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Climate change: media, politics and society
Research project

New project on climate change, media and politics

The project is a cooperation between Department of Information Sciences and Media Studies, Department of Comparative Politics and Oslo University College.

Climate Crossroads. Towards Precautionary Practices: Politics, Media and Climate Change will be financed through the Research Council of Norway's NORklima program for three years. The project webpage is here: http://climcross.org/

The aim of the project is to illuminate problems with translating knowledge about climate change to climate politics, and especially what role the media play in this relationship. From the media department Dag Elgesem is project manager, and Elisabeth Eide is the coordinator. From comparative politics Lise Rakner and Siri Gloppen are participating. The project is funded supported by 8,2 millions in total, and will among other things finance a recruitment post at each of the three institutions.

Project summary:

Climate Crossroads will study the challenges faced by key policy makers and communicators when attempting to transform climate knowledge into climate action, and how communication and interaction between media and political actors can contribute to a precautionary general public and preventive measures when it comes to climate change. In spite of scientific uncertainty at some levels, there is a growing consensus in the IPCC on anthropogenic Climate Change (CC). The UN (e.a.) Article 3.3 the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognizes the importance of the precautionary principle: (The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of Climate Change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures). The Norwegian Parliament adopted the precautionary principle as one of two superior principles for Norwegian environmental politics (1996-1997). This emphasizes the principle as a matter of precautionary politics. Thus scientific uncertainty, in the case of possible adverse effects, is a precondition for establishing the precautionary principle.

The project will explore (i) the Norwegian official climate policy and visions of alternatives to this, as seen by scientists, media actors and the general public; (ii) how public opinion is influenced by politicians, scientists and media actors and their responsive strategies of the public (iii) the stated norms of scientists and journalists concerning climate change (iv) the relationship between climate change, development, rights and media representation in the global South. The project will through transnational co-operation with Media Climate and other partners allow for comparative perspectives.