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Original research article, how academic research and news media cover climate change: a case study from chile.

media research on climate change pdf

  • 1 Education, Research, and Innovation (ERI) Sector, NEOM, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia
  • 2 Departamento de Ciencias del Lenguaje, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Introduction: Climate change has significant impacts on society, including the environment, economy, and human health. To effectively address this issue, it is crucial for both research and news media coverage to align their efforts and present accurate and comprehensive information to the public. In this study, we use a combination of text-mining and web-scrapping methods, as well as topic-modeling techniques, to examine the similarities, discrepancies, and gaps in the coverage of climate change in academic and general-interest publications in Chile.

Methods: We analyzed 1,261 academic articles published in the Web of Science and Scopus databases and 5,024 news articles from eight Chilean electronic platforms, spanning the period from 2012 to 2022.

Results: The findings of our investigation highlight three key outcomes. Firstly, the number of articles on climate change has increased substantially over the past decade, reflecting a growing interest and urgency surrounding the issue. Secondly, while both news media and academic research cover similar themes, such as climate change indicators, climate change impacts, and mitigation and adaptation strategies, the news media provides a wider variety of themes, including climate change and society and climate politics, which are not as commonly explored in academic research. Thirdly, academic research offers in-depth insights into the ecological consequences of global warming on coastal ecosystems and their inhabitants. In contrast, the news media tends to prioritize the tangible and direct impacts, particularly on agriculture and urban health.

Discussion: By integrating academic and media sources into our study, we shed light on their complementary nature, facilitating a more comprehensive communication and understanding of climate change. This analysis serves to bridge the communication gap that commonly, exists between scientific research and news media coverage. By incorporating rigorous analysis of scientific research with the wider reach of the news media, we enable a more informed and engaged public conversation on climate change.

1. Introduction

Climate change is the most pervasive threat to the world's natural, social, political, and economic systems. Human activities have caused a rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere and caused the earth's surface temperature to rise, leading to many other changes around the world—in the atmosphere, on land, and in the oceans ( Wyser et al., 2020 ; Masson-Delmotte et al., 2021 ). Indicators of these changes include increases in global average air and ocean temperature, rising global sea levels ( Zemp et al., 2019 ; Garcia-Soto et al., 2021 ; Oliver et al., 2021 ), amplification of permafrost thawing and glacier retreat ( Sommer et al., 2020 ; Wilkenskjeld et al., 2022 ), reduction of snow and ice cover ( Shepherd et al., 2018 ), ocean acidification ( Doney et al., 2020 ) and stronger and more frequent extreme events such as heatwaves, storms, droughts, wildfires, and flooding ( Abram et al., 2021 ; van der Wiel and Bintanja, 2021 ). These changes are projected to continue throughout at least the rest of this century ( Smale et al., 2019 ; Cook et al., 2020 ; Kwiatkowski et al., 2020 ; Ortega et al., 2021 ). Mitigation and adaptation are two complementary strategies for addressing climate change ( Abubakar and Dano, 2020 ; Diamond et al., 2020 ; Tosun, 2022 ). Mitigation focuses on reducing emissions or enhancing GHG sinks, while adaptation involves building resilience to the unavoidable impacts on people and ecosystems. To be successful, these efforts require a deep scientific understanding, as well as the active engagement of the scientific community, civil society, and other stakeholders ( Wamsler, 2017 ; Tai and Robinson, 2018 ; Gonçalves et al., 2022 ).

News media and academic research have distinct roles in communicating scientific findings on climate change ( Corbett, 2015 ). News media rapidly disseminate scientific findings to a broader audience, shaping public understanding and influencing science-policy translation, practices, politics, public opinion, and understanding of climate change. They select and frame information to shape public awareness and perception, often influenced by various factors such as political, economic, scientific, ecological, or social events. Academic research provides a scientific foundation, evidence-based insights, and focuses on rigorous methodologies, data analysis, and the generation of scientific knowledge related to climate change. Aligning news media and academic research in their coverage is essential for effectively addressing climate change. Consistent messaging and shared thematic structures between media and academia build public trust and understanding, enabling informed decision-making and collective action. However, it's important to acknowledge that variations may exist between news media and academic research coverage due to factors like economic development, political influences, and differing focuses on the societal dimension of climate change ( Hase et al., 2021 ).

Over the past decade, media coverage of climate science has grown in accuracy, though the extent and type of coverage varies between countries and is often connected to political, scientific, ecological, or social events ( Shehata and Hopmann, 2012 ; Schmidt et al., 2013 ; Lopera and Moreno, 2014 ; Schäfer and Schlichting, 2014 ; Stecula and Merkley, 2019 ; Hase et al., 2021 ; Dubash et al., 2022 ). A growing body of experimental research has explored how climate change has been represented in news media ( Dotson et al., 2012 ; Wozniak et al., 2015 ; Barkemeyer et al., 2017 ; Bohr, 2020 ; Keller et al., 2020 ) as well as providing an overview of the state of knowledge on the science of climate change ( Berrang-Ford et al., 2015 ; Pacifici et al., 2015 ; Rojas-Downing et al., 2017 ; Cianconi et al., 2020 ; Fawzy et al., 2020 ; Olabi and Abdelkareem, 2022 ; Talukder et al., 2022 ). As far as we know, however, no previous research has investigated simultaneously news media coverage and academia's research agenda on climate change globally or locally. Therefore, the primary goal of our study is to evaluate, by means of text-mining, web-scraping methods, and topic-modeling techniques, the extent of alignment between news media and academic research in their coverage of climate change topics in the context of Chile. By examining the content and comparing the thematic focus of climate change discourse in both sources, this study will contribute to understanding the similarities, discrepancies, and gaps in the coverage of climate change in Chile. Furthermore, the findings can inform future efforts to improve the alignment and comprehensiveness of climate change communication between news media and academia, ultimately promoting public awareness and understanding of this critical global issue ( Leuzinger et al., 2019 ; Albagli and Iwama, 2022 ).

Chile is particularly interesting as study model due to a variety of political, geographic, ecological, political, and social factors. Despite contributing only 0.23% to global GHG emissions ( Labarca et al., 2023 ), Chile is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Evidence of current and future effects of climate change on Chilean territory has been mounting ( Bozkurt et al., 2017 ; Araya-Osses et al., 2020 ; Martínez-Retureta et al., 2021 ), which could have detrimental consequences for citizens' health and wellbeing by impacting key sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, agriculture and livestock, mining, energy, and water resources. Additionally, the Government of Chile chaired the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Spain ( Navia, 2019 ) and has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 30% compared to 2007 levels as part of its nationally determined contributions. Previous studies have explored ideological bias in media coverage of climate change in Chile ( Dotson et al., 2012 ), however there is a lack of research comparing academic research with news media. Although this study focuses on climate change in Chile, its results more broadly inform gaps in the coverage of climate change between academic and media discourse and emphasizes the importance of analyzing both sources to improve public understanding of climate change issues.

2. Materials and methods

2.1. academic articles.

The ISI Web of Science WOS Core Collection ( https://apps.webofknowledge.com/ ) and Scopus ( https://www.scopus.com/home.uri ) database were chosen for the collection of academic articles. On January 18, 2023, we retrieved all publications related to climate change in Chile using the following Boolean search strategy: [(climat * chang * OR global chang * OR “climat * emergenc * OR “climat * crisis OR “global warming) AND Chile * ]. A comprehensive search strategy was employed to identify relevant publications from 2012 to 2022, without any language restrictions Following the search based on these criteria, a total of 1,758 articles from Web of Science (WOS) and 1,730 articles from Scopus were retrieved. The search results were downloaded in.xlsx format for further analysis. To ensure data accuracy, a manual comparison was conducted between the SCOPUS and WOS records, which involved examining the title, primary author, source title, and year of publication. All the articles obtained, including their titles and abstracts, were exclusively in English. Duplicate articles were discarded. We next used the title and abstract- when available- of each article to ensure we only included studies aimed at understanding climate change in Chile either by Chilean or international scientists. We include original articles and reviews, but not conference proceedings or books/book chapters, in our analysis. Articles without an abstract were also excluded. This resulted in 1,261 articles used to build the academic corpus, which comprises the following metadata for each document: database, title, abstract, and publication year.

2.2. News media articles

Climate Change coverage from Chilean electronic news platforms was also studied over the 10-year period from 2012 to 2022. This time period was determined by the availability of items on the selected platforms. The sample included eight electronic platforms: La Tercera, Meganoticias, CNN Chile, El Mostrador, T13, CHV Noticias, El Desconcierto and Diario Financiero. The platforms were chosen based on their national coverage, their high circulation and accessibility without a subscription fee. The approach to retrieve the articles was as follows. First, tags directly related to climate change were identified: “climate change,” “global warming,” “climatic crisis,” and “climatic emergency.” This strategy allows for a systematization of sampling. For each article, the name of the media, tag, headline, date, and URL of the source page were retrieved using the Rvest ( Wickham, 2016 ) and RSelenium ( Harrison and Harrison, 2022 ) R-packages. The URLs were then used to extract the articles' full text (body). Those articles that were not retrievable using this method due to forbidden access or any other restrictions in the source page were discarded from the collection. A total of 6,056 news articles were retrieved between January 06 and 15, 2023. Because a news item may include different tags, we removed duplicate articles for each of the platforms. Articles in which the date could not be retrieved were also discarded. After this filtering process, we obtained 5024 articles, which were used to build the news media corpus ( Table 1 ).

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Table 1 . Information of electronic platform and news media articles retrieved.

2.3. Preprocessing

The corpora were preprocessed as follows: performing tokenization into unigrams (one word) using the “tidytext” R-package ( Silge and Robinson, 2016 ), normalizing text into lowercase and removing punctuation, symbols, numbers, and HTML tags. English and Spanish lists of stop words were applied to the academic ( Puurula, 2013 ) and news media (a proposed list of Spanish stop-words was used; Díaz, 2016 ) corpus, respectively. Additional terms (e.g., academic corpus: “mission”, “b.v”, “rights”, “reserved”; news media corpus: “tags”, “u-uppercase”, “video”, “cnn”, “iphone”) were added to the list of stop words as frequent words present across many documents that are expected not to be related to any topic and whose presence might hinder the interpretation of the results. Also, plural words were converted to singular (e.g., academic corpus: “glaciers” to “glacier”, “southern” to “south”; news media corpus: “gases” to “gas”, “emissions” to “emission”). To preprocess the corpora, we used the “quanteda” R-package ( Benoit et al., 2018 ).

2.4. Publication trends

The Mann-Kendall trend test was used to detect an increase, decrease or no difference in the number of articles published for both academic and news media corpora. Mann-Kendall test is a distribution-free test that can be used to identify monotonic trends for as few as four samples ( Mann, 1945 ; Kendall, 1975 ). This is relevant for our purposes, given the results of our study were limited by a small sample size ( n = 10). In brief, we tested the null hypothesis if the data are identically distributed (i.e., non-trend). The alternative hypothesis was that the data follow a monotonic trend. This monotonic trend could be positive or negative. We fitted the Mann-Kendall model using the “Kendall” R-package ( McLeod and McLeod, 2015 ).

2.5. LDA topic modeling

Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), a probabilistic topic-modeling technique, was used to identify the most common topics and themes in both corpora. Briefly, topic modeling is an unsupervised machine learning technique which can identify co-occurring terms and patterns from collections of text documents ( Kherwa and Bansal, 2019 ). Latent LDA is a well-suited unsupervised algorithm for general topic modeling tasks, particularly when dealing with long documents, which is the case with analyzing academic or news media articles ( Anupriya and Karpagavalli, 2015 ; Goyal and Kashyap, 2022 ). LDA is a three-level hierarchical Bayesian model that employs three basic elements, namely the corpus which is constituted from a set of documents that is composed from a group of words ( Blei et al., 2003 ; Blei, 2012 ). LDA can infer probabilistic word clusters, called topics, based on patterns of (co) occurrence of words in the documents that are analyzed. LDA models each document as a mixture of topics and the model generates automatic summaries of topics in terms of a discrete probability distribution over words for each topic, and further infers per-document discrete distributions over topic. LDA output can be used logically to classify the documents according to the topic it belongs to.

Before performing the LDA, the number of topics needs to be estimated. In this study, we used two metrics from the R-package “ldatuning” ( Nikita, 2016 ): CaoJuan2009 and Deveaud2014. Whereas measure CaoJuan2009 has to be minimized ( Cao et al., 2009 ), Deveaud2014 has to be maximized ( Deveaud et al., 2014 ). Both metrics showed a plateau in the curves at 9 and 13 topics (k) for both academic and news media corpora, respectively ( Figure 1 ). For each corpus, we fitted the LDA model using the “topicmodels” R-package ( Grün and Hornik, 2011 ). The collapsed Gibbs sampling method was used to estimate the LDA parameters with 1,000 iterations for k = 13 and k = 9 topics for academic and news media corpora, respectively). Once generated, we assigned a label that adds an interpretable meaning to each of the inferred topics. It is important to note that the news media corpus was analyzed in its original language (i.e., Spanish), but the results (i.e., topics and themes) are presented in English.

