Climate Change Reporting Focuses on Disasters and Uncertainty

Nearly 80 percent of news articles about climate change either warn of current or future disaster scenarios related to global warming, or contain discussions about the uncertainty of climate science, an Oxford study of 350 news articles from 2007 to 2012 has found. Fewer than two percent of the articles from the media in six countries discussed opportunities to be gained from switching to a lower-carbon economy. Journalists were attracted to “gloom and doom” stories about climate-related disasters, the team wrote, which is in line with findings from previous studies. Uncertainty was discussed in nearly 80 percent of the articles, which the researchers say poses a problem for dealing with climate change because it keeps debate focused on what’s considered conclusive proof of global warming, rather than directing discussion toward the comparative costs and risks of different policy options.