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Climate Change Politics: Communication and Public Engagement By Anabela Carvalho and ...

Chapter 1:  Reinventing the Political
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Climate Change Politics:

climate change can be effectively addressed only through sustained citizen engagement. The far-reaching transformations that are needed to respond to climate change and to move to a different model of energy production and use require the involvement of citizens at the political level: decisions have to be made in a democratic way that is simultaneously inclusive and effective in the long term.

Despite politically influential actors’ attempts to downplay its significance, society has found climate change impossible to ignore. The large increase in social-movement action on climate change in the last few years suggests that civic interest and participation are on the rise. At the same time, most people remain remarkably disengaged from climate change politics. Climate Change Politics: Communication and Political Engagement is concerned with the ways climate change communication may contribute to a transformation of politics. It examines connections between a sense of political powerlessness and the symbolic environment in which current democratic politics is enacted, as well as how a rapidly changing communication context may open new political possibilities as it closes off others. With widespread transformations in the processes of production and consumption of mediated messages, new spaces for political interaction are emerging.

Climate change communication has the potential to induce significant transformations in civic politics. As issues that cut across so many sectors and scales, climate change and communication about climate change are redefining the boundaries between public and private, political and domestic, subject and community. Just as political action may affect climate change, climate change may affect the political. This book explores how people’s sense of engagement with collective problems may change as they address the questions posed by climate change, how new political identities for citizens develop in response to the dilemmas involved in climate change, and how the meaning of climate change is redefined in communicative practices in ways that sediment or instead