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Figure 1 . Suggested number of topics in the (A) academic and (B) news media corpora using the CaoJuan2009 and Deveaud2014 metrics.

Lastly, we used a variation of Vu et al. (2019) and Keller et al. (2020) procedures to sort the topics into five overarching themes: climate change indicators (e.g., warming, temperature, glaciers, sea-level, oceans, coastal, weather, wildfires, drought, etc.); climate change impacts (e.g., water, food, agriculture, livestock, biodiversity, ecosystems, financial etc.); climate change and society (e.g., health, wellbeing, pollution, education, humanity, population, etc.); climate politics (e.g., government, law, policy, regulation, U.N., COP, agreement, etc.); and addressing climate change (e.g., adaptation, mitigation, action, renewable, GHG, emissions, fuel, management, etc.). Figure 2 summarizes the steps of data retrieval, corpus creation and content analysis.

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Figure 2 . Data collection and analysis framework.

2.6. Visualizations

Data visualizations were performed using R ( R Core Team, 2022 ) in conjunction with the software package ggplot2 ( Wickham et al., 2016 ) and dplyr ( Wickham et al., 2022 ).

3.1. Publications trends over 2012–2022 period

National and international authors published 1,261 research academic articles related to climate change in Chile during the 2012–2022 period. More than half of these articles, approximately 66.0%, were published from 2019 onwards. In terms of news media, we retrieved 5,024 articles over the period 2012–2022. Of these articles, 76.6% were published in the past 4 years. Figure 3 shows trends in the number of articles for both the academic and news media corpus. Note that the scales of the y-axis are different between corpora. Mann-Kendall trend analysis showed a significant and upward trend for the number of academic articles (τ = 1, p < 0.01, Figure 3A ) and news media articles (τ = 0.85, p = < 0.05, Figure 3B ) articles. The number of articles published per year follows a similar trend in both corpora, however, news media articles showed a sharp increase in 2019. After these peaks, the number of published media articles decreased before an additional increase was observed.

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Figure 3 . Annual trend of (A) academic and (B) news media articles published from 2012 to 2022.

3.2. LDA topic modeling

The output of the LDA for the academic and news media corpora are displayed in Table 2 . Topics were labeled based on the top 15 keywords with the largest probabilities in topics vectors ( Figures 4 , 5 ) and content in most relevant articles. In the academic corpus, the nine topics extracted were categorized into three overarching themes: “climate change indicators” (Topic A 2, A3 and A 4), “climate change impacts” (Topics A 7, A 8, and A 9), and “addressing climate change” (Topics A 1, A 5, and A 6). No topics in the academic corpus were classified as “climate change and society” or “climate politics”. The 13 topics extracted from news media corpus were classified in five themes: “climate change indicators” (Topic NM 1, NM 4, NM 7, and NM 9), “climate change impacts” (Topic NM 8 and NM 12), “addressing climate change” (Topics NM 5 and NM 13), “climate change and society” (Topics NM 2 and NM 11), and “climate politics” (Topics NM 6 and NM 10).

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Table 2 . Themes, labels, and topics identified by LDA for academic ( n = 9) and news media ( n = 13) corpora.

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Figure 4 . Word-topic probability from LDA model in the academic corpus.

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Figure 5 . Word-topic probability from LDA model in the news media corpus.

4. Discussion

This study evaluates the extent of alignment between news media and academic research in their coverage of climate change topics in Chile between 2012 and 2022. By comparing two corpora consisting of 1,261 news articles and 5,024 academic articles, this research sheds light on the similarities, discrepancies, and gaps in the coverage of climate change in Chilean academic and general-interest publications. Our analysis revealed three key findings. Firstly, the number of articles on climate change has increased substantially over the past decade, reflecting a growing interest and urgency surrounding the issue. Secondly, while both news media and academic research cover similar themes, such as climate change indicators, climate change impacts and mitigation and adaptation strategies, the news media provides a wider variety of themes, including climate change and society and climate politics, which are not as commonly explored in academic research. Thirdly, academic literature offers in-depth insights into the ecological consequences of global warming on coastal ecosystems and their inhabitants. In contrast, press media tends to prioritize the tangible and direct impacts, particularly on agriculture and urban health. These disparities not only underscore the differing emphases between news media and academic coverage but also illustrate how news media predominantly focuses on the immediate and visible impacts of climate change events.

4.1. Publications trends over 2012–2022 period

Our study explores the coverage of climate change in Chile by news media and research academia during the 2012–2022 period. We found a significant increase in the number of academic and news media articles published on climate change in Chile over the past decade, indicating growing interest and urgency surrounding the issue ( Figure 3 ). The rise in Chilean literature suggests an increased interest by the scientific community in understanding climate change in Chile, which is crucial for understanding global environmental changes and their impacts on natural, social, political, and economic systems. Our findings are consistent with previous studies that have mapped the evolution of climate change science worldwide ( Klingelhöfer et al., 2020 ; Nalau and Verrall, 2021 ; Reisch et al., 2021 ; Rocque et al., 2021 ). The media coverage of climate change in Chile also increased significantly since 2012, reaching a peak during 2019 before decreasing sharply in 2020 and increasing again thereafter. In 2019, the peak coincided with the climate summit (COP 25) held by Chile, generating great interest among civil society, scientists, and the private sector to share their plans for mitigating and adapting to climate change ( Hjerpe and Linnér, 2010 ). This event occurred at the same time as the #FridaysForFuture campaign, which mobilized an unprecedented number of youths worldwide to join the climate movement, including Chile ( Fisher, 2019 ). The campaign was instrumental not only for its potential impact on policy but also for raising public awareness about climate change and promoting action to address it. However, the media landscape experienced a notable shift in priorities due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, leading to changes in media coverage patterns and public attention. News media had to allocate significant resources to reporting on the pandemic, including public health information, policy responses, and updates on the spread of the virus ( Krawczyk et al., 2021 ; Mach et al., 2021 ). This shift in media priorities affected the extent and prominence of climate change coverage. Consequently, the media coverage of climate change in Chile experienced a temporary decline in 2020. However, as the world gradually adapted to the ongoing pandemic, news media resumed their coverage of climate change, and the topic regained attention. Additionally, the upcoming international conferences, such as COP 26 in England (2021) and COP 27 in Egypt (2022), may have contributed to the increased media coverage observed since 2021, as these events serve as key moments to discuss global climate action.

4.2. LDA topic modeling

Using LDA topic analysis, we found that both academic and news media articles covered three of the five evaluated themes—“climate change indicators”, “climate change impacts”, and “addressing climate change”—as shown in Table 2 and Figures 4 , 5 . The themes “climate change and society” and “climate politics” were covered by news media but has been relatively underexplored in academic research.

4.2.1. Climate change indicators

Both corpora shared a common focus on droughts and precipitations as key climate change indicators. Academic studies covered extreme precipitation and drought (Topic A 2), as well as precipitation patterns in the Andean region (Topic A 4). Similarly, news media concentrated on drought and precipitation patterns in central Chile (Topic NM 9). Research by Chilean scientists shows that since 2010, the country has witnessed a significant increase in drought intensity and frequency, accompanied by a sharp reduction in precipitation ( Garreaud et al., 2020 ; González-Reyes et al., 2023 ). The resulting prolonged drought has caused acute water stress, food insecurity, loss of livelihoods, and severe biodiversity impacts, particularly in the central region. The shared focus reflects the concern for the tangible and urgent impacts of the mega-drought experienced by Chile over the last decade ( De la Barrera et al., 2018 ; Sarricolea et al., 2020 ; Alvarez-Garreton et al., 2021 ). Thus, the alignment in attention to these issues highlights the pressing nature of the topic in Chile's context.

Moreover, the academic corpus focuses on climate change scenarios scenarios (Topic A 3) related to precipitation patterns. This indicates a strong emphasis on understanding the potential impacts of climate change on rainfall patterns and hydrological systems. On the other hand, the news media corpus predominantly focuses on indicators and trends (Topic NM 1) related to financial aspects, such as countries' expenditures, economic programs over the last decade, and historical perspectives on the planet. Although the focus of the two corpora differs in terms of temporal perspective, both share the overarching objective of understanding climate change and its indicators. The academic corpus with its emphasis on scenarios offers valuable insights into long-term projections and the potential consequences of climate change. Meanwhile, the news media corpus, with its focus on indicators and trends, serves to inform the public about the immediate impacts of climate change. By examining these complementary approaches, a more holistic understanding of climate change and its multifaceted nature can be obtained, incorporating both long-term projections and current reality.

Interestingly, news media coverage of climate change impacts extends beyond droughts and precipitation scenarios, encompassing a wide range of issues such as melting ice, sea-level rise, urban flooding, heatwaves, and fires, which have become particularly problematic in Chile and other countries, notably Europe (Topic NM 4 and 7). Heatwaves have been increasingly frequent and intense, resulting in record-breaking high temperatures across, Chile ( Piticar, 2018 ; Suli et al., 2023 ), Europe ( Xu et al., 2020 ; Becker et al., 2022 ; Lhotka and Kyselý, 2022 ) and worldwide. These episodes result in elevated mortality rates, particularly among vulnerable populations, and the amplification of other health-related risks ( An der Heiden et al., 2020 ; Błazejczyk et al., 2022 ). Fires, fueled by warmer and drier conditions, have also received considerable attention in news media. The incidence of wildfires has risen substantially, causing significant ecological damage, property destruction, and threats to human wellbeing ( Wong-Parodi, 2020 ; Hertelendy et al., 2021 ). Fires have been a significant concern in Chile between 2015 and 2022, accounting for 36% of the total burnt area from 1985 to 2022 ( Ruffault et al., 2018 ; CONAF, 2022 ; Varga et al., 2022 ). These fires have resulted in the destruction of thousands of hectares of land, vital ecosystems, and significant air pollution, all of which have adverse effects on human health. This broader coverage aligns with academic research findings that emphasize the devastating effects of climate change events on the environment, local communities, economy, welfare, and health in Chile and elsewhere ( Piticar, 2018 ; Suli et al., 2023 ). The news media serves a pivotal role in disseminating information about these climate change impacts, effectively highlighting their far-reaching consequences. Furthermore, these examples shed light on the differing emphases between news media and academic coverage, with news media giving considerable attention to the immediate and visible impacts of climate change events. This approach serves to raise awareness and engage the public in comprehending and addressing these pressing challenges.

4.2.2. Climate change impacts

The analysis reveals that academic literature predominantly concentrates on the impacts of global warming on coastal organisms (Topics A 9). Similarly, the population response of coastal species is a major research focus within academia, examining the implications of climate change on species' survival, reproductive success, and migration patterns (Topics A 7). Changes in oceans, such as temperature increase, sea level rise, and acidification, have had wide-ranging biological implications ( Dewitte et al., 2021 ; Navarrete et al., 2022 ), and recent studies have shown that marine organisms can adapt or acclimate to these changes ( Navarro et al., 2016 ; Ramajo et al., 2019 ; Fernandez et al., 2021 ; Lardies et al., 2021 ; Vargas et al., 2022 ). For instance, Navarro et al. (2020) examined the effects of ocean warming and acidification on juvenile Chilean oysters ( Ostrea chilensis ), inhabiting coastal and estuarine areas of the mid to high latitudes of southern Chile. Silva et al. (2016) investigated the impacts of projected sea surface temperature on habitat suitability and geographic distribution of anchovy ( Engraulis ringens ) due to climate change in the coastal areas off Chile, an important commercial fishery resource in Chile. Most of these species are commercially important and provide food and livelihoods for local communities. The future impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity in Chile are uncertain but could be severe if current trends persist ( Du Pontavice et al., 2020 ). Additionally, a considerable amount of academic research revolves around environmental impact and risk assessment (Topics A 9), which reflects the growing concern over the susceptibility of human and natural systems to climate change impacts in Chile. Vulnerability and risk assessment can help identify populations, regions, and sectors that are most susceptible to the current and future impacts of climate change ( Urquiza et al., 2021 ). Addressing these vulnerabilities can inform decision-making processes and support the development of effective policies and adaptation strategies ( Gandini et al., 2021 ; Simpson et al., 2021 ).

In contrast, news media predominantly highlights the significant impacts of climate change on Chilean agriculture and ecosystem services (Topic NM 8) ( Fernández et al., 2019 ). Extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and droughts, have resulted in significant alterations in the timing and quantity of rainfall. These changes, in turn, have led to notable shifts in soil moisture levels and water availability for crop cultivation. These events have also impacted soil fertility, crop yields, and farm infrastructure, as well as pollination services provided by insects, such as bees, which are critical for fruit and vegetable production ( Gajardo-Rojas et al., 2022 ). By emphasizing this interconnectedness, news media can help people understand the significant economic, social, and food security impacts of climate change on the country's agricultural sector ( Muluneh, 2021 ). Furthermore, news articles often focus on the health impacts of climate change on urban populations (Topic NM 12), such as the increased prevalence of heat-related illnesses, air pollution-related respiratory diseases, and the spread of vector-borne diseases in cities ( Bell et al., 2008 ; Oyarzún et al., 2021 ).

These disparities between academic literature and news media highlight the communication gap between scientific research and mainstream discourse on climate change impacts in Chile. While academia provides detailed insights into the ecological consequences of global warming on coastal ecosystems and their inhabitants, the news media places more emphasis on tangible and direct impacts, such as those on agriculture and urban health. Bridging this gap between academia and news media is crucial for enhancing public awareness and understanding of the comprehensive range of climate change impacts, ultimately supporting informed decision-making and sustainable action in response to this urgent global issue.

4.2.3. Adressing climate change

An alignment between academic literature and news media can be observed in their shared focus on adaptation efforts and mitigation strategies. Academic literature extensively examines the role of mitigation and adaptation in the energy sector (Topic A 1), emphasizing the importance of diversifying energy sources, developing and implementing renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency to reduce GHG emissions and provide cost-effective mitigation and adaptation benefits to households and businesses ( Nasirov et al., 2019 ; Pamparana et al., 2019 ; Kairies-Alvarado et al., 2021 ; Martinez-Soto et al., 2021 ; Raihan, 2023 ). This aligns with the coverage in news media, which highlights the transition toward low carbon energy systems (Topic NM 5), reflecting policy agendas in many countries, including Chile, where the energy sector is the largest contributor to GHG emissions ( Álamos et al., 2022 ; Labarca et al., 2023 ). The transition to a more sustainable energy system in Chile has been promoted through the implementation of renewable energy production and energy efficiency ( Simsek et al., 2019 , 2020 ; Babonneau et al., 2021 ; Osorio-Aravena et al., 2021 ; Ferrada et al., 2022 ). These findings are in line with those of Lyytimäki (2018) , who found that news media created a highly positive narrative of renewable energies as an environmentally friendly solution to GHG emissions.

However, disparities between academic literature and news media coverage are apparent. While both sources recognize the significance of these measures, academic literature provides more comprehensive coverage than news media. Academic literature places significant emphasis on forest carbon management, acknowledging the crucial role of forests in carbon sequestration (Topic A 5), and climate change mitigation. This involves implementing forest conservation, reforestation, and afforestation practices to increase carbon sequestration in forest biomass and soil, thereby reducing GHG emissions Additionally, academic literature extensively addresses agriculture-water management (Topic A 6), emphasizing the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and efficient water resource management in response to changing climate conditions. Relevant mitigation and adaptation strategies for agriculture, such as improving water use efficiency, adopting irrigation technologies, and modifying crop choices, have been identified in academic research ( Novoa et al., 2019 ; Jordán and Speelman, 2020 ; Zúñiga et al., 2021 ). In contrast, news media coverage is more limited in these areas, focusing more narrowly on the transition toward low carbon energy systems (Topic NM 5), and general adaptation efforts and mitigation strategies (Topic NM 13). Despite this, news media plays a vital role in climate change communication by highlighting various actions that can be taken to effectively mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, which can help promote the adoption of sustainable solutions.

4.2.4. Climate change and society

Our analysis reveals an interesting pattern: the theme of “climate change and society” is covered by news media but has been relatively underexplored in academic research. In news media coverage, the theme of society and sustainable development (Topic NM 2) takes center stage, focusing on dimensions such as economy, technology, social, and environment. Additionally, news media pays significant attention to climate action (Topic NM 11), exemplified by movements like “Fridays for Future” and speeches by climate activist Greta Thunberg during international climate conferences such as COP.

This media coverage plays a vital role in highlighting contingent events and showcasing the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on people's daily lives on both local and global scales. However, it is notable that the theme of “climate change and society” lacks adequate representation in the scientific literature.

Understanding the societal implications of climate change is of paramount importance for all stakeholders, including policymakers, civil society organizations, and individuals. The scientific exploration of this topic can provide valuable insights into effective and equitable adaptation and mitigation strategies. Consequently, there is a pressing need to develop further research on this topic, bridging the gap between news media coverage and scientific inquiry. By expanding our understanding of the societal dimensions of climate change in the academic literature, we can better inform evidence-based decision-making, foster collective action, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable future.

4.2.5. Climate politics

Climate politics is another topic covered by news media underexplored in academic. This theme has included topics such international conferences and commitments (Topic NM 3), IPCC Reports (Topic NM 6) and Chilean climate change framework law (Topic NM 10). The Climate Change Framework Law, is a recent important policy instrument for addressing climate change, as it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change ( Madariaga Gómez de Cuenca, 2021 ). The IPCC report, on the other hand, is a crucial scientific report that provides a comprehensive assessment of the state of knowledge on climate change, its causes, impacts, and future risks ( Pörtner et al., 2019 ). IPCC report coverage in the news media is vital for the understanding of climate change in Chile and worldwide, as they inform the public about the latest developments in climate policy and the scientific understanding of climate change. The coverage of these topics in the news media is important for society's understanding of climate change, both in Chile and worldwide, as it highlights the importance of political will and action in tackling climate change at local, national, and global levels. The relatively low coverage of these themes in academic research, however, suggests the need for more interdisciplinary research on the social and political dimensions of climate change.

4.3. Analyzing news media and academic research

Our study focused on assessing the alignment between climate change coverage in news media and academic research in Chile, revealing significant gaps in the framing of climate change between these two domains. Academic research and media coverage of climate change often focus on different aspects and utilize distinct methodologies. Academic sources offer rigorous scientific investigations, providing in-depth analysis and evidence-based insights into the complexities of climate change ( Cook, 2019 ; Farrell et al., 2019 ; Masson-Delmotte et al., 2021 ). In contrast, media sources serve as a bridge between scientific findings and public understanding, shaping public opinion and influencing societal actions ( Boykoff, 2009 ; Drews and Van den Bergh, 2016 ; Boykoff and Luedecke, 2017 ; Stecula and Merkley, 2019 ; Merkley, 2020 ; McAllister et al., 2021 ; Okoliko and de Wit, 2023 ). The complementary nature of academic and media sources allows for a more comprehensive communication and understanding of climate change ( Goldstein et al., 2020 ; Lewandowsky, 2021 ). Through analyzing both academic and media sources, discrepancies and gaps in climate change coverage can be identified, uncovering biases and insufficient attention to certain aspects. This analysis significantly enhances public understanding by facilitating the development of targeted communication strategies that bridge these gaps, ultimately promoting informed public debates and driving effective actions. However, it is crucial to recognize that the level of media influence on public opinion depends on the level of audience engagement with climate change discourse ( Wonneberger et al., 2020 ). Consequently, aligning academic and media coverage becomes even more essential as it enables a more accurate and balanced portrayal of climate change, thereby facilitating the implementation of necessary policies and practices to address this pressing global concern. Our findings have important implications for future research and climate communication in Chile, suggesting the need for increased attention to the challenging dimensions of climate change, such as the social dynamics and political factors associated with this global issue.

4.4. Limitations

This study has several limitations that should be taken into account when interpreting the findings. Firstly, the academic corpus only included articles published in English, while the news media corpus only included articles published in Spanish. As a result, topics' keywords had to be translated into English for comparison between corpora, which could have an effect on the results. Secondly, we selected eight Chilean electronic news media sources with high readership and free accessibility without subscription fees; however, future studies should consider including other paid subscription news media as well. Thirdly, our research does not take into account other mass media platforms that can provide information about climate change ( Tandoc and Eng, 2017 ; Becken et al., 2022 ). Future research could explore this topic further. Lastly, this study analyzed two corpora inherently different in terms of their coverage; news media tends to cover climate change from an international perspective, while academia focuses on a more local or regional level. These limitations do not diminish the significance of our findings. Our study highlights the need for better communication and dissemination of scientific findings to the general public. The findings of this study are not only relevant to Chile but also have global implications in addressing the pressing issue of climate change. It is crucial to bridge the gap between academic research and news media coverage to promote effective solutions for tackling this issue.

5. Conclusion

Through the application of text-mining, web-scraping methods, and topic-modeling techniques to an academic and news media corpus, this study has yielded valuable insights into the similarities, discrepancies, and gaps in the coverage of climate change in Chilean academic and general-interest publications. By identifying and analyzing these patterns, our research contributes to a deeper understanding of climate change coverage in Chile, providing relevant evidence that bridges the communication gap between scientific research and mainstream discourse. The integration of academic and media sources in this study has revealed their complementary nature, facilitating a more comprehensive communication and understanding of climate change. This interdisciplinary approach expands our perspective, allowing us to appreciate the multifaceted aspects associated with climate change more holistically. This study underscores the importance of considering both academic and media sources when addressing climate change. By combining the rigorous analysis of scientific research with the broader reach of media coverage, it's possible to promote a more informed and engaged public discourse on climate change.

Data availability statement

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/ Supplementary material , further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.

Author contributions

PC and RQ contributed to conception and design of the study. PC organized the database, retrieved the information, performed the analysis, and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to manuscript revision, read, and approved the submitted version.

Acknowledgments

We thank to Dr. Christos Joannides, Fredy Núñez, and Manuel Valenzuela for their feedback on previous versions of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Supplementary material

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcomm.2023.1226432/full#supplementary-material

Supplementary Table 1. Academic and news media corpora analyzed in this study.

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Keywords: climate change, academic research, news media, LDA topic modeling, text-mining, web-scrapping, Chile

Citation: Cortés PA and Quiroga R (2023) How academic research and news media cover climate change: a case study from Chile. Front. Commun. 8:1226432. doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2023.1226432

Received: 21 May 2023; Accepted: 31 July 2023; Published: 17 August 2023.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2023 Cortés and Quiroga. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Pablo A. Cortés, pablocortesgarcia@gmail.com

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Climate change in the media: public perception and the responsibility of news outlets.

  • Climate Change in the…

December 2, 2022

What makes a good news story? The news has to be compelling and relevant to your life if it is to retain your attention. With an issue so broad and long-term as global climate change and its effects, it can be difficult for news stories on the subject to be as attention-grabbing as stories on politics or crime.

How often do you hear news anchors reporting on climate change as it relates to your community? It’s likely far less often than coverage for immediate issues like crime or individual weather events. Viewers want solutions, but the dwindling local coverage of climate change is making them less visible.

An outlier in climate change coverage has emerged within the last few months: the multiple high-profile acts of vandalism in art galleries and other public venues carried out by Just Stop Oil. Sensationalized coverage of “disruptive activism” is purposefully crafted to make viewers angry, often not taking time to ask valid contextual questions (such as asking why Just Stop Oil is funded by an oil industry heiress ).

Optics is more important than ever when covering the climate justice movement. What is a healthy way to motivate the public to care about it? The tension between meaningful education and engaging headlines is a compromise that needs to be met somewhere in the middle.

Current trends

Climate change is most often discussed in the media as it relates to individual extreme weather events. Since the threat is more immediate, there is often little time to delve deeper into the issue as it relates to longer term threats including economic hardships to the Global South, corporate emissions, and biodiversity loss. There needs to be a more constant stream of smaller positive stories about climate change throughout the year so that the public is given more context for unfortunate hurricanes or droughts when they inevitably occur.

Since the Media Sphere of today is so dominated by clickbait, algorithms, and manufactured anger, it may seem like climate change is not immediate enough to earn the attention of the public. A study from Ohio State indicated that factual reporting on climate change persuaded participants in the study to support climate change policies, even ones who were climate skeptics. As much as our perception of the mass media sphere indicates that the public doesn’t care about the issue, it is clear that when presented with vetted facts, it can be swayed to support action against climate change.

Optics and the risks of “doomism”

The way we talk about climate change is just as important, if not more, as the frequency of stories. Within the last 15 years, the rhetoric of climate change coverage has shifted from “global warming” and the greenhouse effect to more emotionally charged language like “climate emergency” and “climate catastrophe.” This is effective at conveying the dangers, but does little to offer context to new viewers or solutions to those familiar with the crisis.

If answers to the problem are not offered, audiences are left with no hope for the future. A thoughtful blend of scientific background information (explaining the greenhouse effect, who are the biggest carbon emitters, etc.) and poignant real life examples (climate damages locally and globally) can catalyze meaningful action against climate change.

The recent Just Stop Oil acts of vandalism demonstrate the potential for meaningful climate activism. Regardless of their motives to allegedly discredit “true” climate activism or the ethicality of attacking priceless art, every avid reader of a major news outlet knew the names and the faces of the organizers within a day. If outlets had the same passion for more peaceful protests, much more of the public would be better informed and motivated to change their habits to combat climate change.

