Climate change news reports focus on 'disaster' or 'uncertainty'

Climate change news reports focus on 'disaster' or 'uncertainty'
Many climate change articles focus on an increase in flooding.

( —An Oxford University study shows that recent newspaper articles covering climate change are centred on narratives about disaster and uncertainty.

Researchers from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism analysed 350 articles about climate change between 2007 and 2012 published by three different newspaper titles in six countries (UK, France, Australia, India, Norway and the USA). They found a 'disaster narrative' in 82% of the articles in the sample, and a similar proportion about uncertainty.

Articles explaining the 'explicit risks' of different featured in just 26% of the articles surveyed. The study concludes that advances in climate modelling and attribution are likely to lead to the 'more helpful' language of explicit risk being increasingly used by journalists in future.

The articles in the sample analysed covered the first two reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of 2007; the IPCC report on of 2012; and the recent melt of Arctic sea ice. The research team coded the newspaper coverage to assess 'the presence, salience and dominance' of different messages. They took into account whether the dominant message was one of 'disaster' (or implicit risk), 'uncertainty', 'explicit risk', or 'opportunity'. They also assessed whether the articles contained prominent quotes, and analysed the use of language such as and adjectives.

Articles coded as having a 'disaster or implicit risk' narrative were about sea level rises, more floods, water or , or population displacements – and, in the case of Arctic sea ice melt, negative effects on the and nations living on the Arctic rim, or the heightened possibility of in the Northern Hemisphere.

Articles predominantly about 'uncertainty' included the voices of or 'duelling experts', a range of projections, or the words 'may', 'possible' or 'uncertain'. Around 25% mentioned the opportunities presented by climate change, says the study.

The researchers found that journalists often followed the prompts given by scientists and their reports. Around 70% of the articles covering reports by the IPCC, and nearly 60% of all the articles in the sample, included quotes from scientists or scientific reports that the researchers coded as 'disaster narratives'. Nearly half the articles included a quote indicating some aspect of uncertainty.

Lead author James Painter, said: 'There is plenty of evidence showing that in many countries, the general public finds scientific uncertainty difficult to understand and confuse it with ignorance. We also know that disaster messages can be a turn-off, so for some people risk may be a more helpful language to use in this debate.

'Journalists are generally attracted to gloom and doom stories, but they are going to become more exposed to the language and concept of risks in covering climate science in coming years. The language used by scientists about "explicit risk" will be more about numbers and probabilities as become more powerful and sophisticated. For policy makers, this should shift the debate away from what would count as conclusive proof towards a more helpful analysis of the comparative costs and risks of following different policy options.'

The study forms the basis of a book by James Painter called "Climate change in the media – reporting risk or uncertainty," which will be launched in London on 18 September. The book says politicians, scientists, and policymakers are increasingly using the concept and language of risk in a context of uncertainty to frame the debate about climate change and this is likely to be reflected more in the media messages.

Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the LSE, which co-financed the study, said: 'How the media communicates risk and uncertainty to their audiences is critically important. This book provides extremely sensible suggestions for improvements in the future.'

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Citation: Climate change news reports focus on 'disaster' or 'uncertainty' (2013, September 19) retrieved 20 July 2019 from
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Sep 21, 2013
Since science has only agreed it could happen not will happen, would you remaining climate blame believers be willing to be subjected to criminal charges for uttering your CO2 death threats to billions of helpless children with a crisis YOU say WILL happen when science has never said it themselves?

Sep 21, 2013
Consensus definition of global warming:

"global warming
An increase in the average temperature of the earth's atmosphere, especially a sustained increase sufficient to cause climatic change."

Global temperatures: http://www.woodfo....6/trend

So, just who are the "deniers" now?

Oct 11, 2013
"My biggest concern about the climate report is that it presents a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The report, in other words, is "scientific-sounding," rather than clearly settled and based on indisputable fact. Established facts about the global environment exist less often in science than laymen usually think."
" Experts in model validation say that the climate models frequently cited in the IPCC report are little if any validated. This means that as theory they are fundamentally scientifically unproven."
Daniel B. Botkin is Adjunct Professor of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla., and Professor (emeritus), University of California, Santa Barbara.

Oct 11, 2013
What's new? Risk is seldom correctly reported.
"What Risk?", edited by Roger Bate

Oct 12, 2013
Fox News doesn't censor, unlike Nature or the other climate journals and propaganda outlets.

People have the opportunity to read Professor Botkin and decided for themselves, thanks to Fox News.

Oct 12, 2013


Fox News CENSORS Ron Paul When He Talks About Censorship!


censored comments about endtimes on fox news 2012


Fox News censors interview on war in south Ossetia


Fox News Censorship


and on and on and on....

Oct 12, 2013
"William F. Buckley Jr. was right on target when he said, "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.""

Oct 12, 2013
I am shocked and offended at the constant stream of lies coming from RyggTard and the other Libertarian/Randite/Conservative Retards here.

For example, RyggTard's lie that Faux news doesn't censor.

Lying is a way of life for them.

Oct 13, 2013
Fox News doesn't censor, unlike Nature or the other climate journals and propaganda outlets.

People have the opportunity to read Professor Botkin and decided for themselves, thanks to Fox News.

Good Grief! This is a message to be taken to heart by anyone who might actually think your opinion is worth anything. Nature is a news source that has been providing important refereed papers since 1869. To try to compare it with Fox news is one of the most ignorant things I have seen you post. Please tell us what other "technical journals" you get your information from (other than Fox news). You really gave me a belly laugh on this post. Any of the derogatory things Vendi has been saying about your level of education seem to be born out by this masterpiece of stupidity. Anyone reading this thread should stop to realize that Nature is one of the best journals for the latest research in many areas.

Oct 13, 2013
I do not insult.

I classify.

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