The Coming Apocalypse

The phenomenon of climate change is one which frequents media discourse on the Australian mediascape. Climate change is presented within the contemporary media as a central theme within local and international narratives of politics, commerce and global order. It is through media constructions and selective discourses that the issue is framed to coincide or at least to appear to, with other socio-political agendas. The presentation of climate change within the media is one with is often fraught with complexities and mystification. This is arguably an intended feature of media portrayals of climate change, as it renders audiences subordinate to knowledge power players, such as media commentators and politicians. The representation of climate change as apocalyptic is another notable characteristic of media portrayals. Media discourse related to climate change often has the effect of the construction of fear in audiences. A fearful audience and as noted above, a subordinated audience, is one which is likely to be more receptive to messages about the issue. This is significant in times of political legislative pushes. Linguistic descriptors are central in this objective in the media, with depictions of the climate change often noting the danger to human subsistence and reduced standards of living in the interim, as well as other descriptions of pending doom and disaster. Climate change is often instituted as a key narrative for the framing of local and international political drivers. An example of which can be drawn from the use of climate change as justification for the commodification of the atmosphere and industrial emissions, as proposed by the Australian government under its Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme. Climate change representations have proven to be a malleable component of media content, which have been shown to transform to complement other contemporaneous political, commercial and social issues on the agenda both locally and internationally.  

 

Hulme, M 2009, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, UK

Cottle, S 2011, Taking Global Crises in the News Seriously: Notes from the Dark side of Globalization, Global Media and Communication, 7: 77

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