On climate change skepticism and denial in tourism

C.M. Hall, B. Amelung, S.A. Cohen, E Eijgelaar, S. Gössling, J.E.S. Higham, R. Leemans, PM Peeters, Y. Ram, D. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The period leading to and immediately after the release of the IPCC's fifth series of climate change assessments saw substantial efforts by climate change denial interests to portray anthropogenic climate change (ACC) as either unproven theory or a negligible contribution to natural climate variability, including the relationship between tourism and climate change. This paper responds to those claims by stressing that the extent of scientific consensus suggests that human-induced warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Second, it responds in the context of tourism research and ACC, highlighting tourism's significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as climate change's potential impacts on tourism at different scales. The paper exposes the tactics used in ACC denial papers to question climate change science by referring to non-peer-reviewed literature, outlier studies, and misinterpretation of research, as well as potential links to think tanks and interest groups. The paper concludes that climate change science does need to improve its communication strategies but that the world-view of some individuals and interests likely precludes acceptance. The connection between ACC and sustainability illustrates the need for debate on adaptation and mitigation strategies, but that debate needs to be grounded in scientific principles not unsupported skepticism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-25
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • climate change consensus
  • climate change denial
  • climate change mitigation
  • climate models
  • greenhouse gas emissions


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