Klimatkompensera mera? : Albert O. Hirschmans teori om reaktioner mot samhällsförändringar tillämpad på den svenska debatten om klimatkompensation

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling

Sammanfattning: By implementing Albert O. Hirschman’s theory about reactions, the purpose of this thesis is to analyse the arguments against carbon offsetting presented in Swedish media. More specifically, I will structure and analyse the counter-arguments I find in the articles about carbon offsetting presented by the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter between October 2019 and January 2020. Hirschman’s theory of the reactionary rhetoric is based on the notion that every social action is followed by a reaction. To illustrate this, Hirschman introduces three types of theses –arguments -deployed by those who oppose a new idea or reform. The three principal arguments Hirschman identifies is the futility thesis, the perversity thesis and the jeopardy thesis. The futility thesis suggests that an action aiming to improve the society in any way won’t have any effect, the perversity thesis claims that the action will result in the opposite outcome of what was intended and the jeopardy thesis implies that the action will result in intolerable consequences in other areas. Hirschman suggests that a debate where any of these theses are present both is a danger for democracy and is likely to result in suffering in other ways as well. In that way, his theory provides a tool for identifying dangerous arguments in order to take a step towards a more democracy friendly discussion. By analysing 85 arguments against carbon offsetting I find that 51 of them easily can be categorized as either one of the theses, while 22 can’t be categorized at all. The remaining 12 arguments can either partly or in full be placed in the model. The majority of the 51 arguments fitting in Hirschman’s model are futility theses, which implies that the Swedish debate in this area largely consists of arguments claiming that carbon offsetting doesn’t make any difference. My conclusion based on Hirschman’s theory and the analysis of the arguments is that the Swedish debate about carbon offsetting unarguably contains signs of the polarized discussion Hirschman claims to be a democratic danger and that both the debate itself and the climate overall probably would benefit from a more nuanced and balanced debate.

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