to challenge this predominant assumption by indicating their potential symbiosis. To substantiate this counterintuitive assertion, I breathe new life into Erik Swyngedouw’s controversial term “post-political populism”[2] and apply it to the discourse surrounding Thunberg’s public speeches. Swyngedouw paved the way for an emerging literature that tackles the inherent populist and depoliticized sentiments in climate discourse. Correspondingly, this article seeks to explore the extent of populist and depoliticized gestures in Thunberg’s speeches and how they frame climate change.

I have analyzed thirty public speeches and conducted a manual content as well as critical discourse analysis. The latter method rests on the notion that discourses are decisively determined by ideologies and it is the task of researchers to unveil them.[3] Thereby, critical discourse analysts are encouraged to set a normative position.[4] Nevertheless, this approach bears an important limitation because it is “is certainly anathema to those scholars working from a positivist or social scientific paradigm which privileges objectivity.”[5] Critical discourse analysts, however, do not aim at maintaining this standard and instead emphasize their critical stance. In this contribution, I claim that Thunberg frequently relies on populist rhetoric which functions as a transmitter to convey the entrenched message of depoliticization. Therefore, Greta Thunberg’s framing of climate change can be best described as post-political populism. The symbiosis of populism and depoliticization undermines democracy’s pluralistic foundation and perpetuates the climate paralysis.


Post-political populism

I draw on two different but complementary concepts to bring forward a new conceptualization of post-political populism, which can be empirically applied. Cas Mudde’s ideational approach towards populism constitutes the first building-block. Mudde postulates that the essential pillars of populism encompass people-centrism, anti-elitism, and popular sovereignty. He recognizes populism as an array of ideas that shape a dichotomous discourse through the creation of a Manichean opposition between the moral people and a corrupt elite. The term Manichean describes the dualistic perception in which the world is divided into good and evil. Mudde emphasizes that the opposition between the people and the elite is based on morality.[6] Furthermore, he treats populism as a thin ideology that can be attached to other thick ideologies, such as socialism or nationalism.[7] Therefore, populism is always a means to the end, but never the end itself.

The second building block of post-political populism is depoliticization, also called post-politics which has been mainly coined by radical democracy theorists. They claim that the social sphere inevitably rests on conflicts and power imbalance. Correspondingly, Marchart stresses that depoliticization neglects the inherent disparity of society by pointing to an ultimate foundation.[8] Given that “conflict and division are inherent to politics,”[9] “consensus (…) is, in a word, the disappearance of politics.”[10] The post-political condition thus highlights the artificial neutralization of disagreement within society. The seemingly sui generis phenomenon of the new climate movement can be seen as nothing more than a reflection of the post-political state. Grounded in the radical democracy theory, I have identified five main pillars of the post-political climate discourse: scientific determinism, universalism, the exploitation of fear, externalization, and non-partisanism.

Firstly, climate discourse follows the logic of a scientific determinism that frames climate change primarily as a matter of science.[11] Hence, it implicates that the scientific data already bear the solutions to tackle the phenomenon.[12] Secondly, climate change is presented as a universal threat.[13] This universalization of climate change discursively conceals the natural social divisions.[14] Swyngedouw outlines that this projection “produces a thoroughly depoliticized imaginary.”[15] Thirdly, climate discourse frequently relies on apocalyptic imaginaries to present the dystopian future that impends if no actions are undertaken.[16] According to Calhoun, the exploitation of fear conveys an indefinite state of crisis that inherently depoliticizes the issue.[17] Fourthly, climate discourse mainly circles around the reduction of greenhouse gases. Swyngedouw indicates that this focus on CO2 externalizes and mystifies the real cause of climate change.[18] This view is supported by Weisser & Müller-Mahn who criticize that the discourse targets the pathological symptom (global emissions), instead of questioning the system itself (neo-liberal capitalism).[19] Lastly, climate discourse elevates non-partisanism and the emergency of societal consensus as prerequisites for successful policies.[20]However, radical democracy theory urges that the consensual presentation of climate change forecloses any political contestation and thereby constitutes an obstacle for the needed politics.[21] Hereby, it is important to highlight that the concept of post-political populism treats populism in its chameleon-like habit as the articulator of a depoliticized message. In the following, this conceptualization is applied to the discourse surrounding Greta Thunberg’s public speeches.

