The last decade has been pivotal in terms of putting climate change on the agenda – not just in politics and the media but also in the cultural sphere and in the lives of our communities. The tone of the debate, the narratives, and even the language we use to describe climate change have also shifted significantly – there is now better understanding, broader consensus, and a greater sense of urgency than ever before. Yet at the same time we see this colossal challenge of our age is far from being solved, and there seems to be a growing disconnect between public awareness and substantive change at a political level.

How has the debate on climate shifted over the past 10 years? And how can environmental activists, climate scientists, and green policy-makers learn from, and build on, experience to formulate compelling and empowering climate narratives for the future?

In parallel with the Journal’s Ten Years of Change event series, we’re looking back through our archives at some of the ideas and perspectives that can help us make sense of the political developments taking place today. This reading list looks at some of the key ideas, milestones, and debates regarding climate discourse in recent years. From inclusion and representation, to evolving language and terminology, new conceptions of justice and how to sustain hope for the future.

Articles in this focus

Barred from the Climate Conversation

How Europe’s visa regime ensures the exclusion of Global South organisers from climate discourse.

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Talking Climate: The Path to COP26

How media coverage of climate issues can shape the outcomes of negotiations.

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Generation Climate Speaks: Politics for a Warming World

The Green European Journal turned to young activists to ask how they envisage political change in this time of climate crisis.

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The Difficult Business of Defining Climate Refugees

Might the term ‘climate refugee’ cause more problems than it solves?

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Rational Hope: Connecting Hard Truth with Climate Solutions

Scientist Katharine Hayhoe discusses her experiences speaking truth to climate denialism and how rational hope must guide the way forward.

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The Politics of Representation in the Climate Movement

The “Greta effect” reveals a great deal about exclusion-inclusion mechanisms in media and discourse. An intersectional approach has more to offer.

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