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ABSTRACT: A version of this article was presented to the Association for Journalism Education (AJE) annual conference, “New Media, New Democracy?” at Sheffield University, UK, on September 12, 2008. The paper explores the ways in which new media is used to derail action on climate change. First I provide a brief summary of the position of ‘ideological scepticism’ in relation to the broad scientific consensus on anthropogenic causes of climate change. I then explore whether the phenomena of new media use is of substantive enough importance for our attention. I review the research detailing the influence of ‘ideological scepticism’ and its discourses of denial, before addressing the specific case of the influence on public perception and policy debate from online. I address the different perspectives of the debate, including the argument over censorship and the limits to debate, taking lessons from another area of the blogosphere, of technology blogs and magazines. I then turn to possible responses, including the areas for further critical explorations in this vastly under-researched area. Finally, I address its implications for new media and democratic renewal. This article provides a starting point outlining the factors that will need to be taken into account for future research and immediate policy and regulatory decisions made regarding the uses of new media freedoms relating to climate change discourse. While this paper focuses mainly on US and UK explorations of the relationship between new media, climate change and democratic processes of decision-making and policy development, its examples and its argument, like new media, is international in its scope. pp. 47–60

Keywords: climate change, scepticism, new media, democracy, blogging

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