It appears to be counterintuitive to scrutinize whether Thunberg’s speeches contain populist and post-political elements. Indeed, Fridays For Future and Thunberg were indisputably successful in politicizing climate change by contributing, among other things, to its presence at international meetings and the unprecedented media attention.[22] Furthermore, as shown by Mattheis, the impetus for the movement came from the youth, a subgroup of society, that is excluded from the democratic process.[23] Young people have no voting rights, and they have no channels to participate politically. Hence, civil disobedience is a means to articulate the systematically oppressed interests. Thus, the movement politicized both the problem of climate change and the youth itself. This outside glance on the discourse seems to falsify a considerable number of scholars who describe climate discourse as essentially depoliticized as well as populist. Nonetheless, a closer inspection of the discourse is inevitable to test whether this assumption holds.


Thunberg’s post-political populism in numbers

To get first insights into the discourse, I have conducted a manual content analysis through the means of a codebook that was built upon the conceptualization of post-political populism. Figure 1 reveals the high level of post-political populism in Thunberg’s speeches with a share of 38.4 percent per coded sentence. Furthermore, the markedly small difference (0.6 percent) between depoliticization and populism indicates that both concepts play an equally pivotal role in her discourse.

Additionally, Figure 2 compares the percentage of coded sentences per indicator of post-political populism. Regarding populism, it illustrates that Thunberg’s speeches contain by far more anti-elitist and people-centric sentences than references to popular sovereignty. This finding can arguably be explained by the linkage between “the people” and “the elites.” Especially, Manucci and Weber stress that being critical towards “the elites” is solely populist in combination with a relation to the moral superiority of “the people.”[24] Therefore, it is indispensable that the qualitative analysis situates these results in context.

The findings present a more complex picture for depoliticization, as the spread of the indicators is considerably lower than for populism. Overall, the results demonstrate the high level of post-political populism. To complement this finding, the following critical discourse analysis focuses on the symbiosis of populism and depoliticization.

A Manichean opposition between “humanity” and the “world leaders”

The discourse reveals that Thunberg constructs two different frames of “the people.” Firstly, she grounds “the people” in generational terms. Accordingly, she repeatedly refers to “us children,”[25] and “the young people.”[26] This emphasis on the younger generation facilitates the forging of collective identity. Pivotally, Thunberg depicts a generational conflict in which she turns around the traditional role allocation. Concretely, the adults are described as “irresponsible children”[27] that failed to do their “homework”[28] so that “it falls on [the youth] to be the adults in the room.”[29]Hereby, the discourse constructs a narrative in which the older generations are held responsible. Importantly, Müller and Mudde outline that the division of society into two homogenous camps is per se not populist because it must be caused by a moral superiority of “the people.”[30] Zulianello and Ceccobelli convincingly argue that in Thunberg’s discourse, the cleavage is mainly portrayed in generational terms and not caused by a permanent moral imbalance.[31] The gap between youth and adults is surmountable because a knowledge disparity perpetuates it. Thus, this dualism does not reflect populist sentiments because it is not predominantly based on morality.

Secondly, Thunberg embeds “the people” in universal terms and contrast them with “the elites.” She claims that FFF represents “our civilization”[32] and that climate change “affects all of us.”[33] Thus, she transcends the typical national boundaries of “the people” and instead, equates it with humanity. Thereby, she conveys that the universal threat of climate change endangers a homogenous civilization. Consequently, universalism determines the construction of “the people” and adds a peculiar characteristic. This view is supported by Ruitenberg who points out that Thunberg’s demands are populist and “revolve around a new construction of the people.”[34]

The discourse juxtaposes the “world leaders”[35] as natural antipodes to the universal people. Thunberg conveys how humanity is “betrayed by the people in power”[36] because the “emergency is being completely ignored by politicians.”[37] She emphasizes that “our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people”[38] who “are selling our future for their comfort and profit.”[39] Accordingly, she depicts an antagonism between the “universal people” and “the elites.” Ultimately, she forecasts that the world leaders “will be remembered as the greatest villains of all time”[40] and their “legacy will be the greatest failure of human history.”[41] In this context, “the people” are portrayed as an indispensable corrective for “the elites.” To illustrate, Thunberg insists that “the people” “are starting to see through their lies and (…) will hold them accountable for their actions.”[42] Consequently, “the people” are presented as universal victims of the ecological crisis that is ignored by the elites. Thereupon, Thunberg praises people’s action and claims power for “the people” to successfully cope with climate change. She highlights that “if the people in power won’t take their responsibility, then we will.”[43] The speeches repeatedly refer to the inexhaustible potential inherent in a movement of “the people.” In particular, she states that “if you look throughout history, all the great changes have come from the people”[44] and that “the real power belongs to the people.”[45] In sum, Thunberg’s discourse constructs a Manichean opposition between the “universal people” and the “world leaders” that is accompanied by the embracing of popular sovereignty. This finding supports the view of other authors who claim that the dominant climate discourse in general (e.g. Swyngedouw[46]) and Thunberg’s discourse especially (e.g. Ruitenberg[47]) rely on populist gestures.


The depoliticization of climate change

There are four deeply intertwined post-political elements in Thunberg’s speeches. First, her discourse is anchored in a purely negative image of the future. She forecasts a “disaster”[48] and the “end of our civilization.”[49] Thunberg’s articulation of a permanent state of emergency is linked to universalism. Hence, the issue of climate change is presented as a “universal humanitarian threat.”[50] Thunberg’s metaphor, “our house is on fire,”[51] exemplifies this. It implies that there is a possibility of extinguishing the fire. Thunberg acknowledges that the apocalypse has not arrived yet by affirming that “homo sapiens have not failed yet”[52] and that “we can still fix this.”[53] Therefore, the discourse refers to an impending apocalypse, which can still be prevented. In this regard, Swyngedouw and Kenis maintain that the discursive exploitation of fear in climate discourse is inevitable depoliticizing because it forecloses the room for political contest.[54]

Second, the speeches fixate on the symptom of CO2. Thunberg agitates for the “carbon budget [to] become our new global currency and the very heart of our future.”[55] Her focus lies merely on the reduction of CO2, but, as pointed out by Kvamme, she only reluctantly shows how to translate her demands into politics.[56] It is scientifically indisputable that a reduction of greenhouse gases is inevitable.[57] Nonetheless, Carvalho raises that the impact of CO2 matters decisively on the environment in which it is emitted. She argues that the simplification of climate change to the problem of CO2 emissions mystifies the root causes of climate change and neglects the social divisions linked to polluting acts.[58] Therefore, “luxury emissions of the rich and survival emissions of the poor become equivalent.”[59] Thereupon, Thunberg’s axiom that the “bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty”[60] falls short because it leaves out the globally diverging causes of greenhouse gases. Instead, Thunberg sensitizes the public for the problem of climate change but simultaneously forecloses to think critically about it.

Third, science is elevated as the only determinant to avert the crisis. Thunberg’s main demand to “just unite behind the science”[61] is subject to a considerable reductionism because it underestimates the numerous tangents of the phenomenon. Notably, Hulme labels climate change as a “wicked problem” [62] that raises an enormous number of ethical, moral and philosophical questions. Transferred to the present discourse, Evensen shows that Thunberg’s scientific determinism leaves out these normative questions and thereby subordinates political action to natural science.[63] Hence, Thunberg’s aim to make “science the heart of politics and democracy”[64] is fundamentally contradictory. Admittedly, a considerable number of scholars regard the proper communication of the scientific consensus as potential remedy to tackle climate change.[65] However, this view is increasingly contested. Wynne emphasizes that the scientific determinism artificially suppresses dissensus and thereby reinforces the climate paralysis.[66] Likewise, Goeminne postulates that “[h]owever neutral the invocation of science may seem, one can indeed not smooth out the non-neutral and very political struggle that underlies the decision on what to be concerned about.”[67] Consequently, scientific facts must play a vital role but as a starting point for political contestation.