Focusing too hard on the threat of a greater-than-1.5-degree-warming world may also have an unintended negative effect. If not presented with attainable solutions, audiences may lose all hope and accept a catastrophic future. Climate anxiety and “doomism” are on the rise, with many young activists falling victim to a whirlpool of negative thoughts in the absence of achievable goals. Misinformation and disinformation about climate change can also get lost in the mix of doomism, causing even more confusion about the science behind climate change.

Intimidating upwards graphs and nihilistic infographics get the most engagement and can be effective at communicating the risks, but obsessing over them and wallowing in fear does nothing to inspire the public. It is better to have clear, inspiring stories and positive coverage of climate activism that do away with the potential misinformation caused by doomism.

What deserves the spotlight?

Solutions and progress in the fight against climate change are the best ways to keep the public positive and motivated. There are good steps being taken to spread awareness among existing news outlets. According to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, climate change coverage across 59 countries has increased from 47,000 articles in 2016 to 2017 to about 87,000 in 2020 to 2021. The more people talk about the realities of climate change in a positive light, the more ideas for solutions can be offered.

Continued support and awareness of peaceful climate protests will increase visibility of the issue and the priority of the world’s young people. Young climate activists like Madhvi Chittoor and Greta Thunberg are vocal of their distaste for how world leaders and the media are covering the climate crisis. Platforming those who are at the forefront of the climate justice movement is imperative to the continued improvement of the public’s view of climate activism. Coverage for more outrageous demonstrations is important, but context and nuanced discussion must be provided alongside it to not discredit climate activism as a whole.

Climate change coverage in the media should seek to inspire rather than scare or anger. Despite how engaging fear-mongering clickbait titles are, outlets should avoid feeding the doomist downward spiral many “climate inactivists” fall into. Effective climate communication requires the full picture of climate change: comprehensive backgrounds on the basic science of the greenhouse effect compared to the real world impacts of a warmer atmosphere. Only then can solutions and a path to the future be determined.

EARTHDAY.ORG’s campaign Invest In Our Planet encourages everyone to make decisions to keep the planet sustainable for countless future generations. Media literacy as it relates to climate change in the news is vital to keeping the public motivated. Our campaign invites all to support meaningful climate policy and green energy solutions the planet needs.

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Connor Russell

Connor Russell

Related stories, answering nature’s call in the boy and the heron, greenwashing: how industries lie to you, visionary black environmentalists making a difference.

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A review of the global climate change impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures

Kashif abbass.

1 School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, 210094 People’s Republic of China

Muhammad Zeeshan Qasim

2 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, School of Environmental and Biological Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Xiaolingwei 200, Nanjing, 210094 People’s Republic of China

Huaming Song

Muntasir murshed.

3 School of Business and Economics, North South University, Dhaka, 1229 Bangladesh

4 Department of Journalism, Media and Communications, Daffodil International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Haider Mahmood

5 Department of Finance, College of Business Administration, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, 173, Alkharj, 11942 Saudi Arabia

Ijaz Younis

Associated data.

Data sources and relevant links are provided in the paper to access data.

Climate change is a long-lasting change in the weather arrays across tropics to polls. It is a global threat that has embarked on to put stress on various sectors. This study is aimed to conceptually engineer how climate variability is deteriorating the sustainability of diverse sectors worldwide. Specifically, the agricultural sector’s vulnerability is a globally concerning scenario, as sufficient production and food supplies are threatened due to irreversible weather fluctuations. In turn, it is challenging the global feeding patterns, particularly in countries with agriculture as an integral part of their economy and total productivity. Climate change has also put the integrity and survival of many species at stake due to shifts in optimum temperature ranges, thereby accelerating biodiversity loss by progressively changing the ecosystem structures. Climate variations increase the likelihood of particular food and waterborne and vector-borne diseases, and a recent example is a coronavirus pandemic. Climate change also accelerates the enigma of antimicrobial resistance, another threat to human health due to the increasing incidence of resistant pathogenic infections. Besides, the global tourism industry is devastated as climate change impacts unfavorable tourism spots. The methodology investigates hypothetical scenarios of climate variability and attempts to describe the quality of evidence to facilitate readers’ careful, critical engagement. Secondary data is used to identify sustainability issues such as environmental, social, and economic viability. To better understand the problem, gathered the information in this report from various media outlets, research agencies, policy papers, newspapers, and other sources. This review is a sectorial assessment of climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches worldwide in the aforementioned sectors and the associated economic costs. According to the findings, government involvement is necessary for the country’s long-term development through strict accountability of resources and regulations implemented in the past to generate cutting-edge climate policy. Therefore, mitigating the impacts of climate change must be of the utmost importance, and hence, this global threat requires global commitment to address its dreadful implications to ensure global sustenance.

Introduction

Worldwide observed and anticipated climatic changes for the twenty-first century and global warming are significant global changes that have been encountered during the past 65 years. Climate change (CC) is an inter-governmental complex challenge globally with its influence over various components of the ecological, environmental, socio-political, and socio-economic disciplines (Adger et al.  2005 ; Leal Filho et al.  2021 ; Feliciano et al.  2022 ). Climate change involves heightened temperatures across numerous worlds (Battisti and Naylor  2009 ; Schuurmans  2021 ; Weisheimer and Palmer  2005 ; Yadav et al.  2015 ). With the onset of the industrial revolution, the problem of earth climate was amplified manifold (Leppänen et al.  2014 ). It is reported that the immediate attention and due steps might increase the probability of overcoming its devastating impacts. It is not plausible to interpret the exact consequences of climate change (CC) on a sectoral basis (Izaguirre et al.  2021 ; Jurgilevich et al.  2017 ), which is evident by the emerging level of recognition plus the inclusion of climatic uncertainties at both local and national level of policymaking (Ayers et al.  2014 ).

Climate change is characterized based on the comprehensive long-haul temperature and precipitation trends and other components such as pressure and humidity level in the surrounding environment. Besides, the irregular weather patterns, retreating of global ice sheets, and the corresponding elevated sea level rise are among the most renowned international and domestic effects of climate change (Lipczynska-Kochany  2018 ; Michel et al.  2021 ; Murshed and Dao 2020 ). Before the industrial revolution, natural sources, including volcanoes, forest fires, and seismic activities, were regarded as the distinct sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as CO 2 , CH 4 , N 2 O, and H 2 O into the atmosphere (Murshed et al. 2020 ; Hussain et al.  2020 ; Sovacool et al.  2021 ; Usman and Balsalobre-Lorente 2022 ; Murshed 2022 ). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) struck a major agreement to tackle climate change and accelerate and intensify the actions and investments required for a sustainable low-carbon future at Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris on December 12, 2015. The Paris Agreement expands on the Convention by bringing all nations together for the first time in a single cause to undertake ambitious measures to prevent climate change and adapt to its impacts, with increased funding to assist developing countries in doing so. As so, it marks a turning point in the global climate fight. The core goal of the Paris Agreement is to improve the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 °C over pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° C (Sharma et al. 2020 ; Sharif et al. 2020 ; Chien et al. 2021 .

Furthermore, the agreement aspires to strengthen nations’ ability to deal with the effects of climate change and align financing flows with low GHG emissions and climate-resilient paths (Shahbaz et al. 2019 ; Anwar et al. 2021 ; Usman et al. 2022a ). To achieve these lofty goals, adequate financial resources must be mobilized and provided, as well as a new technology framework and expanded capacity building, allowing developing countries and the most vulnerable countries to act under their respective national objectives. The agreement also establishes a more transparent action and support mechanism. All Parties are required by the Paris Agreement to do their best through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the coming years (Balsalobre-Lorente et al. 2020 ). It includes obligations that all Parties regularly report on their emissions and implementation activities. A global stock-take will be conducted every five years to review collective progress toward the agreement’s goal and inform the Parties’ future individual actions. The Paris Agreement became available for signature on April 22, 2016, Earth Day, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. On November 4, 2016, it went into effect 30 days after the so-called double threshold was met (ratification by 55 nations accounting for at least 55% of world emissions). More countries have ratified and continue to ratify the agreement since then, bringing 125 Parties in early 2017. To fully operationalize the Paris Agreement, a work program was initiated in Paris to define mechanisms, processes, and recommendations on a wide range of concerns (Murshed et al. 2021 ). Since 2016, Parties have collaborated in subsidiary bodies (APA, SBSTA, and SBI) and numerous formed entities. The Conference of the Parties functioning as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) convened for the first time in November 2016 in Marrakesh in conjunction with COP22 and made its first two resolutions. The work plan is scheduled to be finished by 2018. Some mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce the emission in the prospective of Paris agreement are following firstly, a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, secondly, to aim to limit the rise to 1.5 °C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change, thirdly, on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognizing that this will take longer for developing countries, lastly, to undertake rapid reductions after that under the best available science, to achieve a balance between emissions and removals in the second half of the century. On the other side, some adaptation strategies are; strengthening societies’ ability to deal with the effects of climate change and to continue & expand international assistance for developing nations’ adaptation.

However, anthropogenic activities are currently regarded as most accountable for CC (Murshed et al. 2022 ). Apart from the industrial revolution, other anthropogenic activities include excessive agricultural operations, which further involve the high use of fuel-based mechanization, burning of agricultural residues, burning fossil fuels, deforestation, national and domestic transportation sectors, etc. (Huang et al.  2016 ). Consequently, these anthropogenic activities lead to climatic catastrophes, damaging local and global infrastructure, human health, and total productivity. Energy consumption has mounted GHGs levels concerning warming temperatures as most of the energy production in developing countries comes from fossil fuels (Balsalobre-Lorente et al. 2022 ; Usman et al. 2022b ; Abbass et al. 2021a ; Ishikawa-Ishiwata and Furuya  2022 ).

This review aims to highlight the effects of climate change in a socio-scientific aspect by analyzing the existing literature on various sectorial pieces of evidence globally that influence the environment. Although this review provides a thorough examination of climate change and its severe affected sectors that pose a grave danger for global agriculture, biodiversity, health, economy, forestry, and tourism, and to purpose some practical prophylactic measures and mitigation strategies to be adapted as sound substitutes to survive from climate change (CC) impacts. The societal implications of irregular weather patterns and other effects of climate changes are discussed in detail. Some numerous sustainable mitigation measures and adaptation practices and techniques at the global level are discussed in this review with an in-depth focus on its economic, social, and environmental aspects. Methods of data collection section are included in the supplementary information.

Review methodology

Related study and its objectives.

Today, we live an ordinary life in the beautiful digital, globalized world where climate change has a decisive role. What happens in one country has a massive influence on geographically far apart countries, which points to the current crisis known as COVID-19 (Sarkar et al.  2021 ). The most dangerous disease like COVID-19 has affected the world’s climate changes and economic conditions (Abbass et al. 2022 ; Pirasteh-Anosheh et al.  2021 ). The purpose of the present study is to review the status of research on the subject, which is based on “Global Climate Change Impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures” by systematically reviewing past published and unpublished research work. Furthermore, the current study seeks to comment on research on the same topic and suggest future research on the same topic. Specifically, the present study aims: The first one is, organize publications to make them easy and quick to find. Secondly, to explore issues in this area, propose an outline of research for future work. The third aim of the study is to synthesize the previous literature on climate change, various sectors, and their mitigation measurement. Lastly , classify the articles according to the different methods and procedures that have been adopted.

Review methodology for reviewers

This review-based article followed systematic literature review techniques that have proved the literature review as a rigorous framework (Benita  2021 ; Tranfield et al.  2003 ). Moreover, we illustrate in Fig.  1 the search method that we have started for this research. First, finalized the research theme to search literature (Cooper et al.  2018 ). Second, used numerous research databases to search related articles and download from the database (Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus Index Journals, Emerald, Elsevier Science Direct, Springer, and Sciverse). We focused on various articles, with research articles, feedback pieces, short notes, debates, and review articles published in scholarly journals. Reports used to search for multiple keywords such as “Climate Change,” “Mitigation and Adaptation,” “Department of Agriculture and Human Health,” “Department of Biodiversity and Forestry,” etc.; in summary, keyword list and full text have been made. Initially, the search for keywords yielded a large amount of literature.

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Methodology search for finalized articles for investigations.

Source : constructed by authors

Since 2020, it has been impossible to review all the articles found; some restrictions have been set for the literature exhibition. The study searched 95 articles on a different database mentioned above based on the nature of the study. It excluded 40 irrelevant papers due to copied from a previous search after readings tiles, abstract and full pieces. The criteria for inclusion were: (i) articles focused on “Global Climate Change Impacts, adaptation, and sustainable mitigation measures,” and (ii) the search key terms related to study requirements. The complete procedure yielded 55 articles for our study. We repeat our search on the “Web of Science and Google Scholars” database to enhance the search results and check the referenced articles.

In this study, 55 articles are reviewed systematically and analyzed for research topics and other aspects, such as the methods, contexts, and theories used in these studies. Furthermore, this study analyzes closely related areas to provide unique research opportunities in the future. The study also discussed future direction opportunities and research questions by understanding the research findings climate changes and other affected sectors. The reviewed paper framework analysis process is outlined in Fig.  2 .

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Framework of the analysis Process.

Natural disasters and climate change’s socio-economic consequences

Natural and environmental disasters can be highly variable from year to year; some years pass with very few deaths before a significant disaster event claims many lives (Symanski et al.  2021 ). Approximately 60,000 people globally died from natural disasters each year on average over the past decade (Ritchie and Roser  2014 ; Wiranata and Simbolon  2021 ). So, according to the report, around 0.1% of global deaths. Annual variability in the number and share of deaths from natural disasters in recent decades are shown in Fig.  3 . The number of fatalities can be meager—sometimes less than 10,000, and as few as 0.01% of all deaths. But shock events have a devastating impact: the 1983–1985 famine and drought in Ethiopia; the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami; Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar in 2008; and the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake in Haiti and now recent example is COVID-19 pandemic (Erman et al.  2021 ). These events pushed global disaster deaths to over 200,000—more than 0.4% of deaths in these years. Low-frequency, high-impact events such as earthquakes and tsunamis are not preventable, but such high losses of human life are. Historical evidence shows that earlier disaster detection, more robust infrastructure, emergency preparedness, and response programmers have substantially reduced disaster deaths worldwide. Low-income is also the most vulnerable to disasters; improving living conditions, facilities, and response services in these areas would be critical in reducing natural disaster deaths in the coming decades.

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Global deaths from natural disasters, 1978 to 2020.

Source EMDAT ( 2020 )

The interior regions of the continent are likely to be impacted by rising temperatures (Dimri et al.  2018 ; Goes et al.  2020 ; Mannig et al.  2018 ; Schuurmans  2021 ). Weather patterns change due to the shortage of natural resources (water), increase in glacier melting, and rising mercury are likely to cause extinction to many planted species (Gampe et al.  2016 ; Mihiretu et al.  2021 ; Shaffril et al.  2018 ).On the other hand, the coastal ecosystem is on the verge of devastation (Perera et al.  2018 ; Phillips  2018 ). The temperature rises, insect disease outbreaks, health-related problems, and seasonal and lifestyle changes are persistent, with a strong probability of these patterns continuing in the future (Abbass et al. 2021c ; Hussain et al.  2018 ). At the global level, a shortage of good infrastructure and insufficient adaptive capacity are hammering the most (IPCC  2013 ). In addition to the above concerns, a lack of environmental education and knowledge, outdated consumer behavior, a scarcity of incentives, a lack of legislation, and the government’s lack of commitment to climate change contribute to the general public’s concerns. By 2050, a 2 to 3% rise in mercury and a drastic shift in rainfall patterns may have serious consequences (Huang et al. 2022 ; Gorst et al.  2018 ). Natural and environmental calamities caused huge losses globally, such as decreased agriculture outputs, rehabilitation of the system, and rebuilding necessary technologies (Ali and Erenstein  2017 ; Ramankutty et al.  2018 ; Yu et al.  2021 ) (Table ​ (Table1). 1 ). Furthermore, in the last 3 or 4 years, the world has been plagued by smog-related eye and skin diseases, as well as a rise in road accidents due to poor visibility.

Main natural danger statistics for 1985–2020 at the global level

Source: EM-DAT ( 2020 )

Climate change and agriculture

Global agriculture is the ultimate sector responsible for 30–40% of all greenhouse emissions, which makes it a leading industry predominantly contributing to climate warming and significantly impacted by it (Grieg; Mishra et al.  2021 ; Ortiz et al.  2021 ; Thornton and Lipper  2014 ). Numerous agro-environmental and climatic factors that have a dominant influence on agriculture productivity (Pautasso et al.  2012 ) are significantly impacted in response to precipitation extremes including floods, forest fires, and droughts (Huang  2004 ). Besides, the immense dependency on exhaustible resources also fuels the fire and leads global agriculture to become prone to devastation. Godfray et al. ( 2010 ) mentioned that decline in agriculture challenges the farmer’s quality of life and thus a significant factor to poverty as the food and water supplies are critically impacted by CC (Ortiz et al.  2021 ; Rosenzweig et al.  2014 ). As an essential part of the economic systems, especially in developing countries, agricultural systems affect the overall economy and potentially the well-being of households (Schlenker and Roberts  2009 ). According to the report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, i.e., CH 4, CO 2 , and N 2 O, are increased in the air to extraordinary levels over the last few centuries (Usman and Makhdum 2021 ; Stocker et al.  2013 ). Climate change is the composite outcome of two different factors. The first is the natural causes, and the second is the anthropogenic actions (Karami 2012 ). It is also forecasted that the world may experience a typical rise in temperature stretching from 1 to 3.7 °C at the end of this century (Pachauri et al. 2014 ). The world’s crop production is also highly vulnerable to these global temperature-changing trends as raised temperatures will pose severe negative impacts on crop growth (Reidsma et al. 2009 ). Some of the recent modeling about the fate of global agriculture is briefly described below.

Decline in cereal productivity

Crop productivity will also be affected dramatically in the next few decades due to variations in integral abiotic factors such as temperature, solar radiation, precipitation, and CO 2 . These all factors are included in various regulatory instruments like progress and growth, weather-tempted changes, pest invasions (Cammell and Knight 1992 ), accompanying disease snags (Fand et al. 2012 ), water supplies (Panda et al. 2003 ), high prices of agro-products in world’s agriculture industry, and preeminent quantity of fertilizer consumption. Lobell and field ( 2007 ) claimed that from 1962 to 2002, wheat crop output had condensed significantly due to rising temperatures. Therefore, during 1980–2011, the common wheat productivity trends endorsed extreme temperature events confirmed by Gourdji et al. ( 2013 ) around South Asia, South America, and Central Asia. Various other studies (Asseng, Cao, Zhang, and Ludwig 2009 ; Asseng et al. 2013 ; García et al. 2015 ; Ortiz et al. 2021 ) also proved that wheat output is negatively affected by the rising temperatures and also caused adverse effects on biomass productivity (Calderini et al. 1999 ; Sadras and Slafer 2012 ). Hereafter, the rice crop is also influenced by the high temperatures at night. These difficulties will worsen because the temperature will be rising further in the future owing to CC (Tebaldi et al. 2006 ). Another research conducted in China revealed that a 4.6% of rice production per 1 °C has happened connected with the advancement in night temperatures (Tao et al. 2006 ). Moreover, the average night temperature growth also affected rice indicia cultivar’s output pragmatically during 25 years in the Philippines (Peng et al. 2004 ). It is anticipated that the increase in world average temperature will also cause a substantial reduction in yield (Hatfield et al. 2011 ; Lobell and Gourdji 2012 ). In the southern hemisphere, Parry et al. ( 2007 ) noted a rise of 1–4 °C in average daily temperatures at the end of spring season unti the middle of summers, and this raised temperature reduced crop output by cutting down the time length for phenophases eventually reduce the yield (Hatfield and Prueger 2015 ; R. Ortiz 2008 ). Also, world climate models have recommended that humid and subtropical regions expect to be plentiful prey to the upcoming heat strokes (Battisti and Naylor 2009 ). Grain production is the amalgamation of two constituents: the average weight and the grain output/m 2 , however, in crop production. Crop output is mainly accredited to the grain quantity (Araus et al. 2008 ; Gambín and Borrás 2010 ). In the times of grain set, yield resources are mainly strewn between hitherto defined components, i.e., grain usual weight and grain output, which presents a trade-off between them (Gambín and Borrás 2010 ) beside disparities in per grain integration (B. L. Gambín et al. 2006 ). In addition to this, the maize crop is also susceptible to raised temperatures, principally in the flowering stage (Edreira and Otegui 2013 ). In reality, the lower grain number is associated with insufficient acclimatization due to intense photosynthesis and higher respiration and the high-temperature effect on the reproduction phenomena (Edreira and Otegui 2013 ). During the flowering phase, maize visible to heat (30–36 °C) seemed less anthesis-silking intermissions (Edreira et al. 2011 ). Another research by Dupuis and Dumas ( 1990 ) proved that a drop in spikelet when directly visible to high temperatures above 35 °C in vitro pollination. Abnormalities in kernel number claimed by Vega et al. ( 2001 ) is related to conceded plant development during a flowering phase that is linked with the active ear growth phase and categorized as a critical phase for approximation of kernel number during silking (Otegui and Bonhomme 1998 ).

The retort of rice output to high temperature presents disparities in flowering patterns, and seed set lessens and lessens grain weight (Qasim et al. 2020 ; Qasim, Hammad, Maqsood, Tariq, & Chawla). During the daytime, heat directly impacts flowers which lessens the thesis period and quickens the earlier peak flowering (Tao et al. 2006 ). Antagonistic effect of higher daytime temperature d on pollen sprouting proposed seed set decay, whereas, seed set was lengthily reduced than could be explicated by pollen growing at high temperatures 40◦C (Matsui et al. 2001 ).

The decline in wheat output is linked with higher temperatures, confirmed in numerous studies (Semenov 2009 ; Stone and Nicolas 1994 ). High temperatures fast-track the arrangements of plant expansion (Blum et al. 2001 ), diminution photosynthetic process (Salvucci and Crafts‐Brandner 2004 ), and also considerably affect the reproductive operations (Farooq et al. 2011 ).

The destructive impacts of CC induced weather extremes to deteriorate the integrity of crops (Chaudhary et al. 2011 ), e.g., Spartan cold and extreme fog cause falling and discoloration of betel leaves (Rosenzweig et al. 2001 ), giving them a somehow reddish appearance, squeezing of lemon leaves (Pautasso et al. 2012 ), as well as root rot of pineapple, have reported (Vedwan and Rhoades 2001 ). Henceforth, in tackling the disruptive effects of CC, several short-term and long-term management approaches are the crucial need of time (Fig.  4 ). Moreover, various studies (Chaudhary et al. 2011 ; Patz et al. 2005 ; Pautasso et al. 2012 ) have demonstrated adapting trends such as ameliorating crop diversity can yield better adaptability towards CC.

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Schematic description of potential impacts of climate change on the agriculture sector and the appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures to overcome its impact.

Climate change impacts on biodiversity

Global biodiversity is among the severe victims of CC because it is the fastest emerging cause of species loss. Studies demonstrated that the massive scale species dynamics are considerably associated with diverse climatic events (Abraham and Chain 1988 ; Manes et al. 2021 ; A. M. D. Ortiz et al. 2021 ). Both the pace and magnitude of CC are altering the compatible habitat ranges for living entities of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial regions. Alterations in general climate regimes influence the integrity of ecosystems in numerous ways, such as variation in the relative abundance of species, range shifts, changes in activity timing, and microhabitat use (Bates et al. 2014 ). The geographic distribution of any species often depends upon its ability to tolerate environmental stresses, biological interactions, and dispersal constraints. Hence, instead of the CC, the local species must only accept, adapt, move, or face extinction (Berg et al. 2010 ). So, the best performer species have a better survival capacity for adjusting to new ecosystems or a decreased perseverance to survive where they are already situated (Bates et al. 2014 ). An important aspect here is the inadequate habitat connectivity and access to microclimates, also crucial in raising the exposure to climate warming and extreme heatwave episodes. For example, the carbon sequestration rates are undergoing fluctuations due to climate-driven expansion in the range of global mangroves (Cavanaugh et al. 2014 ).

Similarly, the loss of kelp-forest ecosystems in various regions and its occupancy by the seaweed turfs has set the track for elevated herbivory by the high influx of tropical fish populations. Not only this, the increased water temperatures have exacerbated the conditions far away from the physiological tolerance level of the kelp communities (Vergés et al. 2016 ; Wernberg et al. 2016 ). Another pertinent danger is the devastation of keystone species, which even has more pervasive effects on the entire communities in that habitat (Zarnetske et al. 2012 ). It is particularly important as CC does not specify specific populations or communities. Eventually, this CC-induced redistribution of species may deteriorate carbon storage and the net ecosystem productivity (Weed et al. 2013 ). Among the typical disruptions, the prominent ones include impacts on marine and terrestrial productivity, marine community assembly, and the extended invasion of toxic cyanobacteria bloom (Fossheim et al. 2015 ).

The CC-impacted species extinction is widely reported in the literature (Beesley et al. 2019 ; Urban 2015 ), and the predictions of demise until the twenty-first century are dreadful (Abbass et al. 2019 ; Pereira et al. 2013 ). In a few cases, northward shifting of species may not be formidable as it allows mountain-dwelling species to find optimum climates. However, the migrant species may be trapped in isolated and incompatible habitats due to losing topography and range (Dullinger et al. 2012 ). For example, a study indicated that the American pika has been extirpated or intensely diminished in some regions, primarily attributed to the CC-impacted extinction or at least local extirpation (Stewart et al. 2015 ). Besides, the anticipation of persistent responses to the impacts of CC often requires data records of several decades to rigorously analyze the critical pre and post CC patterns at species and ecosystem levels (Manes et al. 2021 ; Testa et al. 2018 ).

