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From denial to delay: Climate change discourses in Ireland

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Climate change is acknowledged as a pressing – even existential – problem for societies around the world. Despite the growing body of scientific evidence concerning the extent and impacts of climate change, meaningful policy responses have not been forthcoming. Actors and organisations intent on preventing or diluting policies around climate action have adapted their discursive strategies, moving from outright denial of the reality of climate change to focus on discourses of distraction and delay. Taking the case of parliamentary debates and media coverage of the 2021 Climate Action Bill, this research examines the extent to which these discourses are prevalent in Ireland. We find that discourses of delay were present, both in Dáil debates and in the media. We discuss the influence of these discourses on later interventions which affected the implementation of provisions of the Bill and may delay transformative climate action.