Lastly, the discourse presents climate change as a phenomenon that requires a consensual treatment. Thunberg establishes that “the climate and ecological crisis is beyond party politics.”[68] She exhorts the “world leaders” that “we must stop competing with each other.”[69] Furthermore, she frames FFF itself as apolitical by emphasizing that “we are not communicating our opinions or political views.”[70] Hence, she presents consensus as a prerequisite for successful climate policies. Taken together, Thunberg’s discourse reveals a deeply rooted depoliticization. The construction of climate change as a universal humanitarian threat that is caused by excessive CO2 emissions which can only be averted by a consensus-supported scientific solutionism embodies the post-political condition.


The discourse’s impact on democracy: normative implications

This section summarizes the analysis and elaborates on the impact of Thunberg’s discourse on democracy. I have exposed the convoluted nature of her discourse which mirrors an emerging debate about the degree of populism in Thunberg’s speeches. Some researchers argue that Thunberg uses populist gestures to underline the urgency for climate politics.[71]Zulianello and Ceccobelli explicitly oppose this line of reasoning by stressing that her discourse is technocratic and depoliticized.[72] My analysis demonstrates that both arguments are eligible because Thunberg’s discourse contains both populist and technocratic sentiments. To grasp these ostensible exclusive elements, I utilized the concept of post-political populism. Thereby, I indicated the Janus-faced nature of the discourse that politicizes the problem of climate change but simultaneously depoliticizes the solutions.

This analysis paves the way for critical scrutiny of the discourse’s impact on democracy. There is a vivid academic debate about the threat populism poses to liberal democracy. Some scholars claim that populism is inherently illiberal and thus antagonistic to some of the essential features of liberal democracy.[73] Accordingly, Rummens urges that “populism should be branded as a dangerous threat.”[74] Conversely, others have negated this monolithic perspective.[75] This position is shared by Laclau who indicates that populism as a discursive style can possibly be both a threat and a corrective force to democracy.[76] Likewise, Mudde and Kaltwasser underline that “populism seldom exists in pure form”[77] and that it can have positive and negative effects on democracy. Hence, the use of populist rhetoric per seconstitutes no threat to liberal democracy, because it depends on the attached ideology.[78] Transferred to Thunberg’s discourse, it is thus not feasible to deduce conclusions from her populist rhetoric to liberal democracy. Instead, it is necessary to take a closer look at the demands that are attached to it.

I have shown that the discourse’s pith is depoliticization. In fact, Thunberg’s narrative corresponds to the popular consensus-building approach in the academic literature that recommends the depoliticization of the climate debate.[79]Yet, there is a growing number of scholars who criticize this support for depoliticization. They refer to the multifaceted nature of climate change that can neither be tackled by scientific determinism nor an artificially created consensus.[80]Consequently, Machin insists that “the aim for a climate consensus – in both science and politics- depoliticizes the issue and undermines the possibility of climate change politics.”[81] Thereby, she emphasizes that the mantra of consensus is a potential threat for democracy because it is anti-pluralistic and fuels identarian radicality.[82]

On this foundation, it can be argued that the narratives constructed by Thunberg potentially undermine democracy and are a perpetuating force of the climate paralysis. There are two perspectives especially worth mentioning in this respect. First, Thunberg’s claim that science determines effective policies artificially suppresses dissensus and contestations. Swyngedouw convincingly outlines that the discursive coalition in which neutral scientific facts support the people’s demands is inherently reactionary because it leaves no space for alternative narratives to the status-quo. Regarding Thunberg’s discourse, he emphasizes that the determinism of scientific knowledge paves the way for a technocratic governance that threatens democracy.[83] Second, her post-political populist rhetoric shifts the contestation from the political into the moral sphere in which every diverging opinion is deemed unreasonable. Importantly, Mouffe articulates that even the artificial strive for depoliticization cannot cancel out the inherent antagonisms of society.[84] The anti-pluralistic suppression of dissensus, instead, results in radical outbursts, such as the thriving right-wing populism, that make fruitful climate politics infeasible. In short, the analysis of Thunberg’s public speeches reveals the liaison between populism and depoliticization. Thereby, populism functions as a discursive style to articulate the depoliticizing demands. The resulting narrative undermines political debate and reinforces polarization. Thus, Thunberg’s discourse potentially undermines democracy’s foundation and constitutes an obstacle to tackle climate change effectively.


