Duelling realities: Conspiracy theories vs climate science in regional newspaper coverage of Ian Plimer's book, Heaven and Earth

Publisher:
Charles Sturt University
Publication Type:
Journal article
Citation:
Mckewon, Elaine 2012, 'Duelling realities: Conspiracy theories vs climate science in regional newspaper coverage of Ian Plimer's book, Heaven and Earth', Rural Society, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 99-115.
Issue Date:
2012
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In the lead-up to the ? rst Australian parliamentary debates on an emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2009, Ian Plimer ? mining geologist, mining company director and climate change contrarian ? published a book that argued there is no link between human activity and climate change. Plimer boasted that his book, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming ? The Missing Science, would `knock out every single argument we hear about climate change?. While promoting the book in media interviews, Plimer warned that the ETS would destroy mining and agriculture in Australia. Plimer?s book was discredited by Australia?s top climate scientists, yet received mostly favourable coverage in regional newspapers. Using content analysis and critical discourse analysis, this paper examines regional news articles, features, opinion columns, editorials and letters to the editor published between April 1 and June 30, 2009. The paper also considers the impact that media coverage of Plimer and his book had on the public debate on the ETS leading up to the legislation?s defeat
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