Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Sage Graham

Committee Member

Sage Graham

Committee Member

Joseph Jones

Committee Member

Evelyn Wright


This study uses a mixed-methods approach to explore how climate change is conceptualized in the politics of the United States from the perspective of Ecolinguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis. I analyzed all the statements and letters issued by the governors and mayors who opposed the American president, Donald Trump, when he announced that he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement that 195 countries around the world signed. The qualitative analysis employs Critical Metaphor Analysis to investigate politicians metaphorical choices made to influence public opinion and influence policies about climate change in the U.S. These types of metaphors reinforce the rhetoric that creates climate change as an ongoing process where politicians construct and hold sociopolitical views through discursive use of metaphor. This is followed by a corpus analysis to investigate the changes in the discourse about climate change in the media before and after Donald Trumps announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement in 2017. The results indicate that climate change is mainly framed as a long-term and threatening problem that policy makers should seriously deal with. This study can guide us to identify which politicians/groups make climate change a top priority. That is, politicians/groups that predominately use metaphors from certain source domains such as Journey, War and Construction on climate change are more concerned about climate change than politicians/groups that use metaphors from domains such as Unfairness and Business. This is because metaphors drawn from the source domains of War, Journey, Cleanliness and Construction emphasize dealing with climate change since they imply calling for action to address this problem. Metaphors drawn from Business, on the other hand, restrain action on climate change since they create excuses for delaying action or even not dealing with this environmental problem. However, it is not only what domain a metaphor is drawn from can determine if a politician/group (using that metaphor) supports or denounces responding to climate change (dealing with the problem as a top priority or not) but also this depends on what the purpose behind using that metaphor is.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest