The “Live Earth” concerts promoted by Al Gore have been found to produce more carbon dioxide than 3,000 U.K. residents would produce in a year. The concert was compared to a hog roast by The Guardian, and the performers flew a combined total of 222,000 miles. Moreover, many attendees traveled by other means of transportation. The hypocrisy of environmentalists extends to celebrities, too.
Climate change hypocrisy discourse
To understand climate change hypocrisy discourse is to explore its dual modes. The most common examples of hypocrisy discourse employ individualizing registers and conservative perspectives to challenge the collective political response to climate change. Moreover, hypocrisy discourse often plays up the moral importance of individual responsibility and dismisses the role of collective practices. Here is how climate change hypocrisy discourse can be useful for political activism.
The defining characteristics of climate change hypocrisy are ambiguous. Some have suggested that the term refers to the difference between a progressive and a conservative political philosophy. In either case, the concept is used in a targeted manner. For instance, progressive accounts tend to single out specific politicians and policies, while conservative commentators tend to use the term to describe hypocrisy as a generalized characteristic of all individuals.
Another example is Prince Harry’s comments about climate change. He has been accused of being a hypocrite for flying 150,000 miles, which is more than one hundred times the average commercial flight. He has been linked to numerous climate-change denial, which further undermines his credibility. The New York Post ripped into him after he made his remarks. In addition to this, the newspaper has reported that the prince had recently visited California and he probably was directly involved in bombing.
Al Gore has also been accused of climate change hypocrisy. His mansion has a utility bill 20 times greater than the average home. His pool could heat 14 average homes. In addition, he has been disparaging high-emission countries for decades. His latest move was to sell his failed Current TV network to Qatari-owned Al Jazeera. He’s a hypocrite whose hypocrisy is well documented.
Celebrities’ lifestyles contradict their activism
The media have used celebrities as pawns to promote their climate-change alarmist agenda while ignoring the hypocrisy in their own actions. This report doesn’t focus on every hypocrite in the celebrity community, but rather on 12 celebrities whose lifestyles conflict with their environmentalist activism. The media interviewed these celebrities 25 times in the last six months of 2014, with NBC and ABC giving them glowing coverage as “champions of climate change.”
In his recent article, Michael Kerns positioned Keanu Reeves as the ‘antithesis of conventional eco-celebrity’. Kerns fails to note Reeves’ motorcycle fetish and the fact that Hollywood is a base for many celebrities’ lifestyles. Despite this, the article provides a useful illustration of the complex mechanisms at play in the redirection of text in today’s media landscape.
Although a few celebrities do make an effort to change their lifestyles, it’s hard to know who’s actually making a difference. Some are more outspoken than others. Leonardo DiCaprio, for instance, has an environmental-friendly Twitter account, while actor Ian Somerhalder has an affluent, privileged life. However, in spite of his activism, Somerhalder’s lifestyle contradicts his environmental activism.
Conservative hypocrisy discourse
The accusations of hypocrisy against climate change advocates are a staple of the climate change discourse. Conservative critics seek to undermine the credibility of climate change activists by pointing out their consumption habits and lifestyle hypocrisy. The accusation of hypocrisy can be used to discredit environmentalists, but it is also a useful ruse to derail debates. In this piece, I will outline some examples of hypocrisy.
Various scholars have noted the rhetorical power of climate hypocrisy. However, there is no systematic study of this rhetorical tactic. In Fairclough’s 2010 article, he identified four distinct forms of climate hypocrisy. These four types of climate hypocrisy serve different purposes for conservative environmentalists. We will analyze two of these rhetorical modes in order to examine the ways in which climate hypocrisy is used by conservative environmentalists.
Conservative environmentalists have also used hypocrisy to undermine climate change action. Conservatives have long favored hypocrisy accusations to expose the political class’s extravagant air travel and lifestyle choices. This is a particularly pernicious form of hypocrisy. Moreover, hypocrisy discourse also fosters the idea of personal culpability, which is a key goal of progressives.
For example, the conservatives’ criticism of Greta Thunberg is based on stereotypes and misogyny. Greta Thunberg, a young climate activist, doesn’t eat meat or fly, yet conservatives denounce her followers by calling her mentally ill. Further, conservative commentator Michael Knowles called the young climate activist in Edmonton a “mental cult.”
A new study comparing the climate change discourses of three national newspapers from four countries highlights the differences and similarities between conservative and progressive environmentalists. It finds that both sides have similar hypocrisy in climate change coverage. The authors chose a representative sample of twelve newspapers in four countries. Three newspapers were chosen for each region according to the frequency of climate hypocrisy. These papers were selected based on a keyword search using Factiva. They coded 824 items for the analysis.
One prominent conservative attack strategy targets Al Gore, the former United Nations climate summit. The UK government has leveraged the COP26 summit for chauvinistic rhetoric, and treated the event as a platform to assert “world leader” status. In addition, the former prime minister Theresa May is planning a festival in Glasgow, rumoured to be an eco-jamboree for climate boosters.
Progressive hypocrisy discourse
The progressive hypocrisy discourse of environmentalists is often defined as the incommensurability of political ideology and individual agency. The progressive hypocrisy discourse of environmentalists has a variety of examples and nuances, and it may be important to understand its different varieties to better understand its repercussions on public policy and debate. Here we will consider some of the most well-known examples.
The most famous examples of lifestyle hypocrisy can be found in environmentalists’ discourse. They argue that the Keystone Pipeline is necessary for climate change mitigation, yet they approve of massive carbon emissions. But, these environmentalists are not only unable to resist the pressure of their wealthy donors, they are actually enjoying a level of immunity from the laws that they seek to pass on to society. So, in this case, the progressive hypocrisy discourse of environmentalists can be defined as a mishmash of liberal ideals.
During recent years, we have seen an organized right-wing movement use green language to attack immigrants. These groups say that immigration causes environmental degradation, by contributing to the urban sprawl, water shortage, forest loss, and greenhouse gas emissions. They blame immigrants for the pollution caused by their lifestyle, and that they should stay in poorer countries. Yet, immigrants are the ones who are most likely to contribute to these environmental problems. This charade is a sign of progressive hypocrisy, and it should not be ignored.
In the meantime, the progressive hypocrisy discourse of environmentalists has also been characterized by the utter lack of concern for human well-being. The progressive hypocrisy discourse of environmentalists, by contrast, does not consider the economic situation of the poorest people, who choose electricity over clean air. In other words, the green agenda of environmentalism does not make sense when it is rooted in class analysis.