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Purpose – Adaptation to climate change requires that the population at risk and decision makers in various sectors become aware of the possible detrimental impacts in…
Purpose – Adaptation to climate change requires that the population at risk and decision makers in various sectors become aware of the possible detrimental impacts in order to take whatever action is needed, especially in highly vulnerable countries and regions. In order to assess the climate change and impact awareness in a particularly vulnerable area – the Indian city Hyderabad, located within a semiarid region – we wanted to learn more about the local climate discourse, in particular the daily newspaper coverage of climate change and weather extremes.
Methodology/approach – After having looked at the Indian climate change discourse (CCD) in general, based on literature review, we were studying the local public CCD, based on the in-depth analysis of two English language daily newspapers, and three Telugu (the dominant local language) daily newspapers, covering the period of 2008–2009. This qualitative and quantitative analysis was completed by two expert interviews with local journalists.
Findings – We find that the more recent Indian CCD has shifted if compared to the dominant argumentation pattern of the period before, as reported in other analyses. While the former discourse was characterized by the scheme “the poor/developing countries suffer from anthropogenic climate change caused by the industrialized countries,” the recent Indian CCD has become more differentiated, taking into account both impacts elsewhere, and, most notably, conceding a (limited) responsibility of countries like India. On a local level, while reports on weather extremes are very common, we find that local newspapers of Hyderabad do not provide a link between these extreme events and (global) climate change.
Research limitations – Our discourse analysis could only cover a short time period of a local CCD, leaving open the questions of (a) its further development, and (b) how things might stand in other places in India. Furthermore it would be necessary to complement our study by analyses of the impact of mass media reporting on people's attitudes and behavior.
Originality/value of paper – Given the importance of public participation in adaptation measures, it is crucial to know if and how the wider public and the majority of the nonexpert public administration (which needs to be involved) understands the causes, potential impacts, and possible adaptive action in the face of climate change. This chapter provides a necessary (though not sufficient) element for that assessment. The findings can help to identify weaknesses, and thus to give hints how to improve the adaptive capacity in places like Hyderabad (India).
On the eve of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development's (UNCSD) conference on sustainable development (Rio+20) in June 2012, the United Nation's Environmental Program (UNEP)'s Global Outlook Report (GEO-5) provided sobering data on global environmental progress. The report indicated that world nations are making little headway on significant environmental targets set for themselves under the Millennium Development Goals. The UN indicated that world nations made progress on only 4 of the 90 most significant objectives from the Millennium Plan: reducing substances depleting the ozone layer, removing lead from fuel, increasing access to water supplies, and increasing research on ways to reduce pollution in marine environments. However, in some cases no progress or regression occurred in reaching goals on climate change issues including limiting increases in average global temperatures to less than two degrees above preindustrial levels nor advances in issues such as revitalization of depleted fish stocks, protection of biodiversity, and combating desertification (UNEP, 2012).