Who Speaks for the Climate?: Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change

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Overview

The public rely upon media representations to help interpret and make sense of the many complexities relating to climate science and governance. Media representations of climate issues – from news to entertainment – are powerful and important links between people's everyday realities and experiences, and the ways in which they are discussed by scientists, policymakers and public actors. A dynamic mix of influences – from internal workings of mass media such as journalistic norms, to external political, economic, cultural and social factors – shape what becomes a climate 'story'. Providing a bridge between academic considerations and real world developments, this book helps students, academic researchers and interested members of the public make sense of media reporting on climate change as it explores 'who speaks for climate' and what effects this may have on the spectrum of possible responses to contemporary climate challenges.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an important book for those trying to understand the conversation of democracy."
Former Vice President Al Gore, Chairman of The Climate Reality Project

“People’s understandings of climate change are shaped more by the media and their cacophony of voices than they are by the systematic enquiries and endeavours of climate scientists. Boykoff’s Who Speaks for the Climate? arrives just at the right time to offer you the authoritative guide to how climate change is made, affirmed and denied in print, broadcast, internet or new social media.”
Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

“Maxwell T. Boykoff’s penetrating research into how the media cover, and too often poorly cover, what many consider to be ‘the story of the century’ reveals new insights into this ever-changing, and ever-concerning, field of social endeavour. You’ll go through more than a few yellow highlighters marking key points and passages. And over time you’ll find this among your most seriously dog-eared resources on media, climate change, the clash of journalism and science cultures…and the way out of it all.”
Bud Ward, Editor, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media

“Built on a decade of diligent and constructive research at the climate science – media – society join, Boykoff's book makes a major contribution to some critical questions. With a generous tone and inviting style the reader gains a body of key insights on this vital topic. But this is more than clear analysis: it also serves as a guide to action.”
Joe Smith, Senior Lecturer in Environment, The Open University

“Some day, when we will write the obituary for this period of human history, society’s response to climate change, we will need to account for the role of the media in it. This book – pulling together in one place Boykoff’s path-breaking work on this subject – answers how the mass media have spoken about climate, and who speaks through them, shaping the cultural politics of discourse on one of the most challenging environmental crises humanity has ever faced. So, who speaks for media reporting on climate, and does so from a deeply informed, critical perspective? Maxwell T. Boykoff.”
Susanne C. Moser, Research Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University and Director, Susanne Moser Research and Consulting

“Max Boykoff is the leading researcher and critical voice on the media and climate change. His work is accessible, reaching politicians and journalists as well as academics, and this book provides a benchmark in the increasingly urgent and significant field of environmental communication on issues of climate and global change.”
Diana Liverman, Professor of Geography and Development and Co-Director of the Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona

“Readers unfamiliar with Boykoff’s extensive body of work in this field will find this book a useful introduction to the topic; those already familiar with it will find that these pages provide a convenient compilation and elaboration on that research. Either way, this is a fast and easily digestible read that will amply reward page turners.”
Bud Ward, Nature Climate Change

“In Who Speaks for the Climate? Making Sense of Media Reporting on Climate Change, author Maxwell T. Boykoff looks at the broad intersection where journalistic practices and the political, cultural, and economic currents of the moment meet to shape the way we view our world. Boykoff starts with a survey of the historical roots of climate coverage in the media, revealing how early those influences began to sway the interpretation of seemingly factual accounts. On hot-button topics, like human contributions to climate change, he reveals the ongoing struggles between narrative control and accuracy. The book provides tools for students, researchers, and everyone seeking to uncover “the real story” on a dynamic, vitally important topic.”
Sustainability

"In Who Speaks for the Climate?, Max Boykoff discusses many issues surrounding the coverage of climate change, including this question of framing the debate … in a dense, research-packed book, suitable for the classroom."
Natural Hazards Observer

Juliet Eilperin
…Boykoff provides a helpful overview of how reporting on global warming has evolved as the scientific consensus has solidified, and why informed coverage matters…He also helps explain why the climate-change debates are so intense.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521133050
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Maxwell T. Boykoff is an Assistant Professor in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He teaches in the Environmental Studies program and is Adjunct Faculty in the Geography department. In addition, he is a Senior Visiting Research Associate in the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Max has ongoing interests in climate adaptation, cultural politics and environmental governance, science-policy interactions, and political economy and the environment. His research has been mentioned in a range of outlets such as Science, Nature, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Grist, Utne Reader, La Rázon (Spain) and National Public Radio (US).

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Table of Contents

1. The world stage: cultural politics and climate change; 2. Roots and culture: exploring media coverage of climate change through history; 3. Fight semantic drift: confronting issue conflation; 4. Placing climate complexity in context; 5. Climate stories: how journalistic norms shape media content; 6. Signals and noise: covering human contributions to climate change; 7. Carbonundrums: media consumption in the public sphere; 8. A light in the attic? Ongoing media representations of climate change.

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