Nonetheless, the availability of such long-term data records is rare; hence, attempts are needed to focus on these profound aspects. Biodiversity is also vulnerable to the other associated impacts of CC, such as rising temperatures, droughts, and certain invasive pest species. For instance, a study revealed the changes in the composition of plankton communities attributed to rising temperatures. Henceforth, alterations in such aquatic producer communities, i.e., diatoms and calcareous plants, can ultimately lead to variation in the recycling of biological carbon. Moreover, such changes are characterized as a potential contributor to CO 2 differences between the Pleistocene glacial and interglacial periods (Kohfeld et al. 2005 ).

Climate change implications on human health

It is an understood corporality that human health is a significant victim of CC (Costello et al. 2009 ). According to the WHO, CC might be responsible for 250,000 additional deaths per year during 2030–2050 (Watts et al. 2015 ). These deaths are attributed to extreme weather-induced mortality and morbidity and the global expansion of vector-borne diseases (Lemery et al. 2021; Yang and Usman 2021 ; Meierrieks 2021 ; UNEP 2017 ). Here, some of the emerging health issues pertinent to this global problem are briefly described.

Climate change and antimicrobial resistance with corresponding economic costs

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an up-surging complex global health challenge (Garner et al. 2019 ; Lemery et al. 2021 ). Health professionals across the globe are extremely worried due to this phenomenon that has critical potential to reverse almost all the progress that has been achieved so far in the health discipline (Gosling and Arnell 2016 ). A massive amount of antibiotics is produced by many pharmaceutical industries worldwide, and the pathogenic microorganisms are gradually developing resistance to them, which can be comprehended how strongly this aspect can shake the foundations of national and global economies (UNEP 2017 ). This statement is supported by the fact that AMR is not developing in a particular region or country. Instead, it is flourishing in every continent of the world (WHO 2018 ). This plague is heavily pushing humanity to the post-antibiotic era, in which currently antibiotic-susceptible pathogens will once again lead to certain endemics and pandemics after being resistant(WHO 2018 ). Undesirably, if this statement would become a factuality, there might emerge certain risks in undertaking sophisticated interventions such as chemotherapy, joint replacement cases, and organ transplantation (Su et al. 2018 ). Presently, the amplification of drug resistance cases has made common illnesses like pneumonia, post-surgical infections, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, etc., too difficult and costly to be treated or cure well (WHO 2018 ). From a simple example, it can be assumed how easily antibiotic-resistant strains can be transmitted from one person to another and ultimately travel across the boundaries (Berendonk et al. 2015 ). Talking about the second- and third-generation classes of antibiotics, e.g., most renowned generations of cephalosporin antibiotics that are more expensive, broad-spectrum, more toxic, and usually require more extended periods whenever prescribed to patients (Lemery et al. 2021 ; Pärnänen et al. 2019 ). This scenario has also revealed that the abundance of resistant strains of pathogens was also higher in the Southern part (WHO 2018 ). As southern parts are generally warmer than their counterparts, it is evident from this example how CC-induced global warming can augment the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains within the biosphere, eventually putting additional economic burden in the face of developing new and costlier antibiotics. The ARG exchange to susceptible bacteria through one of the potential mechanisms, transformation, transduction, and conjugation; Selection pressure can be caused by certain antibiotics, metals or pesticides, etc., as shown in Fig.  5 .

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A typical interaction between the susceptible and resistant strains.

Source: Elsayed et al. ( 2021 ); Karkman et al. ( 2018 )

Certain studies highlighted that conventional urban wastewater treatment plants are typical hotspots where most bacterial strains exchange genetic material through horizontal gene transfer (Fig.  5 ). Although at present, the extent of risks associated with the antibiotic resistance found in wastewater is complicated; environmental scientists and engineers have particular concerns about the potential impacts of these antibiotic resistance genes on human health (Ashbolt 2015 ). At most undesirable and worst case, these antibiotic-resistant genes containing bacteria can make their way to enter into the environment (Pruden et al. 2013 ), irrigation water used for crops and public water supplies and ultimately become a part of food chains and food webs (Ma et al. 2019 ; D. Wu et al. 2019 ). This problem has been reported manifold in several countries (Hendriksen et al. 2019 ), where wastewater as a means of irrigated water is quite common.

Climate change and vector borne-diseases

Temperature is a fundamental factor for the sustenance of living entities regardless of an ecosystem. So, a specific living being, especially a pathogen, requires a sophisticated temperature range to exist on earth. The second essential component of CC is precipitation, which also impacts numerous infectious agents’ transport and dissemination patterns. Global rising temperature is a significant cause of many species extinction. On the one hand, this changing environmental temperature may be causing species extinction, and on the other, this warming temperature might favor the thriving of some new organisms. Here, it was evident that some pathogens may also upraise once non-evident or reported (Patz et al. 2000 ). This concept can be exemplified through certain pathogenic strains of microorganisms that how the likelihood of various diseases increases in response to climate warming-induced environmental changes (Table ​ (Table2 2 ).

Examples of how various environmental changes affect various infectious diseases in humans

Source: Aron and Patz ( 2001 )

A recent example is an outburst of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Republic of China, causing pneumonia and severe acute respiratory complications (Cui et al. 2021 ; Song et al. 2021 ). The large family of viruses is harbored in numerous animals, bats, and snakes in particular (livescience.com) with the subsequent transfer into human beings. Hence, it is worth noting that the thriving of numerous vectors involved in spreading various diseases is influenced by Climate change (Ogden 2018 ; Santos et al. 2021 ).

Psychological impacts of climate change

Climate change (CC) is responsible for the rapid dissemination and exaggeration of certain epidemics and pandemics. In addition to the vast apparent impacts of climate change on health, forestry, agriculture, etc., it may also have psychological implications on vulnerable societies. It can be exemplified through the recent outburst of (COVID-19) in various countries around the world (Pal 2021 ). Besides, the victims of this viral infection have made healthy beings scarier and terrified. In the wake of such epidemics, people with common colds or fever are also frightened and must pass specific regulatory protocols. Living in such situations continuously terrifies the public and makes the stress familiar, which eventually makes them psychologically weak (npr.org).

CC boosts the extent of anxiety, distress, and other issues in public, pushing them to develop various mental-related problems. Besides, frequent exposure to extreme climatic catastrophes such as geological disasters also imprints post-traumatic disorder, and their ubiquitous occurrence paves the way to developing chronic psychological dysfunction. Moreover, repetitive listening from media also causes an increase in the person’s stress level (Association 2020 ). Similarly, communities living in flood-prone areas constantly live in extreme fear of drowning and die by floods. In addition to human lives, the flood-induced destruction of physical infrastructure is a specific reason for putting pressure on these communities (Ogden 2018 ). For instance, Ogden ( 2018 ) comprehensively denoted that Katrina’s Hurricane augmented the mental health issues in the victim communities.

Climate change impacts on the forestry sector

Forests are the global regulators of the world’s climate (FAO 2018 ) and have an indispensable role in regulating global carbon and nitrogen cycles (Rehman et al. 2021 ; Reichstein and Carvalhais 2019 ). Hence, disturbances in forest ecology affect the micro and macro-climates (Ellison et al. 2017 ). Climate warming, in return, has profound impacts on the growth and productivity of transboundary forests by influencing the temperature and precipitation patterns, etc. As CC induces specific changes in the typical structure and functions of ecosystems (Zhang et al. 2017 ) as well impacts forest health, climate change also has several devastating consequences such as forest fires, droughts, pest outbreaks (EPA 2018 ), and last but not the least is the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. The rising frequency and intensity of another CC product, i.e., droughts, pose plenty of challenges to the well-being of global forests (Diffenbaugh et al. 2017 ), which is further projected to increase soon (Hartmann et al. 2018 ; Lehner et al. 2017 ; Rehman et al. 2021 ). Hence, CC induces storms, with more significant impacts also put extra pressure on the survival of the global forests (Martínez-Alvarado et al. 2018 ), significantly since their influences are augmented during higher winter precipitations with corresponding wetter soils causing weak root anchorage of trees (Brázdil et al. 2018 ). Surging temperature regimes causes alterations in usual precipitation patterns, which is a significant hurdle for the survival of temperate forests (Allen et al. 2010 ; Flannigan et al. 2013 ), letting them encounter severe stress and disturbances which adversely affects the local tree species (Hubbart et al. 2016 ; Millar and Stephenson 2015 ; Rehman et al. 2021 ).

Climate change impacts on forest-dependent communities

Forests are the fundamental livelihood resource for about 1.6 billion people worldwide; out of them, 350 million are distinguished with relatively higher reliance (Bank 2008 ). Agro-forestry-dependent communities comprise 1.2 billion, and 60 million indigenous people solely rely on forests and their products to sustain their lives (Sunderlin et al. 2005 ). For example, in the entire African continent, more than 2/3rd of inhabitants depend on forest resources and woodlands for their alimonies, e.g., food, fuelwood and grazing (Wasiq and Ahmad 2004 ). The livings of these people are more intensely affected by the climatic disruptions making their lives harder (Brown et al. 2014 ). On the one hand, forest communities are incredibly vulnerable to CC due to their livelihoods, cultural and spiritual ties as well as socio-ecological connections, and on the other, they are not familiar with the term “climate change.” (Rahman and Alam 2016 ). Among the destructive impacts of temperature and rainfall, disruption of the agroforestry crops with resultant downscale growth and yield (Macchi et al. 2008 ). Cruz ( 2015 ) ascribed that forest-dependent smallholder farmers in the Philippines face the enigma of delayed fruiting, more severe damages by insect and pest incidences due to unfavorable temperature regimes, and changed rainfall patterns.

Among these series of challenges to forest communities, their well-being is also distinctly vulnerable to CC. Though the detailed climate change impacts on human health have been comprehensively mentioned in the previous section, some studies have listed a few more devastating effects on the prosperity of forest-dependent communities. For instance, the Himalayan people have been experiencing frequent skin-borne diseases such as malaria and other skin diseases due to increasing mosquitoes, wild boar as well, and new wasps species, particularly in higher altitudes that were almost non-existent before last 5–10 years (Xu et al. 2008 ). Similarly, people living at high altitudes in Bangladesh have experienced frequent mosquito-borne calamities (Fardous; Sharma 2012 ). In addition, the pace of other waterborne diseases such as infectious diarrhea, cholera, pathogenic induced abdominal complications and dengue has also been boosted in other distinguished regions of Bangladesh (Cell 2009 ; Gunter et al. 2008 ).

Pest outbreak

Upscaling hotter climate may positively affect the mobile organisms with shorter generation times because they can scurry from harsh conditions than the immobile species (Fettig et al. 2013 ; Schoene and Bernier 2012 ) and are also relatively more capable of adapting to new environments (Jactel et al. 2019 ). It reveals that insects adapt quickly to global warming due to their mobility advantages. Due to past outbreaks, the trees (forests) are relatively more susceptible victims (Kurz et al. 2008 ). Before CC, the influence of factors mentioned earlier, i.e., droughts and storms, was existent and made the forests susceptible to insect pest interventions; however, the global forests remain steadfast, assiduous, and green (Jactel et al. 2019 ). The typical reasons could be the insect herbivores were regulated by several tree defenses and pressures of predation (Wilkinson and Sherratt 2016 ). As climate greatly influences these phenomena, the global forests cannot be so sedulous against such challenges (Jactel et al. 2019 ). Table ​ Table3 3 demonstrates some of the particular considerations with practical examples that are essential while mitigating the impacts of CC in the forestry sector.

Essential considerations while mitigating the climate change impacts on the forestry sector

Source : Fischer ( 2019 )

Climate change impacts on tourism

Tourism is a commercial activity that has roots in multi-dimensions and an efficient tool with adequate job generation potential, revenue creation, earning of spectacular foreign exchange, enhancement in cross-cultural promulgation and cooperation, a business tool for entrepreneurs and eventually for the country’s national development (Arshad et al. 2018 ; Scott 2021 ). Among a plethora of other disciplines, the tourism industry is also a distinct victim of climate warming (Gössling et al. 2012 ; Hall et al. 2015 ) as the climate is among the essential resources that enable tourism in particular regions as most preferred locations. Different places at different times of the year attract tourists both within and across the countries depending upon the feasibility and compatibility of particular weather patterns. Hence, the massive variations in these weather patterns resulting from CC will eventually lead to monumental challenges to the local economy in that specific area’s particular and national economy (Bujosa et al. 2015 ). For instance, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report demonstrated that the global tourism industry had faced a considerable decline in the duration of ski season, including the loss of some ski areas and the dramatic shifts in tourist destinations’ climate warming.

