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Climate Change and the Media

Volume 2


Edited By Benedetta Brevini and Justin Lewis

It is now more than a quarter of a century since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published their first comprehensive report on the dangers posed by anthropogenic global warming. Over the last twenty-five years the weight of evidence about the causes and consequences of climate change has become compelling. The solutions are fairly simple—we must switch to more sustainable and efficient forms of energy production. And yet they remain elusive—globally we produce significantly more greenhouse gases now than we did back in 1990. The sad truth is that this inaction has made climate change inevitable—the only question that remains is whether we can prevent it spiraling out of control.

How do we explain this colossal global failure? The problem is political rather than scientific: we know the risks and we know how to address them, but we lack the political will to do so. The media are pivotal in this equation: they have the power to set the public and the political agenda. Climate Change and the Media, Volume 2 gathers contributions from a range of international scholars to explore the media’s role in our understanding of the problem and our willingness to take action. Combined, these chapters explain how and why media coverage has, to date, fallen short in communicating both the science and the politics of climate change. They also offer guidance about how the media might shift from being the problem to becoming part of the solution.

Benedetta Brevini is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Sydney and Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism at City University, London. Dr Brevini is also an experienced journalist who has worked in Milan, New York and London for CNBC and RAI. She writes on The Guardian’s Comment Is Free and contributes to a number of print and web publications including the Index of Censorship and OpenDemocracy and the Conversation. She is the author of Public Service Broadcasting Online (2013) and editor of the acclaimed volume Beyond Wikileaks (2013). Her latest book is Carbon Capitalism and Communication: Confronting Climate Crisis (2017).

Justin Lewis is Professor of Communication at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, and Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He has written widely about media, culture and politics. His books, since 2000, include Constructing Public Opinion (2001), Citizens or Consumers: What the Media Tell Us About Political Participation (2005), Shoot First and Ask Questions Later: Media Coverage of the War in Iraq (2006), Climate Change and the Media (2009) and The World of 24 Hour News (2010). His latest book is Beyond Consumer Capitalism: Media and the Limits to Imagination (2013). He has also written books on media audiences, cultural policy and media and race.