The Social Construction of Climate Change: Deconstructing the Climate Change Debate in Australia

Karen F Hytten, University, My, Michael Howes
Since the 1980s there has been a growing recognition of the significant risks associated with climate change. By 2007, the scientific evidence that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions were causing global warming was irrefutable. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Fourth Assessment Report which describes in great detail the biophysical and social impacts of climate change, some of which are already being experienced. Many argue that Australia is particularly vulnerable
more » ... to the impacts of climate change. It is also widely acknowledged that as one of the highest per-capita emitters in the world, Australia has a particular responsibility to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite this, Australia's response to climate change has been largely inadequate, giving rise to a need for research into factors shaping this response. Research has identified the important role that discourses play in shaping perceptions of climate change and responses to the issue. As a complex and intangible issue, climate change needs to be represented through concepts, terms and the communication of scientific knowledge. Thus people's understanding of climate change is mediated by the information available to them, the discourses within which it is embedded, and the ways that these discourses construct the issue.
doi:10.25904/1912/1670 fatcat:i27c3ge7mndmxbkyz75dvvmfiq