Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate sceptics more prominent in UK and US media

Date:
October 4, 2012
Source:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Summary:
Climate sceptics are being given a more prominent, and sometimes uncontested, voice in UK and US newspapers in contrast to other countries around the world, new research suggests.

Climate sceptics are being given a more prominent, and sometimes uncontested, voice in UK and US newspapers in contrast to other countries around the world, new research suggests.

The findings have been published October 5, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, as part of a study looking at how climate scepticism manifested itself in the print media of the US, UK, Brazil, China, India and France during a 3-month period which included 'Climategate' in 2009/10 and a second period which covered the IPCCss Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.

In an audit of over 2,064 newspaper articles from the six countries during the first period, the authors, from the University of Oxford and University of London, found that around one in nine articles contained a sceptical voice.

In the US, 34 per cent of all climate change stories appearing in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal during this time had a sceptical voice. Of the 511 climate change articles appearing in the Guardian/Observer and the Daily/Sunday Telegraph during this time, 19 per cent contained a sceptical voice.

Chinese newspapers came next with seven per cent of stories containing sceptical voices. India and France followed with around six per cent each and Brazil was last with three per cent.

The researchers also examined whether there was any correspondence between the political leaning of a newspaper and its tendency to give a voice to climate sceptics. Excluding China 'their right and left splits are not relevant' the researchers found that there were slightly more articles containing sceptical voices in the left-leaning newspapers than in the centrist or right-leaning newspapers.

This was surprising considering the strong association of climate scepticism with the political right, especially in the US, and previous studies showing that right-wing newspapers were more inclined to question climate science.

On closer inspection of the figures, however, it was found that in the US and UK, a significant amount of the sceptical voices appeared in opinion pieces and that in the right-leaning newspapers these views were uncontested.

In the UK, the Guardian/Observer ran 14 opinion pieces containing sceptical voices during the two periods, all of which were countered or balanced by mainstream scientists. The Daily/Sunday Telegraph on the other hand ran 34 opinion pieces, more than half of which were not contested. The New York Times ran 14 opinion pieces that included sceptical voices, all of which were contested. In contrast, the Wall Street Journal ran 17 opinion pieces, all but one of which was left uncontested.

The researchers also chose to look at the type of climate sceptics that were being quoted in these stories. The types of sceptics who question whether global temperatures are warming at all appear almost exclusively in the UK and US newspapers. These two countries also give a very strong presence to the type of sceptic who challenges the need for robust action against climate change.

Even though 'Climategate' was a UK-based scandal, the researchers picked a period which included this event to sample data as they believed the story was big enough to spark international reporting. A further 1,263 articles were analysed between 1 February and 30 April 2007 at the time when the IPCC released their Fourth Assessment Report as this was a period in which scepticism wasn't the central issue.

Lead author of the study, James Painter, said: 'These results are significant because they do seem to support those who argue that climate scepticism is much stronger in 'Anglo-Saxon' countries, such as the USA, UK, Canada and Australia, as measured by its presence in the media.

The data would also suggest a lot of the uncontested climate scepticism is found not so much in the news reports but in the opinion pages of right-leaning newspapers in the USA and the UK.'

The newspapers chosen for analysis were Folha de Sγo Paulo and Estado de Sγo Paulo in Brazil, People's Daily and Beijing Evening News in China, Le Monde and Le Figaro in France, The Hindu and Times of India in India, the Guardian/Observer and the Daily/Sunday Telegraph in the UK, and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in the USA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics (IOP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James Painter, Teresa Ashe. Cross-national comparison of the presence of climate scepticism in the print media in six countries, 2007–10. Environmental Research Letters, 2012; 7 (4): 044005 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044005

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics (IOP). "Climate sceptics more prominent in UK and US media." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004200933.htm>.
Institute of Physics (IOP). (2012, October 4). Climate sceptics more prominent in UK and US media. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004200933.htm
Institute of Physics (IOP). "Climate sceptics more prominent in UK and US media." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004200933.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins