Risk, Law, and Media: A Case of Climate Change
“Risk, Law, and Media: A Case of Climate Change”
Ariel C. Nelson and Janet Walker
The risks of modernity are amply evident in the advancement and depredations of anthropogenic climate change. This chapter analyzes an ongoing federal lawsuit that is seeking judicial intervention to bring about climate recovery. Mounted on behalf of youth and future generations, Juliana v. United States is part of Our Children’s Trust (OCT), an initiative with integral media as well as legal aspects. This chapter, by an attorney working in the area of environmental law and a media studies scholar, explores how Juliana and OCT media, in their respective idioms, articulate pressing issues of injunctive relief, standing, time, and space. Adopting a transdisciplinary approach, we ask, what are the relative capacities of law and media to figure the catastrophe of climate change? How do the writings of Ulrich Beck illuminate this topic, and, reciprocally, what do this case and media assemblage reveal about Beck’s thought? The chapter demonstrates the ability of risk media to advocate for a just energy scenario and engage in “affirmative speculation” at this major moment of regulatory capture, when agencies designed to act in the public interest are being run by individuals whose loyalties lie with the industries known to be contributing to climate change.