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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Framing energy and forest policy : a content analysis of bioenergy in the Vancouver Sun Amos, Heather Elisabeth


Burning wood from the province’s forests to produce energy is a growing industry in British Columbia and a fundamental part of the Liberal government’s energy and forest plans. In 2007, the province set new environmental targets and developed new energy policy that highlighted the need for bioenergy in the province. As a result, the 2008 BC Bioenergy Strategy mandated a two part “Bioenergy Call for Power” by BC Hydro, ten new community biomass based energy projects and a $25 million investment into the new Bioenergy Network. As with any topic, the news media can affect its audience’s perspectives and attitudes towards an issue. This study explored the possibility that the news media has been framing wood bioenergy as a solution to the mountain pine beetle epidemic and as a carbon-neutral energy. A keyword search was done to collect articles from The Vancouver Sun, the largest provincial daily newspaper in British Columbia, starting in 2001, when the Liberal government took power in the province. A content analysis was performed on the articles to assess the themes and information conveyed about bioenergy. The study found that prior to 2007, the articles were less likely to suggest bioenergy could make use of mountain pine beetle-killed trees and were less likely to describe it as a carbon-neutral and renewable energy source. The change since 2007 indicates that the issue is being framed as a solution to the province’s problems in the forest and energy industries.

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