Furthermore, different studies (Neuvonen et al. 2015 ; Scott et al. 2004 ) indicated that various currently perfect tourist spots, e.g., coastal areas, splendid islands, and ski resorts, will suffer consequences of CC. It is also worth noting that the quality and potential of administrative management potential to cope with the influence of CC on the tourism industry is of crucial significance, which renders specific strengths of resiliency to numerous destinations to withstand against it (Füssel and Hildén 2014 ). Similarly, in the partial or complete absence of adequate socio-economic and socio-political capital, the high-demanding tourist sites scurry towards the verge of vulnerability. The susceptibility of tourism is based on different components such as the extent of exposure, sensitivity, life-supporting sectors, and capacity assessment factors (Füssel and Hildén 2014 ). It is obvious corporality that sectors such as health, food, ecosystems, human habitat, infrastructure, water availability, and the accessibility of a particular region are prone to CC. Henceforth, the sensitivity of these critical sectors to CC and, in return, the adaptive measures are a hallmark in determining the composite vulnerability of climate warming (Ionescu et al. 2009 ).

Moreover, the dependence on imported food items, poor hygienic conditions, and inadequate health professionals are dominant aspects affecting the local terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Meanwhile, the greater dependency on ecosystem services and its products also makes a destination more fragile to become a prey of CC (Rizvi et al. 2015 ). Some significant non-climatic factors are important indicators of a particular ecosystem’s typical health and functioning, e.g., resource richness and abundance portray the picture of ecosystem stability. Similarly, the species abundance is also a productive tool that ensures that the ecosystem has a higher buffering capacity, which is terrific in terms of resiliency (Roscher et al. 2013 ).

Climate change impacts on the economic sector

Climate plays a significant role in overall productivity and economic growth. Due to its increasingly global existence and its effect on economic growth, CC has become one of the major concerns of both local and international environmental policymakers (Ferreira et al. 2020 ; Gleditsch 2021 ; Abbass et al. 2021b ; Lamperti et al. 2021 ). The adverse effects of CC on the overall productivity factor of the agricultural sector are therefore significant for understanding the creation of local adaptation policies and the composition of productive climate policy contracts. Previous studies on CC in the world have already forecasted its effects on the agricultural sector. Researchers have found that global CC will impact the agricultural sector in different world regions. The study of the impacts of CC on various agrarian activities in other demographic areas and the development of relative strategies to respond to effects has become a focal point for researchers (Chandioet al. 2020 ; Gleditsch 2021 ; Mosavi et al. 2020 ).

With the rapid growth of global warming since the 1980s, the temperature has started increasing globally, which resulted in the incredible transformation of rain and evaporation in the countries. The agricultural development of many countries has been reliant, delicate, and susceptible to CC for a long time, and it is on the development of agriculture total factor productivity (ATFP) influence different crops and yields of farmers (Alhassan 2021 ; Wu  2020 ).

Food security and natural disasters are increasing rapidly in the world. Several major climatic/natural disasters have impacted local crop production in the countries concerned. The effects of these natural disasters have been poorly controlled by the development of the economies and populations and may affect human life as well. One example is China, which is among the world’s most affected countries, vulnerable to natural disasters due to its large population, harsh environmental conditions, rapid CC, low environmental stability, and disaster power. According to the January 2016 statistical survey, China experienced an economic loss of 298.3 billion Yuan, and about 137 million Chinese people were severely affected by various natural disasters (Xie et al. 2018 ).

Mitigation and adaptation strategies of climate changes

Adaptation and mitigation are the crucial factors to address the response to CC (Jahanzad et al. 2020 ). Researchers define mitigation on climate changes, and on the other hand, adaptation directly impacts climate changes like floods. To some extent, mitigation reduces or moderates greenhouse gas emission, and it becomes a critical issue both economically and environmentally (Botzen et al. 2021 ; Jahanzad et al. 2020 ; Kongsager 2018 ; Smit et al. 2000 ; Vale et al. 2021 ; Usman et al. 2021 ; Verheyen 2005 ).

Researchers have deep concern about the adaptation and mitigation methodologies in sectoral and geographical contexts. Agriculture, industry, forestry, transport, and land use are the main sectors to adapt and mitigate policies(Kärkkäinen et al. 2020 ; Waheed et al. 2021 ). Adaptation and mitigation require particular concern both at the national and international levels. The world has faced a significant problem of climate change in the last decades, and adaptation to these effects is compulsory for economic and social development. To adapt and mitigate against CC, one should develop policies and strategies at the international level (Hussain et al. 2020 ). Figure  6 depicts the list of current studies on sectoral impacts of CC with adaptation and mitigation measures globally.

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Sectoral impacts of climate change with adaptation and mitigation measures.

Conclusion and future perspectives

Specific socio-agricultural, socio-economic, and physical systems are the cornerstone of psychological well-being, and the alteration in these systems by CC will have disastrous impacts. Climate variability, alongside other anthropogenic and natural stressors, influences human and environmental health sustainability. Food security is another concerning scenario that may lead to compromised food quality, higher food prices, and inadequate food distribution systems. Global forests are challenged by different climatic factors such as storms, droughts, flash floods, and intense precipitation. On the other hand, their anthropogenic wiping is aggrandizing their existence. Undoubtedly, the vulnerability scale of the world’s regions differs; however, appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures can aid the decision-making bodies in developing effective policies to tackle its impacts. Presently, modern life on earth has tailored to consistent climatic patterns, and accordingly, adapting to such considerable variations is of paramount importance. Because the faster changes in climate will make it harder to survive and adjust, this globally-raising enigma calls for immediate attention at every scale ranging from elementary community level to international level. Still, much effort, research, and dedication are required, which is the most critical time. Some policy implications can help us to mitigate the consequences of climate change, especially the most affected sectors like the agriculture sector;

Warming might lengthen the season in frost-prone growing regions (temperate and arctic zones), allowing for longer-maturing seasonal cultivars with better yields (Pfadenhauer 2020 ; Bonacci 2019 ). Extending the planting season may allow additional crops each year; when warming leads to frequent warmer months highs over critical thresholds, a split season with a brief summer fallow may be conceivable for short-period crops such as wheat barley, cereals, and many other vegetable crops. The capacity to prolong the planting season in tropical and subtropical places where the harvest season is constrained by precipitation or agriculture farming occurs after the year may be more limited and dependent on how precipitation patterns vary (Wu et al. 2017 ).

The genetic component is comprehensive for many yields, but it is restricted like kiwi fruit for a few. Ali et al. ( 2017 ) investigated how new crops will react to climatic changes (also stated in Mall et al. 2017 ). Hot temperature, drought, insect resistance; salt tolerance; and overall crop production and product quality increases would all be advantageous (Akkari 2016 ). Genetic mapping and engineering can introduce a greater spectrum of features. The adoption of genetically altered cultivars has been slowed, particularly in the early forecasts owing to the complexity in ensuring features are expediently expressed throughout the entire plant, customer concerns, economic profitability, and regulatory impediments (Wirehn 2018 ; Davidson et al. 2016 ).

To get the full benefit of the CO 2 would certainly require additional nitrogen and other fertilizers. Nitrogen not consumed by the plants may be excreted into groundwater, discharged into water surface, or emitted from the land, soil nitrous oxide when large doses of fertilizer are sprayed. Increased nitrogen levels in groundwater sources have been related to human chronic illnesses and impact marine ecosystems. Cultivation, grain drying, and other field activities have all been examined in depth in the studies (Barua et al. 2018 ).

  • The technological and socio-economic adaptation

The policy consequence of the causative conclusion is that as a source of alternative energy, biofuel production is one of the routes that explain oil price volatility separate from international macroeconomic factors. Even though biofuel production has just begun in a few sample nations, there is still a tremendous worldwide need for feedstock to satisfy industrial expansion in China and the USA, which explains the food price relationship to the global oil price. Essentially, oil-exporting countries may create incentives in their economies to increase food production. It may accomplish by giving farmers financing, seedlings, fertilizers, and farming equipment. Because of the declining global oil price and, as a result, their earnings from oil export, oil-producing nations may be unable to subsidize food imports even in the near term. As a result, these countries can boost the agricultural value chain for export. It may be accomplished through R&D and adding value to their food products to increase income by correcting exchange rate misalignment and adverse trade terms. These nations may also diversify their economies away from oil, as dependence on oil exports alone is no longer economically viable given the extreme volatility of global oil prices. Finally, resource-rich and oil-exporting countries can convert to non-food renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, coal, wind, wave, and tidal energy. By doing so, both world food and oil supplies would be maintained rather than harmed.

IRENA’s modeling work shows that, if a comprehensive policy framework is in place, efforts toward decarbonizing the energy future will benefit economic activity, jobs (outweighing losses in the fossil fuel industry), and welfare. Countries with weak domestic supply chains and a large reliance on fossil fuel income, in particular, must undertake structural reforms to capitalize on the opportunities inherent in the energy transition. Governments continue to give major policy assistance to extract fossil fuels, including tax incentives, financing, direct infrastructure expenditures, exemptions from environmental regulations, and other measures. The majority of major oil and gas producing countries intend to increase output. Some countries intend to cut coal output, while others plan to maintain or expand it. While some nations are beginning to explore and execute policies aimed at a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuel production, these efforts have yet to impact major producing countries’ plans and goals. Verifiable and comparable data on fossil fuel output and assistance from governments and industries are critical to closing the production gap. Governments could increase openness by declaring their production intentions in their climate obligations under the Paris Agreement.

It is firmly believed that achieving the Paris Agreement commitments is doubtlful without undergoing renewable energy transition across the globe (Murshed 2020 ; Zhao et al. 2022 ). Policy instruments play the most important role in determining the degree of investment in renewable energy technology. This study examines the efficacy of various policy strategies in the renewable energy industry of multiple nations. Although its impact is more visible in established renewable energy markets, a renewable portfolio standard is also a useful policy instrument. The cost of producing renewable energy is still greater than other traditional energy sources. Furthermore, government incentives in the R&D sector can foster innovation in this field, resulting in cost reductions in the renewable energy industry. These nations may export their technologies and share their policy experiences by forming networks among their renewable energy-focused organizations. All policy measures aim to reduce production costs while increasing the proportion of renewables to a country’s energy system. Meanwhile, long-term contracts with renewable energy providers, government commitment and control, and the establishment of long-term goals can assist developing nations in deploying renewable energy technology in their energy sector.

Author contribution

KA: Writing the original manuscript, data collection, data analysis, Study design, Formal analysis, Visualization, Revised draft, Writing-review, and editing. MZQ: Writing the original manuscript, data collection, data analysis, Writing-review, and editing. HS: Contribution to the contextualization of the theme, Conceptualization, Validation, Supervision, literature review, Revised drapt, and writing review and editing. MM: Writing review and editing, compiling the literature review, language editing. HM: Writing review and editing, compiling the literature review, language editing. IY: Contribution to the contextualization of the theme, literature review, and writing review and editing.

Availability of data and material

Declarations.

Not applicable.

The authors declare no competing interests.

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Contributor Information

Kashif Abbass, Email: nc.ude.tsujn@ssabbafihsak .

Muhammad Zeeshan Qasim, Email: moc.kooltuo@888misaqnahseez .

Huaming Song, Email: nc.ude.tsujn@gnimauh .

Muntasir Murshed, Email: [email protected] .

Haider Mahmood, Email: moc.liamtoh@doomhamrediah .

Ijaz Younis, Email: nc.ude.tsujn@sinuoyzaji .

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Critical Media Literacy

Climate change and environmental justice.

  • Critical Media Literacy Research Guide
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  • Photography and Visual Literacy
  • Race and Racism
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Institutes, Museums, Research Groups and More!

Action for the Climate Emergency , ACE. Nonprofit whose mission is to educate young people on the science of climate change and empower them to take action.  Our Climate, Our Future  (videos for teaching).

Arts & Ere . Explores the relationship of Arts Education and Environmental Education. (University of Quebec in Montreal)

Counterforce Lab . Research studio that harnesses the power of art and design to engage with the reality of global ecological crisis and its ties to environmental injustice, founded by UCLA professor Rebeca Méndez and part of UCLA's Design|Media Arts Department.

International Ecolinguistics Association , IEA. Network of 800 researchers worldwide who share ideas, opinions and articles about ecolinguistics: The role of language in the life-sustaining interactions of humans, other species and the physical environment. Official journal via open access, Language & Ecology . 

National Geographic: Resource Library . Geographic resources for teachers, Pre-K-12, from the National Geographic. With lesson plans, research, maps, a storehouse of 800+ available videos , and resource library units. See example: Anthropocene Resource Library .

National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration: Just for Kids . Site promoting resources for teaching children about the environment (tides, currents, space); NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Proven Sustainable (free educational material about Indigenous people and knowledge)

CIEL (Center for International Environmental Law)

Global South Climate Database (searchable database of scientists and experts in the fields of climate science, climate policy and energy. Set up by Carbon Brief with the support of the Reuters Institute's Oxford Climate Journalism Network)

Cover Art

Zabel, I. H. H., D. Duggan-Haas, & R.M. Ross, eds. (2017). The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change . Paleontological Research Institute.

