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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.

Climate Change and the Media offers a timely and important contribution to current understandings of the role of media communication and practice in shaping the parameters of public and policy engagement on climate change. Providing a significant expansion on its first edition in 2009, this collection critically examines media frames and media practices within and across developed and developing countries, whilst also focusing much needed attention upon the significant role of imagery in media communication on climate change. Including established and emerging scholars, Climate Change and the Media illustrates the critical advances made within climate communication scholarship over the last decade. Yet these developments take place against a global political landscape that is consistently failing to put climate mitigation and adaptation into practice. This collection thus also highlights an urgent need in mediated communication on climate change: opportunities for audiences to discuss how to live ethically within, and contribute responsibly towards, climate-changed societies.”—Julie Doyle, Professor of Media and Communication, University of Brighton

“This volume is an immensely valuable appraisal of media treatments of climate change issues in 2018. Ten years from its initial foray, editors Benedetta Brevini and Justin Lewis have pulled in top scholars to interrogate how climate change is represented and refracted through critical themes associated with media representational practices in the 21st century. From material issues of coal and mining in Australia to historical pollution from media outlets themselves emanating from Europe, this volume provides insights that move these considerations forward on what to do in the face of climate change challenges in contemporary times. From discursive concerns regarding post-truth logics bubbling up through media globally to the reproduction of narratives in local Brazilian outlets, this book is a great set of analyses that helps advance our understanding of how depictions of climate change in the media shape public considerations. I highly rate and recommend this book for those who seeks to make sense of how media coverage of climate change shapes perspectives and actions in the public sphere.”—Max Boykoff, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder; Deputy Editor, Climatic Change