What’s next for the European coal heartland? Exploring the future of coal as presented in German, Polish and Czech press, authors: Jan Osička, Jörg Kemmerzell, Maksymilian Zoll, Lukáš Lehotský, Filip Černoch und Michèle Knodt

The article addresses the future of coal in the European coal heartland, i.e. in the area of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, which together account for nearly 57% of coal consumption and 87% of coal-mining jobs in the EU. It approaches the problem within the interpretative tradition of social research and explores the coverage of the future of coal in major newspapers and political magazines in the three countries. The results show that despite similar material conditions, the issue is presented in a fundamentally different manner as the media tend follow the dominant energy policy paradigm in their countries: in Germany, they facilitate the phase-out policies; in Poland, they act as an inhibiting factor; while in the Czech Republic, their coverage echoes the political uncertainty around lignite mining in the northwest part of the country. The results also suggest that the media act mainly as a platform for the countries’ decision makers and energy policy stakeholders to voice their perspectives. The prevalent media coverage thus simultaneously enable and constrain policy options by promoting dominant discourses and preventing alternative views from surfacing.

Osička, Jan; Kemmerzell, Jörg; Zoll, Maksymilian; Lehotský, Lukáš; Černoch, Filip; Knodt, Michèle (2020): What’s next for the European coal heartland? Exploring the future of coal as presented in German, Polish and Czech press, in: Energy Research & Social Science, Vol. 61, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.101316.