Media and the cultural politics of climate change

*** Update!***

This work has now been published at Nature Climate Change: ‘Dominant Frames in Legacy and Social Media Coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report’. It is part of a Focus Issue put together by Saffron, with contributions from academics and journalists (including Carbon Brief’s (ex-Guardian journalist) Leo Hickman; ECIU (ex-BBC reporter) Richard Black; and media expert Dr James Painter). **********


This project ‘Media and the cultural politics of climate change: tracking the coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report’ is funded through a University of Exeter HASS (Humanities and Social Science) seed grant. It supports an interdisciplinary research collaboration between social and physical scientists (co-investigators include Social Psychologist Tim Kurz, Political Scientist Duncan Russel and Complexity Scientist Hywel Williams). The project also involves collaborator Max Boykoff at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The project aims to understand how climate change is represented in both mass and new media, and what this may mean for public engagement with climate change. We are specifically examining the climate change discourses surrounding the release of the three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group reports. The project is integrating findings from a variety of news sources – newspapers, TV news, and on social network platform Twitter. We are investigating both both UK and US media sources.


Ottmar Edenhofer speaking to the Authors’ Plenary in Changwon. Credit: Benjamin Kriemann/IPCC

As part of the project, we have linked up with other researchers exploring the mediatisation of the AR5 IPCC reports. We held a meeting ‘Media, the IPCC and the Cultural Politics of Climate Change’ as a side-event at the University of Exeter’s Transformational Climate Science conference, in May 2014. A selection of presentations from this event are now in preparation for a journal Special Issue ‘Communication of Climate Science and the Future of the IPCC’. Please contact me if you would like to know more.