Everyday climate discourses and sustainable tourism

Paul Hanna, Caroline Scarles, Scott Cohen, Matthew Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Debates surrounding the human impact on climate change have, in recent years, proliferated in political, academic, and public rhetoric. Such debates have also played out in the context of tourism research (e.g. extent to which anthropogenic climate change exists; public understanding in relation to climate change and tourism). Taking these debates as its point of departure, whilst also adopting a post-structuralist position, this paper offers a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of comments to an online BBC news article concerning climate change. Our analysis finds three key ways responsibility is mitigated through climate change talk: scepticism towards the scientific evidence surrounding climate change; placing responsibility on the ‘distant other’ through a nationalistic discourse; and presenting CO2 as ‘plant food’. The implications of these ways of thinking about climate change are discussed with a focus on how this translates into action related to the sustainability of tourism behaviours. In doing so, it concludes that a deeper understanding of everyday climate talk is essential if the tourism sector is to move towards more sustainable forms of consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1624-1640
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2016


  • Climate change
  • public understanding
  • Foucauldian discourse analysis
  • post-structuralism
  • environmental inaction


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