Confused at the variety of politicians, activists, and op-ed authors working climate change into their agendas? It might be helpful to classify them for further study. Prometheus editor Roger Pielke Jr. is drafting a field guide, beginning with this initial Taxonomy of Climate Politics.
A few species:
Scientizers. This large and diverse group actively works to frame the climate issue as a scientific debate under the expectation that if you win the scientific debate then your political agenda will necessarily follow...[A] great irony is that the Scientizers have different political views but share the expectation that science is the appropriate battleground for this debate, and have together thus far successfully kept the focus of attention on the climate science rather than policy and politics.
International Relations Free Riders...see the Kyoto Protocol as an extension of recent tensions between the U.S. and Europe, in particular, and have more concern with multilateralism than climate per se...includes the U.S. neoconservatives and their opponents.
Those Who Suffer Climate Impacts...an extremely large group of people (and species, ecosystems, etc.) that actually experience the effects of climate in their everyday lives. Too often they are used as symbols (or as potential material witnesses in lawsuits) by one of the groups listed above without real concern for their plight. The hundred of millions of people who suffer the impacts of climate have a real political stake in climate policies and with a few notable exceptions (e.g., see the 2002 Dehli Declaration) have little voice in how climate policy is evolving.