Research Seminar Series (01/2020)

What we talk about when we talk about the Paris Agreement: Analogies in Global Environmental Politics

Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Chan

Date:      Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Time:       12.00pm

Venue:    Meeting room 2-6-41 (Building 2, Level 6, Room No. 41)

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and A/Prof Yeoh Seng Guan 
(Academic matters).

Speakers' Profile

Dr Nicholas Chan is Lecturer in Global Studies at Monash University Malaysia and holds degrees in International Relations from the University of Oxford and Aberystwyth University. He specialises in global environmental politics, especially multilateral negotiations on climate change and ocean biodiversity. His most recent publication is Large Ocean States: Sovereignty, Small Islands and Marine Protected Areas in Global Ocean Governance, published in December 2018 in Global Governance.


Five years after the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted, it has rapidly become the focal point for how global climate action is organised. But how has this diplomatic success affected other dimensions of global environmental politics beyond climate change? This paper explores how the Paris Agreement has been used as an analogy, and how diverse actors have interpreted the 'lessons' of the Paris Agreement for the governance of other environmental issue areas, from biodiversity to plastic pollution, chemicals and ocean sustainability: What does the Paris Agreement mean in non-climate contexts? This paper builds on and contributes to the long tradition of reasoning-by-analogy in both International Relations generally and global environmental politics specifically. It explores the social life and the meanings attached to the 'Paris Agreement', and the implications this has for institutional design and global cooperation on issue areas beyond climate change.

Research Seminar Series (02/2020)

“Political climates, media power and climate change in Australia”

Speaker: Dr David Holmes

Date:      Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Time:      12.00pm

Venue:    Meeting room 2-6-41 (Building 2, Level 6, Room No. 41)

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Dr Susan Leong
(Academic matters).


Speakers' Profile

David is Founder and Director of the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University, Australia. He is co-editor of the forthcoming Edward Elgar Research Handbook in Communicating Climate Change. David also conducts extensive field research into audience views of climate change beliefs, literacy and behaviour response. Having authored the first ever chapter on the sociology of climate change in an Australian sociology textbook (Holmes D, Hughes K and Julian R, (2015) Australian Sociology: A Changing Society, 4th edition), David is committed to inter-disciplinary responses to climate change. In Marrakech 2016 he was co-Head of Monash’s UNFCCC Delegation to COP22 and an accredited journalist reporting on the Paris Climate Summit (COP21) for The Conversation in 2015.mDavid completed a PhD in Social Theory (Department of the History and Philosophy of Science) at the University of Melbourne, where he was also awarded the Dwight Prize for Political Science. In the following decade, he published three books in the sociology of communications including his international best-selling: Communication Theory: Media, Technology and Society, London, Sage, that has been translated into three languages. At the Hub, David brings together this interdisciplinary background in science studies, political science, sociology and communication scholarship in the approach it takes to climate change.


This paper looks at the relationship between the fossil-fuel industry, politics and media in Australia.

The economy, partly in reality and mostly in the Australian public imagination, is strongly dependent upon natural resource extraction and export, especially fossil fuels. Ensuring a strong compact between political elites and the interests of fossil fuel companies, coal companies are the largest donors to both major political parties, federally and in the state of Queensland. The economic and political dominance of the fossil-fuel industry in Australian society is deeply entrenched, demonstrated by a largely unchallenged discourse about their necessity in the mainstream media.

Since the 1990s, climate change has become highly politicised, with News Corporation news outlets being stridently hostile to climate science and effective carbon abatement policy. On the other side of the divide are Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, Fairfax Press and start-up open-web news outlets that have focused on raising the level of climate literacy in Australia. The role of social media in raising awareness of dangerous climate change, especially during extreme weather events is also examined as a counterpoint to mainstream media.

Australia has compelling reasons to undertake urgent and effective action on climate change. It is especially vulnerable to the extreme impacts of climate change, with firestorms, floods and heat waves that produce significant adverse health impacts increasing in recent decades. Australia also enjoys the economic prosperity to pay for effective emissions reduction measures. Despite this fact, per capita emissions remain at four times the global average, without considering the emissions embedded in coal exports. It is Australia's exposure to extreme weather events that have ensured a consistently high level of public concern for climate action. Remarkably, public support for strong action on climate change continues to build, including as a defining issue in elections, even in the face of a highly concentrated mainstream media that is largely hostile to climate science and emissions reduction.