Convenient Truths – Mapping climate agendas of right-wing populist parties in Europe

Convenient Truths - Mapping climate agendas of right-wing populist parties in Europe - adelphi
Schaller, Stella and Alexander Carius 2019: Convenient Truths. Mapping climate agendas of right-wing populist parties in Europe. Berlin: adelphi.

Right-wing populist parties won almost a quarter of seats in the European Parliament in the 2019 European elections. They hold seats in eight national governments of EU member states. Both increases the influence of right-wing populists in the European Union and their ability to torpedo climate and energy policy.

Against this backdrop, Stella Schaller and Alexander Carius from adelphi analyse the 21 strongest right-wing populist parties in Europe, their election programmes and statements as well as their voting behaviour. The results display a variety of right-wing populist parties and attitudes towards climate and energy policy, from climate change denialists to conservative environmentalists to constitutional enemies on the extreme right.

Two out of three right-wing populist Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regularly vote against climate and energy policy measures. In Europe's only directly elected body, the European Parliament, half of all votes against resolutions on climate and energy come from the right-wing populist party spectrum.

Seven of the 21 right-wing populist parties analised deny climate change, its anthropogenic causes, and negative consequences. With growing approval ratings, right-wing populist parliamentary groups are gaining more influence through parliamentary participation rights. They gain longer speaking times and financial resources, file motions and chair committees.

In light of growing right-wing populism, the study „Convenient Truths – Mapping climate agendas of right-wing populist parties in Europe” identifies risks and side effects for a future European climate policy, discusses the pros and cons of coalitions of democratic parties with right-wing populists, and calls for a change in climate communication.

The resourceful annex of the study provides individual analyses of central polls and profiles for the 21 parties.