Climate change has in general been seen as a crisis looming in the future, and has therefore not reached the top of the political agenda. This no longer holds true when looking at Australia, where climate change has become high‐politics. In this paper I examine the Australian electoral debate in terms of "responsibility framing", where the Government and Opposition were involved in a "frame game" of framing and counter‐framing climate change and related issues. The findings show how former PM John Howard repositioned himself as a ́climate change realist` and tried to de‐politicize climate change by avoiding its coupling to the current drought. Howard portrayed Australia as a special case, which has to respond to the climate change challenge in a ́realistic ́ way that does not damage the economy. The Opposition, meanwhile, laid responsibility for the drought (which they understand as being related to climate change) on the Government that they labeled as “skeptical” on issues related to climate change. The theoretical aim of the paper is to elaborate on the concept of responsibility framing in relation to climate change induced crises. The elaboration of the concept will be done by drawing upon Ulrich Beck’s ́ notion of "second modernity".

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Global problem ‐ National responsibility
Framing responsibility in the Australian context of climate change

Eva‐Karin Olsson   Departement of Journalism, Media and Communication

Climate change has in general been seen as a crisis looming in the future, and has therefore not reached the top of the political agenda. This no longer holds true when looking at Australia, where climate change has become high‐politics. In this paper I examine the Australian electoral debate in terms of "responsibility framing", where the Government and Opposition were involved in a "frame game" of framing and counter‐framing climate change and related issues. The findings show how former PM John Howard repositioned himself as a ́climate change realist` and tried to de‐politicize climate change by avoiding its coupling to the current drought. Howard portrayed Australia as a special case, which has to respond to the climate change challenge in a ́realistic ́ way that does not damage the economy. The Opposition, meanwhile, laid responsibility for the drought (which they understand as being related to climate change) on the Government that they labeled as “skeptical” on issues related to climate change. The theoretical aim of the paper is to elaborate on the concept of responsibility framing in relation to climate change induced crises. The elaboration of the concept will be done by drawing upon Ulrich Beck’s ́ notion of "second modernity".

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

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