Scalar politics of climate change: regions, emissions and responsibility



Publication Details

Waitt, G. R., Farbotko, C. , Criddle, B. (2012). Scalar politics of climate change: regions, emissions and responsibility. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, (143), 36-46.


The print media have facilitated multiple types of claim-making and an oppositional climate change politics. Drawing on arguments about the social construction of geographical scale as a category for understanding media practice, this article examines such politics. We focus on the Illawarra Mercury, the only daily newspaper in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, to showcase exactly how this tabloid newspaper engages readers in a scalar politics of climate change. We argue that a regional scalar politics shapes the framing of emissions in the Illawarra Mercury. A key question organising this article concerns the way in which geographical scale is invoked, and reproduced, in this newspaper to structure a certain rationale in reporting on emissions from one of Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, the Port Kembla Steelworks. The argument is that the regional scale is evoked as a pre-given, natural and contained entity to justify why the steelworks need not shoulder greenhouse gas emissions reductions. We argue that a better understanding of scalar politics is integral to explain how responsibility for emissions is shifted elsewhere.

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