The extreme consequences of the climate change are following us through our daily life, now more than ever. The temperature of our planet is critical, and although we are all aware of it and want to improve the situation, we are lacking of results.
Understanding the complete situation about the climate change in the world is also depending on the variety of the perspectives that different sources of media around the world are distributing. This affects very much what people think about the climate change and what their own perspective on the issue is.
The Kansas University and the Hanoi University of Science and Technology were able to analyse a grand amount of media climate change coverage from 45 countries and territories from 2011 to 2015. Over 37.000 articles were analysed, where the main national factors were economic development, weather and energy consumption. The research was based on reviewing the headlines from nationally circulated publications of varying political ideologies that were containing the keywords ‘’greenhouse gas’’ , ‘’climate change’’ and ‘’global warming’’ or the locally equivalent language.
”Climate change increasingly poses one of the biggest long-term threats to investments” Christiana Figueres, Executive secretary of the UNFCCC
They came to the conclusion that the issue was more politicized in richer countries, while poor countries observed the issue rather as an international issue. Richer countries also focused more on the scientific perspective, which makes sense since they have more powerful resources compared to poorer countries.
The economic factor was most crucial in the countries who have experienced the strongest negative effects of the climate change and the worst consequences such as natural disasters, loss of life, poverty and several economic effects, but also the countries that had the most severe climates.
When it comes to the social progress, richer countries framed the issue in terms of energy policy and use. Countries that emit the most carbon dioxide framed the content in terms of energy issues, while poorer countries and those that have experienced the most severe climate focused more on the natural impact.
The authors concluded that the international relations frame is being the most widely used which appels that the climate change issues needs to be addressed by every nation. The next most crucial factor was economic effects, warning that fighting climate change will have impacts on every economy. Besides that, when natural disasters and climate change were discussed, they were nearly always brought forth in an economic sense.
”I think at pivotal moments in history… media outlets stand up and take unprecedented action” Ellen Dorsey, Executive director of the Wallace Global Fund
The study helps to understand the importance of media influence on climate change coverage and how the questioning and framing the topic of climate change will be based and oriented by the fact if it’s done on local, national or global levels, if communicators suggest solutions, if those solutions are addressing the individuals, business or governments and the efficacy of proposed solutions.
‘’As communications researchers we want to know why, if climate change entered public discussion more than 30 years ago and we’ve been covering it as a global problem since, why can’t we slow the warming climate down,” Vu said. “If we want the public to have better awareness of climate change, we need to have media imparting it in an immediate sense. By looking at how they have portrayed it, we can better understand how to improve it, and hopefully make it a priority that is reflected in policy.’’ Said Hong Vu, assistant professor of journalism at Kansas University and the study’s leader author.