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Robert J. Brulle

Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Environmental Science, Department of Culture and Communications, Drexel University

About Robert

Brulle’s research focuses on the interactions between civil society, social movements and the natural environment. His signature work, Agency, Democracy, and Nature (2000), studies the social causes of environmental degradation and the political actions necessary to deal with it. He also investigates the political and cultural dynamics of climate change.


Partisan Battles and Shifting Public Opinion on Climate Change

  • J. Craig Jenkins

In the News

Robert J. Brulle quoted on scientific facts negated by ideological rhetoric and bogus COVID-19 cures by Amanda Terkel, "GOP Climate Change Denial Set the Stage for Trump’s Coronavirus Conspiracies" The Huffpost, July 27, 2020.
Robert J. Brulle's research on oil industry's advertising spending discussed by Amy Westervelt, "Why Are ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ Producing Ads for Big Oil?," The Nation, April 22, 2019.
Robert J. Brulle's research on climate lobbying discussed by Josh Gabbatiss, "Major Polluters Spend 10 Times as Much on Climate Lobbying as Green Groups, Study Finds," The Independent, July 19, 2018.
Robert J. Brulle quoted on the climate change movement by Amy Harder, "Climate Change as a Flawed Social Movement" Axios, April 25, 2018.
Robert J. Brulle quoted by Zahra Hirji, "These Conservative Megadonors Funded Climate Denial in 2016, Tax Filings Show" Buzzfeed News, January 25, 2018.
Robert J. Brulle quoted on public charities serving as so-called independent think tanks to influence the debate about climate change by Robert O'Harrow Jr., "A Two-Decade Crusade by Conservative Charities Fueled Trump’s Exit from Paris Climate Accord" The Washington Post, September 5, 2017.
Robert J. Brulle quoted on climate change by Sean McElwee, "Moneyed Interests are Blocking U.S. Action on Climate Change" Al Jazeera America, February 8, 2016.
Guest to discuss the Paris climate talks on WHYY Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, Robert J. Brulle, December 14, 2015.
Robert J. Brulle quoted on the Pope's encyclical by Alex McKechnie, "Debating the Pope: Social Scientists Engage Pope's Call for Climate Change Dialogue in Top Journal" Drexel Now, September 24, 2015.
"Climate Change's Overlooked Sociological Side," Robert J. Brulle, Interview with Jan Ellen Spiegel, Inside Climate News, August 25, 2015.
Robert J. Brulle's research on social scientists and climate change (with Riley E. Dunlap) discussed by "New Book Argues That Social Sciences are Critical to Climate Conversation: Climate Change is a 'People Problem'," Drexel NOW, August 20, 2015.
Robert J. Brulle's research on the secretive campaign to deny climate change discussed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, "The Climate Denial Beast (Speech to the U.S. Senate)," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Speech on the Senate Floor, February 4, 2014.
Robert J. Brulle's research on financing for the climate change denial movement discussed by George Zornick, "The Dark Money in Climate Change," The Washington Post, December 27, 2013.
Guest to discuss climate change and global warming deniers and their growing social movement on CBS's Frontline, Robert J. Brulle, October 23, 2012.
"Inside the Climate Change 'Countermovement'," Robert J. Brulle, Frontline, October 23, 2012.
Robert J. Brulle's research on public opinion and climate change discussed by Scott K. Johnson, "Americans Listening to Politicians, Not Climate Scientists," Wired Science, February 27, 2012.
Robert J. Brulle quoted on the ecoAmerica campaign media manipulation of information about climate change, "Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus" New York Times, May 1, 2009.
Robert J. Brulle quoted on Fred Krupp and corporate environmentalism, "The Devil's Advocate: Is Fred Krupp an Environmental Savior or a Corporate Stooge?" The New Republic, September 24, 2007.


"Institutionalizing Delay: Foundation Funding and the Creation of U.S. Climate Change Counter-Movement Organizations" Climatic Change (December 2013).
Conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement in the United States, and finds that the overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.
"Human Behavior and Sustainability" (with Joern Fischer, Robert Dyball, Ioan Fazey, Stephen Dovers, Paul R. Ehrlich, Catherine Gross, Carleton Christensen, and Richard J. Borden). Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10, no. 3 (2012): 153-160.
Develops an integrated perspective on the different levels and types of actions necessary to enable the creation of a sustainable society.
"Shifting Public Opinion on Climate Change; An Empirical Assessment of Factors Influencing Concern over Climate Change in the U.S." (with Jason Carmichael and J. Craig Jenkins). Climatic Change (January 2012).

Develops and tests a model of the factors that influence public opinion on climate change in the U.S. over time.

"From Environmental Campaigns to Advancing the Public Dialogue: Environmental Communication for Civic Engagement" Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 4, no. 1 (2010): 82-98.
Critiques existing environmental communications strategies, and lays out an alternative approach that integrates communications efforts into a larger effort to foster social change.
"Environmental Justice: Human Health and Environmental Inequalities" (with David Pellow). Annual Review of Public Health 27 (2006): 103-124.
Provides an overview of the social factors that drive environmental inequality, and how the climate justice movement has developed to address this issue.
Power, Justice and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (with David Pellow) (MIT Press, 2005).
This collection of essays develops a critical environmental justice perspective that seeks to foster reflexivity within the environmental justice movement.
Agency, Democracy, and Nature: U.S. Environmental Movements from a Critical Theory Perspective (MIT Press, 2000).
Analyzes the social causes of environmental degradation and the political actions necessary to deal with it. Develops both a pragmatic and a moral argument for broad-based democratization of society as a prerequisite to achieving ecological sustainability.