In the United States and Australia there is a deep partisan divide regarding the reality, causes and potential impacts of climate change. Progressives tend to accept the scientific consensus and the need for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while conservatives tend to reject the evidence of anthropogenic global warming and the need for government intervention. This right vs. left ideological conflict has been played out in the news media in Australia, with the country’s major newspapers among the most high profile participants in the latest “culture war”. As the scientific consensus on climate change strengthened, some Australian news media became the public arena in which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the scientific consensus were contested and criticised. This paper reports the results of a Critical Discourse Analysis of news coverage of the IPCC in two newspapers, The Australian (conservative) and The Sydney Morning Herald (progressive), during 1996- 2010. This paper asks how ideology influenced their coverage of the IPCC and climate science. The study includes news stories, feature articles, science and environmental reports, editorials, opinion pieces and letters to the editor.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

From experts to exiles
Portrayals of the ipcc and the scientific consensus on climate change in the australian news media

Elaine McKewon   University of Technology

In the United States and Australia there is a deep partisan divide regarding the reality, causes and potential impacts of climate change. Progressives tend to accept the scientific consensus and the need for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while conservatives tend to reject the evidence of anthropogenic global warming and the need for government intervention. This right vs. left ideological conflict has been played out in the news media in Australia, with the country’s major newspapers among the most high profile participants in the latest “culture war”. As the scientific consensus on climate change strengthened, some Australian news media became the public arena in which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the scientific consensus were contested and criticised. This paper reports the results of a Critical Discourse Analysis of news coverage of the IPCC in two newspapers, The Australian (conservative) and The Sydney Morning Herald (progressive), during 1996- 2010. This paper asks how ideology influenced their coverage of the IPCC and climate science. The study includes news stories, feature articles, science and environmental reports, editorials, opinion pieces and letters to the editor.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP