From Cosmopolitan Ideal to Nationalistic Calculus: Discursive Change of Japanese Media Framing on the Kyoto and Copenhagen Climate Conferences

Monday, July 14, 2014: 8:30 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Shinichiro ASAYAMA , Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
Atushi ISHII , Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
Recently the studies on media coverage of climate change have increased significantly. Many scholars have extensively analyzed “framing” of climate change in the media. However, the focus of existing literature is only limited on the “science” of climate change, but not on the “politics”. In light of “mediatized politics”, the media has become part of the fundamental nature of contemporary politics, and therefore media coverage can have a significant impact on policymaking processes. The international negotiations at the UNFCCC/COP has been one of the important spheres of climate discourses, can be seen as a “critical discourse moment” which transform and create public discourses on climate change. Both COP3 in Kyoto and COP15 in Copenhagen have marked a significant momentum to adopt international agreements. While the former succeeded in achieving the legally-binding agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, the latter has resulted in “failure” which only achieved a non-legally-binding agreement of the Copenhagen Accord. In this study, we explore how the Japanese media represent COP3 and COP15 negotiations, and try to identify the dominant media frames regarding the COP negotiations and negotiating parties. Methodologically, we apply discourse analysis of the three most circulated Japanese daily newspapers: the Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun. Our analysis reveals the responsibility and conflict are the dominant frames both in COP3 and COP15 coverage, which emphasize the responsibility of international communities to achieve the legally-binding agreement with paying closer attentions to controversy among parties. Moreover, there is the discursive shift of media frames from COP3 to COP15: in Kyoto the media are engaged in the cosmopolitanism discourse to imply the media’s idealistic hope toward the international negotiations whereas in Copenhagen the media rather focused on the realistic condition of negotiations to imply the nationalism discourse that criticizes the “ineffectiveness” of the Kyoto Protocol.