Friday, April 19, 2024
Skepticism of climate change fading in media.

Skepticism of climate change fading in media.

Climate Change: Shifting Skepticism in Media Coverage

A recent analysis of media coverage on climate change has revealed a shift in the type of skepticism being propagated. While old-fashioned climate science denialism is still present in the media, the balance of arguments has shifted from denying or undermining climate science to challenging policy solutions designed to reduce emissions.

The Decline of Evidence Scepticism

Computer-assisted methods applied to thousands of contrarian blogs or websites have found that since the year 2000, “evidence scepticism” which argues that climate change is not happening, or is not caused by humans or the effects won’t be too bad, has been on the decline, while “response” or “solutions scepticism” has been on the rise.

Television Coverage

Recent survey work finds that in most countries, television programmes, including news and documentaries, are by far the most used source of information on climate change compared to online news, print, or radio. A new study published in Communications Earth & Environment examined 30 news programmes on 20 channels in Australia, Brazil, Sweden, the UK, and the US which included coverage of a 2023 report by the IPCC on the physical science basis of climate change.

A Shift in Mainstream Channels

In mainstream channels, the presence of science scepticism, science sceptics, and general contestation around the IPCC’s report was much less present than in the coverage of the previous round of IPCC reports in 2013 and 2014, even in countries that have historically had strong traditions of science denial. In most cases, the response scepticism on mainstream channels was directed scepticism, where country-specific economic, social, and political obstacles to enacting climate policies were mentioned.

Policies Concerning Climate Action

Legitimate policy discussion needs to be carefully distinguished from false claims put out by organized sceptical groups. The most common policy scepticism concerned the economic cost of climate action. There is strong evidence that media has a very powerful agenda-setting effect, and in certain contexts, can exert a strong effect on attitudes and behaviour change.

Any definitive shift towards response scepticism across the media represents an important new challenge to climate action. It is important to acknowledge the shift in skepticism in media coverage and address it accordingly, by making policies concerning climate change more accessible and understood by the general population.


About Leif Larsen

Join Leif Larsen, our science blogger extraordinaire, on a journey of discovery through the fascinating worlds of climate change, earth science, energy, environment, and space exploration. With a wealth of knowledge and a passion for exploring the mysteries of the universe, Leif delivers insightful and thought-provoking posts that offer a unique perspective on the latest developments in the world of science. Read him to unlock the secrets of the natural world, from the deepest oceans to the furthest reaches of the cosmos!

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