Master Thesis Media & Journalism



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4.3 Influenced Influence: US Media Discourse Compared to US Public Discourse

By analysing both The New York Times articles and the Berkeley University interview, I now know what the US media discourse and the US public discourse on climate change look like. By subsequently comparing these discourses, that is



the articles’ views on climate change and the respondents’ views on climate change and how they are validated through structure and lexicon, I can conclude whether the US media discourse is an in influenced influence of the US public discourse and the other way around.
Both the New York Times articles and Berkeley University students immediately turn to the solutions of climate change, which implicates they accept climate change as an issue, in need of a solution. However, both the media and the public emphasize the controversy of climate change. Though not deliberately denoting the term “conspiracy”, the media make use of down to earth (what’s in a name) comments, criticize climate change to be “a hyper-ventilation”, “an excuse to invest money”, “a mechanism to impose ideology” and “a mechanism to control society”, and so connotatively construct a sense of conspiracy after all. This controversy concerning climate change subsequently filters through the public discourse as well, for the respondents repeatedly, literally say that they “don’t know”, “it’s really debatable” and “in my view”, which implicates that their opinions are based on a controversial subject, they repeatedly refer to “they”, “they’re saying” and “they’re creating” and make the exact same statement of climate change being “an excuse to invest money”, which contribute to the connotation of climate change as a subject of controversy.
Almost all articles repeatedly, randomly refer to the term “CO2”, linking it to the severe consequences of climate change, as well as to the solution of climate change, that is, reducing CO2 emissions, which all in all, contributes to the construction of CO2’s connotative meaning: the cause of climate change. At the same time, the term “human-induced climate change” denotatively constructs climate change caused by human beings. Moreover, some of the articles construct the notion of climate change not being caused by the US, above all, by blaming China, which is emphasized through declarative clauses with overdone adjectives and a high level of transitivity, as though China, “the world’s largest emitter of CO2”, certainly and actively affects climate change. The public, on the other hand, connects climate change to a natural cycle, which is emphasized through a couple of comments, in which climate change is denotatively defined as a cycle, by repeatedly referring to the term “cycle” and by intransitively calling climate change a cycle that “has been happening”, as though it is not caused by something or someone, but happens on itself. However, by repeatedly dropping the term “pacing up”, by mentioning actual human inductions and by talking in terms of “we”, “us” and the “human race” the idea that climate change is a human-induced problem is connotatively constructed. Despite this, the respondents provide a pair of perspectives which perfectly prove that the US is not guilty of causing climate change. By blaming China, which is emphasized through strong statements with pressing words (“China has a big impact”), by blaming the social structure of society, which is emphasized through the sense of a higher power and so the sense of powerlessness, and by blaming inevitability, which is emphasized through the ideological dilemma that you “can’t blame” anyone for causing climate change, for this behavior is historically determined and therefore justified, the public excuses the US for causing climate change and even distracts you from thinking so in the first place.
Almost all articles argue that climate change has severe natural consequences. By pointing out the possible, by now kind of familiar sounding, standard, stereotype natural results of climate change, and connecting these to exaggerated adjectives, an alarming tone, an active voice, a declarative mood, a lack of modulation of truth claims, and actual, tangible victims, such as Bangladesh, this conception becomes convincing. However, as much as the articles report on the natural consequences of climate change, the articles also regularly report on its economical consequences. By repeatedly referring to climate change in mere economical terms, it connotatively becomes an economical issue, with, hence, economical consequences. Within the public discourse, the dominating verbal repertoire is the one on the natural consequences as well, which is constructed through the continuous repetition of some standard, typical terms as well, by connecting these to intense, excessive, frightening phrases as well and by picturing particular places, such as Bangladesh, as well. By referring to what they have heard and seen in the media, the respondents make their repertoire more valid.
When it comes to structure, almost all articles immediately and mainly focus on the solutions of climate change, which implicates these are considered most considerable. First of all, there is the view that climate change is a problem, which will finally, really be solved, which is validated through the constant comparison between Bush and Obama, the “bad before” and “happy ever after”. By blaming Bush to be the sly, calculating character in the story and by subsequently describing Obama in phrases of hope, positivity and activity, Obama becomes the symbol of the solution to climate change. Next, the dilemma “as leaders of the world, we have an example function, and so we should solve climate change” and the continuous repetition of “citizens”, “American leadership” and “we” connotatively construct an optimistic, almost idealistic and patriotic image of climate change which can and should be solved by the US. Furthermore, by constructing climate change as an economical issue, instead of a mere environmental issue, which is emphasized through typical economical terms, repeatedly referring to the cap and trade-pact, which is an economical measure and zooming in on companies that are actually already doing so, the view that climate change is an economical problem in need of an economical solution is validated. Finally, the idea that climate change can be solved by the people is constructed through declarative phrases, which repeatedly refer to the terms “we” and “have”, contain reoccurring concrete, considerable examples of how people can compete with climate change and implement idealistic images and the ideological dilemmas that “we have to set an example for the future generation” and that “een beter milieu begint bij jezelf ”. Within the public discourse, one of the dominant verbal repertoires is that climate change should be solved by the world leaders, which is constructed through the continuous repetition of the term “leaders” and terms that are generally associated with leadership, the random reference to the G20, and common sense comments that “the polluting countries should take responsibility and take action” and “those who claim and are considered to be the leaders should solve climate change”. Such as the US. By referring to the common case of the Kyoto Protocol, by continuously repeating the term “we” and by turning to the ideological dilemma that the “US always claims to be a world ruler, so as a world ruler they should make the first, big step to actually make a change” the respondents bring about a perception of patriotism, as though “we”, the US, will solve climate change. Obama to be exact, which is constructed through the repeating reference to Obama, linking his name to terms of convincement, to a typical tone of hope and to his famous motto “yes we can!”. But above all, there is the verbal repertoire of climate change as an economical issue, that therefore asks for an economical approach, which is constructed through structure, immediately linking climate change to economics, which continues and therefore dominates throughout the entire discourse, by continuously repeating typical economical terms, by dropping the ideological dilemma that “at the end of the day, money is all that matters”, by linking climate change to the current economical crisis, providing perspectives on how to solve climate change in an economical way, how to even profit from climate change and by providing an actual, tangible example of company that profited from climate change. And so both the media, as well as the public, construct climate change as an issue which exists and extinguishes in economy.

4.4 Dutch Media Discourse on Climate Change: De Volkskrant

Now that I know what the US media discourse and US public discourse on climate change looks like, and to what extent they are influenced influences, I would like to know what the Dutch media discourse and Dutch public discourse on climate change looks like, and to what extent they are influenced influences, so that in the end, I can crosswise compare them and conclude to what extent these influenced influences correspond. And so I have analysed 25 articles from De Volkskrant, dividing the views into definitions, causes, effects and solutions of climate change, and looking at structure and lexicon to validate these views.


Definition

When it comes to structure, the remarkable fact that almost all articles immediately turn to the effects and solutions of climate change, implicates that the media take climate change for granted. They already accept climate change as a problem, in need of a solution, which is emphasized by



  • intense, excessive phrases such as “wankel klimaat”, “groot probleem”, “klimaat verandert in hoog tempo”, “ieder jaar stijgt de CO2 uitstoot verder”, “ernst van de klimaatcrisis” (article 26), “dreigen” and “ramp” (article 31),

  • the way Wouter van Dieren, initiator of the modern Dutch environmental movement and co-author of “Grenzen aan de Groei”, a report which was presented by the Club of Rome in 1972, refers to Al Gore’s film, which he presumes we have all seen, and makes the common sense statement that therefore “hoef ik u niet te vertellen dat het klimaat onze levenswijze niet langer kan verdragen” (article 47),

  • the actual, literal denotation of “klimaatcrisis” (articles 31, 32 and 34)

  • the way Wijnand Duyvendak, former member of Groen Links and author of “Klimaatactivist in de politiek”, continuously repeats the term “klimaatcrisis” (article 26), validate the verbal repertoire of climate change as a climate crisis. After twenty times coming across “klimaatcrisis” the idea of a critical situation becomes convincing.


Causes

When it comes to structure, the remarkable fact that almost all articles sooner or later, repeatedly or randomly link climate change to CO2, implicates that the media take CO2 as the cause of climate change for granted. They already, quite automatically accept climate change to be caused by CO2. No discussion needed.



  • Statements that “er zijn veel aanwijzingen dat de gevoeligheid van het klimaat voor de steeds hogere concentratie CO2 in de atmosfeer veel groter is dan lang gedacht” and “er blijft meer CO2 in de lucht en het gevolg daarvan is een serieuze temperatuurstijging” directly denote CO2 to be the cause of climate change.

  • Furthermore, the continuous random repetition of the term CO2, its link to the severe consequences of climate change (which I will return to in the next section) and the endless list of technical solutions that are all aimed at reducing CO2 emissions (which I will return to in the next section as well), contribute to the construction of CO2’s connotative meaning: the cause of climate change.

At the same time, the articles connotatively construct the idea of climate change caused by humans, which is emphasized by



  • the nonchalant, natural remark that “pakweg eenvijfde van de kooldioxide die de mens jaarlijks door verbranding van kolen en olie in de atmosfeer brengt, wordt daar vastgelegd in extra hout” (article 28),

  • the way Pieter Hilhorst wonders whether subsidizing the car industry to stimulate the economic crisis, is appropriate with global warming in mind (article 29)

  • the declaration that “de grootste bedreigingen zijn overbevissing, illegale, destructieve vismethoden, watervervuiling en duiktoerisme”, which are all threats brought on by humans

  • and the phrase “de stress op het rif is een optelsom van menselijk activiteiten”, which literally lays out this verbal repertoire (article 45).


Effects

Although most articles aim at the solutions of climate change, they relatively frequently report on the effects as well.

First of all, there is the conception of climate change having severe natural consequences, which is constructed by


  • communicating nature in typically over the top terms such as “aardbeving”, “onderzeese vulkaanuitbarsting”, “tsunami” and “natuurgeweld”, by linking these terms to intense, excessive adjectives such as “zwaar”, “heftig”, “sensationeel” and “kolossaal” (article 36) and to even more alarming arguments such as “dramatische gevolgen”, “overstromingsgevaar”, “toename schade met factor 2 á 3”, “toename aantal slachtoffer met factor 2 á 5” and “verwachte doden” (article 46), which include actual facts, figures and forecasts and are provided by Hans Hartong, expert on “waterbeheer en waterveiligheid”, and therefore convincingly construct the claim that climate change can cause deaths.

  • Moreover, by stating that “Kampen wordt vijf keer zo onveilig als een hoogwater-nevengeul wordt aangelegd” and “bij een dijkdoorbraak zullen er in Kampen-stad 460 tot 530 doden te betreuren zijn”, which include the dawning Dutch dike bursts as the symbol of climate change in the Netherlands, and by stating that the Netherlands used to be known for its good goalies (“Edwin van der Sar”), that this is no longer the case and linking this clause to the cause of climate change (“het keepersprobleem wordt mede veroorzaakt door de klimaatverandering” for “sneeuwballen gooien en vangen is er niet meer bij, met die slappe winters”) (article 37), the consequences of climate change suddenly become a lot closer and more concrete.

However, although these arguments validate the view that the Netherlands will be affected by climate change, there’s also the view that developing countries will suffer the most from climate change (“in de krottenwijken van Nairobi rukt de malariamug op en maakt duizenden mensen ziek”)



  • which is emphasized through terms of passiveness and vulnerability, such as “slachtoffers”, “kwestbaren”, “minst verantwoordelijk” en “hardst getroffen” (article 27).

  • Furthermore, by referring to well-known conflict zones, such as Darfur, Rwanda and New Orleans and connecting these to intense terms such as “intense strijd”, “catastrofale situatie”, “bloedige conflict”, “eindeloze aaneenschakeling van wreedheden”, “aanvallen”, “wraak”, “waanzin”, “gemoord”, “verkracht” and “geplunderd” (article 27), Harald Welzer, a German social-psychologist and the author of “Climate Wars”, constructs an image of climate change causing more than just floods and warmer weather. It causes war, for “klimaatverandering haalt het slechtste in ons boven”.

  • All in all, by sketching a perfect picture of Sabah, Malaysia, with the help of phrases such as “tropisch paradijs”, “rijk marien leven”, “duikwalhalla”, “barst van het leven”, “zo bijzonder” and “grote verscheidenheid”, and subsequently disturbing this perfect picture by suddenly stating that “die biodiversiteit wordt echter wel ernstig bedreigd”, using the metaphor “trouble in paradise”, literally linking this to climate change (“en ook de klimaat-verandering speelt mee”) (article 20) and by creating a disturbing, pitiful picture of actual effects (“zeevogels werden levend verbrand”) (article 36) the overall opinion of climate change leading to disasters is validated.


Solutions

Although most articles seem to agree on the conception of a climate crisis, commonly caused by greenhouse gases and having critical consequences, it turns out there is considerable controversy after all. Controversy over the solutions to climate change, that is. When it comes to structure, the remarkable fact that almost all articles take climate change, its causes and effects for granted, and almost immediately and mainly focus on solutions, implicates these are considered most interesting, most significant, most worthy of writing about. The offered solutions can be broadly divided into four repertoires.


1. First of all, there is the view that climate change is a problem, which can be solved through technical adjustments.

  • This view is validated through the conspicuous constant re-occurrence of the same long list of possible, although exclusively technical adjustments to solve climate change, which includes “cars that run on electricity, the isolation of houses, the adjustment of production processes, the improved technologies to gain wind energy and solar power, windmill parks at sea, investing in railways and bonuses on car destruction” (article 26, 31 and 42).

  • Besides, declarative phrases such as “de techniek is veelbelovend en kan een belangrijke rol spelen in onze energiewinning in de 21ste eeuw” (article 44) and exhaustive phrases such as “alle experts zijn het erover eens” (article 42) convincingly construct a promising picture of technical adjustments.

  • Moreover, by providing actual examples of these technical theories, such as the one on terra pretta, which undoubtedly declares that “biochar is een panacee die zowel de voedselcrisis als de brandstofcrisis en de klimaatcrisis aanpakt”, which is based on thousands of years of practice (which is emphasized through the phrases “erfenis van pre-Columbiaanse volkeren” and “duizenden jaren lang verrijkten de Indianen”) and on top of that scientific evidence (which is emphasized through a complicated, chemical theory of pyrolyse plus oxygen stores CO2 etcetera) (article 32),

  • and such as the one on algae, which uses strong, symbolic sentences such as “diep in de Achterhoef ligt één van de sleutels naar een duurzame economie”, “de energiebron van de toekomst”, “afval is geen probleem, maar een bron van energie”, “de groene plantjes kunnen tot een revolutie leiden” and “dan heeft afval de waarde die het hoort te hebben: een bron voor energie”, concrete, convincing numbers and objectives such as “algen kunnen 20 procent van de Nederlandse energie behoefte leveren” and “over enkele jaren produceren wij brandstof voor de nieuwste vliegtuigen van Boeing of Airbus”, intensifying phrases such as “stellige overtuiging”, “de potentie is enorm”, “buitengewoon veelzijdig”, “heel eenvoudig” and “groot pluspunt”, romanticized, descriptive phrases “in de andere ruimte pruttelen, druppelen en centrifugeren buisjes algendrab” and “we hebben het recept voor de perfect vliegtuigbrandstof bijna gevonden” and the headline “algen als heilige graal” (article 44), the view that technical adjustments can solve climate change is connotatively constructed.

  • Finally, romanticized phrases such as “een enorme zee van blauw glas op stalen poten”, “levert onder de wolkenhemel van vandaag de energiebehoefte van een klein dorp” and “tienduizenden panelen in het gelid op de glooiende vlakte, als vooruitgeschoven post in de strijd tegen het broeikaseffect” and picture perfect, positive words such as “succes”, “levensvatbaar” and “sterke impuls”, which make the production of sustainable energy feel like a fairytale (article 41),

  • by quoting Harry Hendriks, executive director of Philips Benelux, who repeatedly stresses the significance of sustainability (“duurzaamheid is de belangrijkste bestaansreden van ons bedrijf”, “streven naar duurzaamheid” and “wij willen marktleider zijn op het gebied van duurzaamheid”) and explains some actual examples of Philips’ efforts to be sustainable (such as “minder energieverbruik bij productie”, “minder verpakkingsmateriaal” and “componenten zonder giftige stoffen”) (article 39),

  • and by technically theorizing that electrical cars are cleaner than current cars, and linking this thesis to the Green New Deal (which is generally expected to solve climate change) and phrases such as “verzachten”, “vergaand positieve invloed” and “gedroomde voertuigen van de toekomst” (article 34), the view of electrical cars, and so sustainability, and so technical adjustments, as a promising solution to climate change is connotatively, though carefully constructed.

2. A lot of articles also argue that climate change is a problem, which should be solved on a higher level.



  • Strong, stimulating sentences such as “we mogen deze crisis niet aanpakken op een wijze die de draagkracht van de aarde nog verder op de proef stelt” and “sterker, de besluiten moeten er aan bijdragen dat aan de wereldwijde temperatuurstijging een halt wordt toegeroepen” (article 26), which stress the words “we” and “worldwide”, validate the view that global warming should be solved globally.

  • Moreover, by referring to Obama in hopeful phrases such as “positief”, “serieus”, “aanpakken” and “doorbraak”, and by blaming Bush of “klimaatverlamming”, Obama becomes the saver, the one taking the lead in finally, really solving climate change. Besides, by repeatedly referring to the US’ attendance at the Copenhagen conference, the comfortable conception that climate change will surely be solved, now that the US is in as well, is especially emphasized.

  • Furthermore, the same article refers to some big, historical movements, such as the Suffragettes, the battle against apartheid and the battle for equal sexual rights in the sixties, and makes the strong statement “people power”, validating the view that climate change will solely be solved by a powerful mass movement. By a higher power (article 26).

  • Finally, the phrases “het is niet te laat”, “als het kabinet duurzaamheid wil bevorderen”, “de rol van overheid als launching customer” and “door toepassing van energiezuinige technologie stimuleert de overheid het gebruik ervan”, which stimulate a sense of hope and in which the word “overheid” is constantly repeated (article 39),

  • the introduction of quite some parties involved, such as Ken Kassem and Nina Ho, but also Carel Drijver, program leader oceans and shores of the WNF, and Bert Hoeksema, a specialist in marine biodiversity of the natural historic museum Naturalis in Leiden, and the emphasis on their cooperation through terms such as “samen”, “intussen”, “samen met alle belanghebbenden”, “een integraal plan”, “met alle betrokkenen”, “samenwerking staat voorop” and “iedereen samen”, plus the concluding comments that “we willen iedereen in de Koraaldriehoek om de tafel krijgen”, “om een duurzame handelsorganisatie op te zetten” and “dat vergroot het draagvlak voor een duurzame aanpak” (article 45),

  • criticism towards the current situation (which is emphasized by strong statements such as “het grenzeloze vertrouwen volkomen misplaatst gebleken”, “de economie verkeert niet in een recessie, maar in een totale systeemcrisis”, “herhaling van deze klimaatramp en financiële catastrofe” and “tegen de klippen op”)

  • and the promising description of the Green Deal (which is emphasized through an optimistic tone and positive phrases such as “koploper in duurzame energie”, “waanzinnig innovatief”, “bovendien creeër je zo veel nieuwe banen” and “we hebben veel bereikt”), which contains a strong contrast between the old “bad” way and the new “good”, “global”, “Green Deal” way (article 47), all contribute to the conception that climate change should be solved on a higher level.

3. However, and that would be the third repertoire, some articles argue that a fundamental first step is to change people’s mindsets.



  • Ideological dilemmas such as “in ieder mens schuilt een beul”, “wanhoop en het slechtste in de mens komt vanzelf naar boven”, “de neiging geweld en onrecht voor onszelf te vervaardigen” and “de verstoring van het klimaat is in feite een verlengde van een lange, wrede en gewelddadige koloniale traditie” (article 27) validate the view that climate change, as history proves, has to do with people’s nature, instead of just nature.

  • The cynical comment “een paar spaarlampen zullen daar niets aan veranderen” is the ultimate prove of climate change as a psychological problem, instead of a mere environmental issue, which therefore asks for the same sort of solution (article 27). By referring to Obama’s speech of hope on January 26th and WNF’s slogan “de wonderen zijn de wereld nog niet uit”, by linking these to critical comments that “het addertje in het gras zit in de geloofwaardigheid” and “hoop dat het allemaal goed zal komen, kan verlammend werken”, and by subsequently stating that “een meer doorleefd optimisme erkent dat in de toekomst rampen kunnen gebeuren en dat het niet altijd zal lukken om die af te wenden, maar blijft desondanks zoeken naar mogelijkheden om het goede te blijven doen” (article 45), containing a tone of realism, as well as optimism, changing hope to cope with climate change into an entire different way of thinking, becomes a convincing conception.

  • Besides, the arguments that “Greenpeace zegt zich te realiseren dat de energiebesparing van de klok beperkt is, maar het wil er mensen en bedrijven mee prikkelen na te denken over hun energieverbruik” (article 40), “door compleet anders te denken en een aantal bestaande technieken te combineren, kunnen de groene plantjes pas echt tot een revolutie leiden” (article 44),

  • the reference to Richard A. Muller, professor at the University of California and author of “Physics for Future Presidents”, who menions some typical keywords and stereotype images that are often linked to climate change, however not actually understood (such as “kernafval”, “elektrische auto’s”, “Marsreizen”, “welke energiebronnen wel en welke niet duurzaam zijn” and “of de aarde inderdaad ten dode is opgeschreven door de klimaatverandering”), thereby constructing a standard, simplistic picture of the physical characteristics of climate change and claiming that world leaders should, at the very least, understand this (article 33)

  • and the ideological dillema that “hoe meer je weet van een gebied, hoe beter je het kunt beschermen” (article 45), added up all validate the view that in order to solve climate change, people first need to understand, change their minds.

4. Despite the dominant suggestions to solve climate change technically, globally and by changing people’s mindsets, above all, the media emit a tone of uncertainty, of pessimism. As though they are not sure how to solve climate change or whether it will be solved at all.



  • Phrases such as “overheerst de twijfel”, “grofweg te schatten”, “maakt waarschijnlijk niet veel uit” and “twijfelachtig” (article 42), “wij denken dat het kan werken, we weten het alleen nog niet zeker”, the terms “onderzoeksproject” and “demonstratiefabriek” and the continuous repetition of “kan” and “risico” (article 32), suggest a sense of uncertainty.

  • Moreover, although statements such as “probeert te redden”, “iedereen kan het”, “een opsteker”, “de verwachtigen zijn hooggespannen” and “het gebied is veelbelovend” (article 45) construct a sense of (false) hope, the dominant notion is that climate change is not being solved at all, which is emphasized by excessive phrases such as “grote klimaatimpasse”, “we zien geen uitweg”, “negeren de ernst” and “problemen ontkennen” (article 26)

  • and the cynical column, titled “gezeten voor de haard redt Gordon de wereld”, which tells us Britsh Prime Minister Gordon Brown has high flying, perhaps too high flying expectations of solving climate change, which includes metaphorical phrases such as “Gordon Brown begint trekjes te vertonen van Action Man”, “deze geliefde held schuwt geen probleem”, “in zijn jongste avontuur treft hij een schurk die het klimaat wil verwoesten” and “alleen Action Man kan de wereld redden”, critical comments such as “hij versprak zich”, “wie de agenda ziet gaat het al snel duizelen”, “te ambitieus”, “posttraumatische stress zo slaapverwekkend en vol jargon” and “wat had hij eigenlijk gezegd?” and the description of Brown “zittend voor de open haard”, which construct an image of politicians talking big, but when the cards are down, it is a simple matter of keeping up appearances, and nothing will really, truly be done about climate change (article 50).

