Climate: Tougher Media Coverage for 15 Years

This is what emerged from the analysis by a group of researchers from the University of Colorado who, since 2004, have collected reports on climate and climate change published in about a hundred newspapers on five continents. In an analysis of nearly 5,000 articles published in 17 of these media—all English-speaking—from 2005 to 2019, these researchers conclude that the tide has turned, compared to similar studies conducted in the early 2000s. their analysis Appeared on August 17 in Environmental Research Letters.

The worst performing in these five countries, including the United States and Canada, are media labeled “conservative”: Daily Telegraph Australian daily Mail London, and National Post from Toronto. Even indoors, however, factual coverage now incorrectly trumps coverage on the basis of “pros and cons”.

These 5,000 texts are categorized into four categories, one of which is one in which human activity is claimed to make only a “negligible” contribution to global warming. The proportion of texts belonging to this category is less than 5% in most newspapers: for example, it is less than 1% in Globe and Mail, 2% in The New York Times and the Sydney Morning Herald Australian, 5% in times and the Sunday times from London. rises up to 19% in daily Mail and 20% in National Post.

If we add the category of texts that claim that humans and nature contribute “equally”, the percentage rises to 29% in National Post and the Daily Telegraph Australian, 28% in daily Mail The British – against 10% or less for the majority of others.

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“Two decades ago, the print media often gave equal weight to legitimate climate experts and the margins of climate denial,” he said. Abstract In a statement senior author Lucy McAllister of the University of Colorado. This is no longer the case: “Facts triumph over debate.”

In the case of the more conservative media, Environmental Studies Program Director Max Boykoff, who himself conducted a similar analysis two decades ago, notes that the area occupied by discussions “has changed dramatically in recent years. From mere denial of the human contribution to climate change, [on est passé] More subtle attacks on support for specific policies aimed at combating climate change.”

The research does not provide detailed tables by media or by country, which makes it possible to see regional developments over time: at most, we note that factually incorrect coverage was greater in 2010 (almost 20% of the total, a period in which The Copenhagen Conference and the false scandal that was called at that time followed the climate) compared to the end of 2015 (about 6% of the total, before and during the conference that ended with the Paris Agreement).

We owe Boykov and his colleagues, under the wingMedia and Climate Change Observatory, a monthly updated database of climate publications in nearly 100 major newspapers around the world. It is this work that has made it possible on several occasions, since the first decade of the twenty-first century, to note that climate coverage has been made up of rises and above all declines: a major “peak” at the end of 2009, and a few smaller ones at the end of 2015 and 2018. Especially 2019. But also several periods, between 2010 and 2015, when the topic had a hard time retaining media attention for a long time. The question is already being asked about what will be in the post-pandemic stage…

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