Book Launch: Climate Change and the Media

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Monday 5 November, 2018,

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Law School Foyer, New Law School,
Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney



Department of Media and Communications

Over the last twenty five years the weight of evidence about the causes and consequences of climate change has become compelling. The solutions are fairly simple—we must switch to more sustainable and efficient forms of energy production. And yet they remain elusive—globally we produce significantly more greenhouse gases now than we did back in 1990. The sad truth is that this inaction has made climate change inevitable—the only question that remains is whether we can prevent it spiralling out of control.

How do we explain this colossal global failure? The problem is political rather than scientific: we know the risks and we know how to address them, but we lack the political will to do so. The media are pivotal in this equation: they have the power to set the public and the political agenda.

Join an international panel of experts for the Sydney launch of Climate Change and the Mediaedited by Benedetta Brevini and Justin Lewis. The panel will discuss the key themes addressed in book, exploring how and why media coverage has fallen short in communicating both the science and the politics of climate change.


Peter Hannam, Environment Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
Professor Justin Lewis, Cardiff University
Dr Alana Mann, Department of Media and Communications
Dr Terry Woronov, Department of Anthropology


Dr Benedetta Brevini, Department of Media and Communications


Peter Hannam has been the Environment Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald for the past five years, with climate change a key focus of his work. Prior to that appointment, Peter had worked mainly in business journalism including opening the Beijing bureau of Bloomberg News in 1994 will later stints in senior roles in Singapore and Tokyo. Perhaps the most fun – and the most challenging – was his two years working as a freelance journalist in Mongolia in the early 1990s when that country became an independent nation after seven decades of Soviet satrapy.

Justin Lewis is Professor of Communication at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, and Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He has written widely about media, culture and politics. His books, since 2000, include Constructing Public Opinion (2001), Citizens or Consumers: What the Media Tell Us About Political Participation (2005), Shoot First and Ask Questions Later: Media Coverage of the War in Iraq (2006), Climate Change and the Media (2009) and The World of 24 Hour News (2010). His latest book is Beyond Consumer Capitalism: Media and the Limits to Imagination (2013). He has also written books on media audiences, cultural policy and media and race.

Dr Alana Mann  is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), University of Sydney, Australia, and a key researcher in the University’s Sydney Environment Institute. Her research focuses on the communicative dimensions of citizen engagement, participation, and collective action in food systems planning and governance. She is a Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project FoodLab Sydney (2018-2020) with partners including the City of Sydney and FoodLab Detroit, and is collaborating with Macquarie University and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on the project Growing Food and Density Together: Enabling Sustainable Place-making through Local Foodscapes in the Inner City, funded by Urban Growth NSW. In 2018 Alana was a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University. She is the author of Global Activism in Food Politics: Power Shift (2014) with a new monograph on the synergies between the participatory practices of rural and urban food movements due for publication in 2019.

Dr Terry Woronov is a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sydney. After working for many years on issues related to urban social transformation in contemporary China, her recent research has focused on the cultural politics of climate change in Australia. She has published on the legal debates around the proposed Adani Carmichael mine, and with Dr Benedetta Brevini has written on the political and media discourses surrounding Adani. Her current research focuses on climate change and the cultural politics of the Great Barrier Reef.

Benedetta Brevini is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Sydney and Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism at City University, London. Dr Brevini is also an experienced journalist who has worked in Milan, New York and London for CNBC and RAI. She writes on The Guardian’s Comment Is Free and contributes to a number of print and web publications including the Index of Censorship and OpenDemocracy and the Conversation. She is the author of Public Service Broadcasting Online (2013) and editor of the acclaimed volume Beyond Wikileaks (2013). Her latest book is Carbon Capitalism and Communication: Confronting Climate Crisis (2017).