  • Hilhorst’s long list of large green investment projects that are about to become defective (article 29), linking this list to negative phrases, such as “deprimerend”, “dreigen te sneuvelen”, “ontgroening” (article 29), “het zou een groen crisispakket worden” and “groene pretenties” (article 42), which commonly, connotatively, but convincingly connect the word “groen” to critical comments and therefore appeal to one’s “groene” conscience, and the reference to Mirjam de Rijk, chairman of Stichting Natuur en Milieu, who concludes that “er meer geld wordt uitgetrokken voor plannen die slecht zijn voor het klimaat dan voor plannen die een positief effect hebben” validate the view that nothing is being done to solve climate change. But there is not only pessimism towards politicians.

  • By repeatedly referring to Shell, presenting “de kille cijfers” (Shell invested a 150 billion dollars in the development of alternative energy sources, which is a scant 1% of their total investments, instead of the promised 20%) (article 29), in contrast critically commenting on “het ontbreken van harde cijfers”, “vonden bij Shell de minste”, “onderaan de ranglijst” and “haat het niet bij de gangbare praktijken”, when it comes to CO2 emissions (article 35),

  • by blaming Shell of “ja zeggen en nee doen”, “meestribbelen”, “tot een hoge en irritante kunst verheven”, “gaan de discussie uit de weg”, “misleidend”, “schaamteloosheid”, “hypocriet” (article 26),

  • by speaking from Shell’s perspective in sarcastic sounding sentences such as “volgens bestuurslid Linda Cook ‘worstelt’ windenergie met zijn winstgevendheid” and “Shell wil zich concentreren op biobrandstoffen omdat die meer bij het bedrijf ‘zouden passen’” (article 43), by summoning not to fill up at Shell (article 29)

  • and by critically concluding Shell’s sustainable energy campaign to be “leuk en aardig” (article 35), the media specifically, sarcastically state that, although it initially promised, in reality Shell is not solving climate change at all, and moreover, they actually, generally connote that companies just don’t care.

  • As the matter of fact, although statements such as “biomassa als bron van duurzame energie is bij uitstek een industrie waarin Nederland kan excelleren”, the repetition of promoting phrases such as “in Nederland”, “bij ons”, “we” and the link to synonyms of simplicity, such as “eenvoudig”, “voordeel” and “relatief” (article 44) create an arrogant, but confident image of the Netherlands being the one to solve climate change, the dominant notion is that climate change is not being solved by the Netherlands at all.

  • Statements such as “we zijn te eenzijdig”, “we dreigen achterop te raken”, “andere landen halen ons in, dat is zorgwekkend”, “mag ik u een zorgwekkend plaatje schetsen?” (article 39), which emphasize “we” and “ons” and subsequently stimulate a sense of sorrow, the reference to Germany in the headline as “Duitsland maakt wél gebruik van de zon”, mentioning Spain, France, Italy and about thirty other countries, which implemented Einspeisegesetz as well, and subsequently accusing the Netherlands of “Nederland niet” and “in Nederland weet je niet waar je aan toe bent” (article 41), construct a contrast between the Netherlands and the rest of the world which does indeed intend to solve climate change.

  • Furthermore, phrases such as “het is de fossiele wereld tegen de nieuwe wereld”, “de invloed van het behoudende bedrijfsleven in Nederland is groot”, “het is een machtstrijd”, “het ontbreekt aan politici met moed”, “dat lobbyt fel” and “vindt een gewillig oor”, which construct a sense of conspiracy, in which politicians are afraid to really solve climate change, alarming arguments such as “klimaatwetenschappers steeds bezorgder”, “zeer verontrustend”, “dramatisch” and “groter dan gedacht”

  • combined with phrases that describe the public side, such as “niet doordringen” and “voor velen een lastig te bevatten problem”, which construct climate change as a serious, scientific issue, which doesn’t reach the public debate, and finally, cynical comments such as “Mevr. Pieterse gaat voor een beter klimaat door truien te breien voor al haar kleinkinderen”, “een huiskamerprobleem in plaats van een Tweede Kamerprobleem” (all article 26)

  • and the references to the so called key campaign “Nederland gaat voor een beter klimaat” and subsequently Martijn who sleeps in during his weekend to save three hours of energy (article 30), which critically construct climate change as a problem which cannot be solved individually, all in all, validate the view that climate change cannot and will not be solved.


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