Department or Program



Scholarship on the intersection between populism and the environment is growing. These works generally describe populist parties as negatively disposed toward the environment. For instance, those parties are seen as promoting climate denial and skepticism, and as resisting pro-environmental policies and partnerships. Scholars have offered three types of explanations to account for such negative positions: structural, ideological, and strategic. While valuable, these works suffer from three important limitations: they predominantly focus on populist parties from Europe, consider only right-wing populist parties, and give little attention to parties with potentially more positive approaches to the environment.

This thesis addresses these limitations by extending the analysis to Latin America and the U.S., left-leaning parties, and parties that adopt broadly pro-environmental agendas. The empirical analysis shows the landscape is significantly more varied than is currently understood. The thesis then argues that, despite the observable variations, populist parties’ environmental agendas are ultimately anchored in their populist rhetoric. They are specifically grounded in three key populist features: people-centricity, nationalism, and anti-elitism. With that in mind, there are considerable variations in how these parties articulate the populist framing of their environmental agendas to fit their distinctive brand of populism. Overall, this thesis advances a fuller understanding of populism and populist parties’ relationship to the environment.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Duina, Francesco

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.