Dominik Schmidt is a recent graduate of the bachelor program European Studies in Maastricht. This contribution is based on his bachelor thesis that he has written in the course of the university’s MaRBLe program “Democracy and Resentment.” It was supervised by Professor Sjaak Koenis.



[1]Mudde, Cas. “The populist zeitgeist.” Government and opposition 39, no. 4 (2004): 542.

[2] Swyngedouw, Erik. “Apocalypse forever?.” Theory, culture & society 27, no. 2-3 (2010): 213.

[3] John Flowerdew and John E. Richards, The Routledge Handbook of critical discourse studies (New York: Routledge, 2017).

[4] Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer, Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis (London: Sage, 2009).

[5] Sengul, Kurt. “Critical discourse analysis in political communication research: a case study of right-wing populist discourse in Australia.” Communication Research and Practice 5, no. 4 (2019): 376-392.

[6] Mudde, Cas. “Populism: An Ideational Approach.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo and Pierre Ostiguy, 27-47. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Oliver Marchart, Post-foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau. Edingburgh (Edinburgh University Press, 2007).

[9] Chantal Mouffe, The Democratic Paradox (London: Verso, 2000), 105.

[10] Jacques Rancière, Disagreement (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 102.

[11] Evensen, Darrick. “The rhetorical limitations of the# FridaysForFuture movement.” Nature Climate Change 9, no. 6 (2019): 428-430.

[12] Demeritt, David. “The construction of global warming and the politics of science.” Annals of the association of American geographers 91, no. 2 (2001): 307-337; Mike Hulme, Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Rothe, Delf. “Managing climate risks or risking a managerial climate: State, security and governance in the international climate regime.” International Relations 25, no. 3 (2011): 330-345.

[13] Swyngedouw, Erik. “Apocalypse forever?.” Theory, culture & society 27, no. 2-3 (2010): 213-232.

[14] Kenis, Anneleen. “Post-politics contested: Why multiple voices on climate change do not equal politicisation.” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 37, no. 5 (2019): 831-848.

[15] Erik Swyngedouw, Promises of the Political: Insurgent Cities in a Post-Political Environment (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2018), 218.

[16] Amanda Machin, Negotiating Climate Change: Radical Democracy and the Illusion of Consensus (London: Zed Books Limited, 2013).

[17] Calhoun, Craig. “A world of emergencies: Fear, intervention, and the limits of cosmopolitan order.” Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie 41, no. 4 (2004): 373-395.

[18] Kenis, Anneleen, and Matthias Lievens. “Searching for ‘the political’in environmental politics.” Environmental Politics 23, no. 4 (2014): 531-548.

[19] Goeminne, Gert. “Lost in translation: Climate denial and the return of the political.” Global Environmental Politics 12, no. 2 (2012): 1-8; Weisser, Florian, and Detlef Müller‐Mahn. “No place for the political: Micro‐geographies of the Paris Climate Conference 2015.” Antipode 49, no. 3 (2017): 802-820; Žižek, Slavoj. “Against the populist temptation.” Critical inquiry 32, no. 3 (2006): 551-574.

[20] Anthony Giddens, The Politics of Climate Change: National Responses to Challenge of Global Warming (London: Policy Network, 2008).

[21] Machin, Negotiating Climate Change: Radical Democracy and the Illusion of Consensus, 89; Machin, Amanda. “Democracy, disagreement, disruption: agonism and the environmental state.” Environmental Politics 29, no. 1 (2020): 155-172.

[22] Rucht, Dieter. “Faszinosum Fridays for Future.” [Fascination Fridays For Future] Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 69, no. 47/48 (2019): 4-9; Elisabeth Braw, “2020 for the Future,” Foreign Policy, December 30, 2020, Jung, Jieun, Peter Petkanic, Dongyan Nan, and Jang Hyun Kim. “When a girl awakened the world: A user and social message analysis of greta thunberg.” Sustainability 12, no. 7 (2020): 1.

[23] Mattheis, Nikolas. “Unruly kids? Conceptualizing and defending youth disobedience.” European Journal of Political Theory no. 1(2020): 19.

[24] Manucci, Luca, and Edward Weber. “Why The Big Picture Matters: Political and Media Populism in Western Europe since the 1970s.” Swiss Political Science Review 23, no. 4 (2017): 313-334.

[25] 350org, “Greta Thunberg at the Global Strike in New York City,” YouTube Video, 9:47, September 20, 2019,

[26] Ibid.

[27] EURACTIV, “Greta Thunberg: “We want politicians to listen to the scientists,” YouTube Video, 8:35, February 21, 2019,

[28] Ibid.

[29] ITV News, “Live: Greta Thunberg in Bristol for climate strike,” YouTube Video, 1:4:17, February 28, 2020,

[30] Jan-Werner Müller, What is Populism? (London: Penguin, 2017), 20; Mudde, “Populism: An Ideational Approach,” 30.

[31] Zulianello, Mattia, and Diego Ceccobelli. “Don’t Call it Climate Populism: On Greta Thunberg’s Technocratic Ecocentrism.” The Political Quarterly 91, no. 3 (2020): 623-631.

[32] Europarl. “Greta Thunberg speech at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg,” April 16, 2019,

[33], “Greta Thunberg at the Global Strike in New York City.”

[34] Ruitenberg, Claudia W. “Political Education in Context: The Promise of More Radical Agonism in 2019.” Philosophy of Education Archive (2020): 562.

[35] ITV News, “Live: Greta Thunberg in Bristol for climate strike.”

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] FFF, “COP24 speech- Greta Thunberg,” YouTube Video, 3:36, December 12, 2018,

[39] CBC News, “Greta Thunberg delivers speech at Vancouver climate change rally,” YouTube Video, 11:11, October 25, 2019,

[40] EURACTIV, “Greta Thunberg: “We want politicians to listen to the scientists.”

[41] Ibid.

[42] CBC News, “Greta Thunberg delivers speech at Vancouver climate change rally.”

[43] CBC News, “Greta Thunberg delivers speech at Montreal climate change rally,” YouTube Video, 16:08, September 27, 2019,

[44] ITV News, “Live: Greta Thunberg in Bristol for climate strike.”

[45] FFF, “COP24 speech- Greta Thunberg.”

[46] Swyngedouw, “Apocalypse forever?,” 213.

[47]Ruitenberg, Political Education in Context: The Promise of More Radical Agonism in 2019,” 562.

[48] FFF, “Our house is on fire- Greta Thunberg,” YouTube Video, 6:03, January 22, 2019,

[49] Europarl. “Greta Thunberg speech at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.”

[50] Swyngedouw, “Apocalypse forever?,” 210.

[51] FFF, “Our house is on fire- Greta Thunberg.”

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Kenis, “Post-politics contested: Why multiple voices on climate change do not equal politicisation.”; Swyngedouw, Erik. “The apocalypse is disappointing”: the depoliticized deadlock of the climate change consensus.” Unpublished manuscript.

[55] FFF, “Our house is on fire- Greta Thunberg.”

[56] Kvamme, Ole Andreas. “School Strikes, Environmental Ethical Values, and Democracy.” Studier i Pædagogisk Filosofi 8, no. 1 (2019): 21.

[57] von Wehrden, Henrik, Lydia Kater-Wettstädt, and Uwe Schneidewind. “Fridays for Future aus nachhaltigkeitswissenschaftlicher Perspektive.” [Fridays for Future from a sustainability science perspective] GAIA-Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 28, no. 3 (2019): 307-309.

