How worldwide climate change news stacks up

Countries that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol tend to have more frequent news coverage of climate change, a new study says.

The researchers studied media coverage in 27 countries, ranging from Algeria to Germany to Papua New Guinea. The team searched for articles mentioning climate change in one to two of each country’s leading newspapers, collecting a total of 152,125 articles. Then they calculated the percentage of the publications’ articles devoted to climate change.

From 1997 to 2009, about 0.6 percent of the countries’ newspaper articles included references to climate change, the authors report in Global Environmental Change. The level of coverage rose during the study period, from around 0.2 percent in 1997-2000 to 1.26 percent in 2006-09.

Countries aiming to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol had roughly 50 percent more coverage than countries that did not make such commitments. “[H]igh media attention levels in those countries with the greatest responsibility for climate action can be interpreted as a positive sign for international climate politics,” the authors write. Roberta Kwok | 23 August 2013

Source: Schmidt, A., A. Ivanova, and M.S. Schafer. 2013. Media attention for climate change around the world: A comparative analysis of newspaper coverage in 27 countries. Global Environmental Change doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.07.020.

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