[58] Carvalho, Anabela. “The discursive politics of climate change: risk, power and opportunities for democratization.” In Proceedings of the SRA-E-Iberian Chapter (SRA-E-I) Conference. Interdisciplinarity in practice and in research on society and the environment: Joint paths towards risk analysis, edited by María Amérigo, Juan A. García; Rui Gaspar and Sílvia Luís, 39–44. Toledo: Ediciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2019.

[59] Carvalho, “The discursive politics of climate change: risk, power and opportunities for democratization,” 41.

[60] FFF, “Our house is on fire- Greta Thunberg.”

[61] EURACTIV, “Greta Thunberg: “We want politicians to listen to the scientists.”

[62] Hulme, Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity, 334.

[63] Evensen, Darrick, “The rhetorical limitations of the# FridaysForFuture movement,” 428-430.

[64] Europarl. “Greta Thunberg speech at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.”

[65] Pepermans, Yves, and Pieter Maeseele. “The politicization of climate change: problem or solution?.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 7, no. 4 (2016): 481; Warren, Matthew. “Thousands of scientists are backing the kids striking for climate change.” Nature 567, no. 7748 (2019): 291-293.

[66] Wynne, Brian. “Strange weather, again.” Theory, Culture & Society 27, no. 2-3 (2010): 289-305.

[67] Goeminne, “Lost in translation: Climate denial and the return of the political.”, 6.

[68] CBC News, “Greta Thunberg delivers speech at Montreal climate change rally.”

[69] EURACTIV, “Greta Thunberg: “We want politicians to listen to the scientists.”

[70] CBC News, “Greta Thunberg delivers speech at Montreal climate change rally.”

[71] Mark Beeson, Environmental Populism: The Politics of Survival in the Anthropocene. (Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); Ruitenberg, Political Education in Context: The Promise of More Radical Agonism in 2019,” 562; Stephen Buranyi, ” Greta Thunberg’s enemies are right to be scared. Her new political allies should be too,” The Guardian, September 30, 2019 ;

[72] Zulianello, Mattia, and Diego Ceccobelli. “Don’t Call it Climate Populism: On Greta Thunberg’s Technocratic Ecocentrism,” 623-631.

[73]Abts, Koen, and Stefan Rummens. “Populism versus democracy.” Political studies 55, no. 2 (2007): 405-424; Müller, What is Populism?. 103; Urbinati, Nadia. “Democracy and populism.” Constellations 5, no. 1 (1998): 110-124.

[74] Rummens, Stefan. “Populism as a threat to liberal democracy.” In The Oxford Handbook of Populism, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser, Paul Taggart, Paulina Ochoa Espejo and Pierre Ostiguy, 554-570. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, 554.

[75] Arditi, Benjamin. “Populism, or, politics at the edges of democracy.” Contemporary Politics 9, no. 1 (2003): 17-31; Canovan, Margaret. “Trust the people! Populism and the two faces of democracy.” Political studies 47, no. 1 (1999): 2-16.

[76] Ernesto Laclau, On Populist Reason (London: Verso, 2005); Chantal Mouffe, For a Left Populism (London: Verso, 2018), 24.

[77] Cas Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser, Populism: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 7.

[78] Mouffe, For a Left Populism, 10-11.

[79] Pepermans and Maeseele. “The politicization of climate change: problem or solution?,” 481.

[80] Goeminne, “Lost in translation: Climate denial and the return of the political.”; Mouffe, For a Left Populism; 25-37; Hulme, Why We Disagree about Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity, 334.

[81] Machin, Negotiating Climate Change: Radical Democracy and the Illusion of Consensus, 89.

[82] Ibid.

[83] Erik Swyngedouw, Klimaatactie in gele hesjes: de postpolitieke impasse van de klimaatconsensus [Climate action in yellow hoodies: the post-political deadlock of the climate consensus] (VUBPRESS: Brussels, 2020), 50.

[84] Mouffe, For a Left Populism, 87-93.


Photo: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg demonstrating in Stockholm | Shutterstock
Published on November 10, 2020.


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