This free PDF book offers the basics of climate change science and perspectives on teaching a subject that has become socially and politically polarized. Audience focus is teachers of high school Earth science and environmental science. Open access title.

media research on climate change pdf

Educating for the Anthropocene: Schooling and Activism in the Face of Slow Violenc e by Peter Sutoris (2022) MIT Press ( Click here for free access ).

The Routledge Handbook of Ecomedia Studies (2023) Edited by Antonio López, Adrian Ivakhiv, Stephen Rust, Miriam Tola, Alenda Y. Chang, and Kiu-wai Chu). Free open access to digital copies.

Ecomedialiteracy Recommended Readings (excellent list of readings curated by Antonio López)

Denial and Disinformation

Is No Place Safe? Climate Change Denialists Seek to Sway Science Teachers (Ann Reid, Glenn Branch, Steven Newton, Common Dreams, April 13, 2017)

Merchants of Doubt  (Naomi Oreskes, Kansas State University, Oct 18, 2010, 8:22 mins)

Life Runs on Energy commercial  (Energy Transfer 2021, 1 minute commercial about the need for petroleum).

Petro Pete: Plastic Mascot for Plausible Denial (Jim Zeigler, April 10, 2019, Inhabiting the Anthropocene).  Climate denial taught in schools. Free lesson plan about this for Middle School students from Subject to Climate.

PetroPete

Research Confirms ExxonMobil, Koch-Funded Climate Denial Echo Chamber Polluted Mainstream Media  (Brendan DeMelle, Truthout, Nov 25, 2015)

Secret Video of ExxonMobil Lobbyist Reveals the Truth Behind Big Oil  (Jessica Corbett, June 30, 2021, CommonDreams , video 8:51)

Skeptical Science (website challenging climate change denials)

DeSmog (articles on science and climate denial)

Foxic: Fox News Network's Dangerous Climate Denial 2019 (Public Citizen, Aug. 13, 2019)

Deny and Delay: Inside the Climate Disinformation Machine  (a series on the effects of climate misinformation on democracy. Co-produced with Columbia Journalism Review and guest edited by Sandra Steingraber   (Orion Magazine, 2022-2023)

The Toxic Ten: How ten fringe publishers fuel 69% of digital climate change denial (Center for Countering Digital Hate, Nov. 2021)

In the Dark: How Social Media Companies' Climate Disinformation Problem is Hidden from the Public (Ranking Big Tech on transparency by Friends of the Earth, Avaaz, Greenpeace, April 8, 2022).

Debunking the "Moral Case" for Fossil Fuels (Discussion Guide from Drilled News, 2023)

Amy Westervelt on Drilling, Denial, and Disinformation (Climate One Podcast, May 12, 2023)

PBS  Frontline 3-part documentary series: The Power of Big Oil (2022): 

  • Part 1: Denial
  • Part 2: Doubt
  • Part 3: Delay
  • Why climate ‘doomers’ are replacing climate ‘deniers’ ( Shannon Osaka, 3/24/23,  Washington Post)
  • Climate Disinformation Database (Desmog.com maintains an extensive database of people contributing to climate disinformation)
  • Deny, Deceive, Delay (Vol. 3): Climate Information Integrity Ahead of COP28 (Report by Climate Action Against Disinformation )

Rights of Nature

  • Invisible Hand (Documentary on the Rights of Nature 2020)
  • Should Trees Have Standing? ( USC Professor Christopher Stone in 1972 proposed the first legal argument for giving legal standing to nature)
  • Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF, is a US organization working on the rights of nature).
  • A Brief History of the Rights of Nature in the U.S . (Podcast Damages from Drilled, 2022)
  • Ecuadorian Constitution, 2008 (English version with the Rights of Nature in chapter seven).
  • TEDx Talk, Rights of Nature (Kat Houghton, 2019)
  • Natalia Greene at Bioneers (video talk about the rights of nature, 2015)
  • The Rights of Mother Earth: A Nation Grants Legal Personhood To Nature (blog post by Gavin Lamb, 2020)
  • Earth Law Center  (Earth Law is the idea that ecosystems have the right to exist, thrive, and evolve)
  • The Rights of Nature: A balance, 10 years after its constitutional recognition in Ecuador ( World Rainforest Movement bulletin 234, Nov. 23, 2017).
  • Decolonizing Environmental Politics: Sumak Kawsay as a Possible Moral Foundation for Green Policies (E-International Relations, by Valeria Victoria Rodríguez Morales, April 1, 2022).
  • The Rights of Nature Movement and  Bioneers since 2006. Legalizing Nature's Rights: How Tribal Nations are Leading the Fast Growing Environmental Movement in History (2022).
  • The Rights of Rice and Future of Nature (podcast 6/21/22 99% Invisible)
  • Rights of Nature: A Global Movement (Feature Documentary, Produced by Issac Goeckeritz, Hal Crimmel, & María Valeria Berros, 2020)
  • Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (CDER, building a global movement)
  • Green Amendments for the Generations (Maya K. van Rossum, founder)
  • Nature Is Speaking (series of short videos with actors voicing for the natural world, Conservation International Films)

The Honorable Harvest

The Honorable Harvest (Robin Wall Kimmerer,  Bioneers , YouTube, June 11, 2019, 3:30 mins)

Publications of All Kinds

media research on climate change pdf

Artist Redesigns National Parks Posters for 2050, Showcasing Climate Devastation (Nika Knight, Common Dreams, April 17, 2017)

American Climate: An Inside Climate News Project  ( Inside Climate News ). Videos and articles of people affected by climate change in the U.S.

As “Climate Change” Fades from Government Sites, a Struggle to Archive Data (Leila Miller, PBS: Frontline, Dec 8, 2017)

Beginning the Climate Conversation: Parent Guide ( The Climate Reality Project ) 

Chevron’s new ad campaign is a slick Yes Men hoax [Update] (David Zax, Fast Company, Oct 10, 2010)

Climate change: How do we know ? ( NASA ). Article series.

What is Climate Change? (United Nations - Climate Action)

media research on climate change pdf

The Tree Who Set Healthy Boundaries (Topher Payne creates an alternative ending to Shel Silverstein's book, The Giving Tree )

Climate change is complex. We’ve got answers to your questions  (Justin Gillis; Illus by Jon Han, NY Times )

Climate Clock: Tracking Global Warming in Real Time  ( Climate Clock ) 

Climate Disruption Dispatches: Monthly (Dahr Jamail & Mike Ludwig, Truthout )

Climate Lab Book: Open climate science.  Open source interactive texts and visualizations of climate change. 

Climate Resistance Handbook: Or, I was a part of climate action, now what ? (Daniel Hunter; Forward by Greta Thunberg, 2019)

Climate skeptic oversaw sprawling review of agency policy  (Brittany Patterson, E&E News, March 8, 2018)

media research on climate change pdf

Cranky Uncle (John Cook's website with cartoons, games, & blog for challenging climate disinformation)

"Crying Indian" ad that fooled the environmental movement (Finis Dunaway, Zócalo Public Square, Nov 9, 2017)

Defining Ecocide (UCLA Law School's The Promise Institute)

Ecomedia Literacy (Antonio López)

media research on climate change pdf

Ecomedia Literacy, special issue ( The Journal of Sustainability Education,  April 2020)

Enemies of the State?  ( Global Witness, July 30, 2019)

Evaluating Scientific Arguments with Slow Thinking  (Beth Covitt, Cornelia Harris, & Charles W. Anderson, Science Scope, Nov 2013)

Extreme Weather & Climate Crisis Book  ( The Climate Reality Project )

A filthy history. Interactive map: Which countries have emitted the most carbon since 1850?  (Eric Holthaus & Chris Kirk, Slate , May, 2014)

Food Sovereignty Offers Possible Path Toward Climate Justice  (Marienna Pop-Weidemann, Truthout, Dec 20, 2015)

The giving tree: How a children’s book became a parable for the climate crisis  (Kate Yoder, Grist , August 26, 2021).

Global Climate Action Summit-Education. Resources for Climate Action through Education.

Global Warming & Climate Change Myths ( Skeptical Science ) 

Gone in a Generation: Across America climate change is already disrupting lives  (Zoeann Murphy & Chris Mooney, The Washington Post, 2019)

The Greatest Songs About the Climate Crisis Ranked (The Guardian, Oct. 28, 2021)

How Americans think about CC in 6 maps (Nadja Popovich, John Schwartz, & Tatiana Schlossberg, NY Times, March 21, 2017) 

How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change In 2015  (Andrew Seifter, Denise Robbins & Kevin Kalhoefer, Media Matters, March 7, 2016)

How Broadcast Networks Covered Climate Change in 2016 (Kevin Kalhoefer et al.,  Media Matters in America, March 23, 2017)

media research on climate change pdf

LEGO Everything is awesome... Shell... Greenpeace (July 8, 2014, 1:45 mins) 

Lego ditches Shell after Arctic oil protests  (Alanna Petroff, CNN Business, Oct 9, 2014)

Living-Language-Land (a journey through endangered and minority languages that reveal different ways of relating to land and nature)

Mailings to Teachers Highlight a Political Fight Over Climate Change in the Classroom (Katie Worth, PBS: Frontline, March 23, 2018). Interview with Katie Worth about her book (2021)  Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America.

The Media’s Failure with the Biggest Story in the World  (David Ray Griffin,  Truthout,  April 11, 2015)

Michael Klare, Do African Famines Presage Global Climate-Change Catastrophe ? ( Tom Dispatch, April 20, 2017) 

Nine climate change books for educators  (Dr. Michael Svoboda, Yale Climate Connections, Sept 10, 2019)

Planet or Profit ? ( Truthout, 2014). Article series relating to climate change, consumerism, and capitalism. 

media research on climate change pdf

STAND-LA Virtual Toxic Tour A history of LA's urban oil drilling sites and their impact on the children, families, and Angelenos who live near them.

Wait, Why is Climate Change a Bad Thing ? (Climate Reality Project, March 9, 2018)  

Watch the Climate Change Ad Fox News Refused to Run (ClimateNexus, EcoWatch , July 18, 2016). Spoof of Fox News by Friends of the Earth. 

Why the media matters in a warming world: A guide for policymakers in the global South  ( Climate Change Media Partnership, 2011)

Visualizing the amount of microplastic we eat (Reuters, Dec. 31, 2019)

Sustainable Fashion (ALTR Magazine & Resources from Global Climate Pledge)

  • Climate Mental Health Resource Library
  • What is a Carbon Handprint?  (Go Climate Positive recognizes the positive actions you take)
  • UNSDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals)

This is Why We Should Stop Calling it Climate Chang e ( Umair Haque, July 1, 2021, Eudaimonia )

Why the Guardian is Changing the Languages it Uses about the Environment  (Damian Carrington, May 17, 2019, The Guardian )

Comic Strip: How Foraging Restored My Relationship with Food (NPR, TED Radio Hour for Comics, Oct. 7, 2022)

media research on climate change pdf

Teaching Climate Change ( American Educator , Winter, 2019-20). Article series supporting educators teaching bout climate change. 

Fast Fashion (The Ugly Truth Of Fast Fashion | Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj | Netflix) 

The Great Acceleration (Welcome to the Anthropocene)

Indigenous Pedagogies: Land, Water, and Kinship (Bank Street College of Education, Occasional Paper Series, Issue 49)

Stop the Oil Profiteering (Media campaign by Fossil Fuel Free non-profit media)

Grist (independent media telling stories of climate solutions)

Climate Crisis Timeline (Zinn Education Project, more about the timeline )

media research on climate change pdf

  • Timeline of the hotest summer in human history (2023) from the Guardian Newspaper
  • Comic: The Corporate Caputre of Food Systems (FIAN International, for the right to food and nutrition)
  • The Climate Reality Check: A Bechdel-Wallace Test for a World on Fire (2024) by Mathew Schneider-Mayerson et al.

Environmental Racism

Black and Hispanic Americans Bear a Disproportionate Burden from Air Pollution ( University of Washington, March 11, 2019)

Environmental Justice & Environmental Racism ( Greenaction: For Health & Environmental Justice )

Jim Crow in Our Climate Crisis  (Alycee Lane, Truthout, March 14, 2019)

Let Them Drown - The Violence of Othering in a Warming World  (Naomi Klein,  The Mosaic Room,  2016, 48:04 mins). Edward W. Said Lecture.

Racism is killing the planet: The ideology of White Supremacy Leads the Way Toward Disposable People and a Disposable Natural World  (Hop Hopkins, June 8, 2020, Sierra Club )

media research on climate change pdf

The Intersectional History of Environmentalism  (this 15 minute video was created by Intersectional Environmentalists founded in 2020).

Dismantling White Supremacy to Address the Climate Crisis ( Climate One podcast, April 29, 2022, 53:10)

Inequality of the effects of heatwaves as an example of environmental racism ( FAIR, Counterspin interview with Vivek Shandas, July 2021 and  FAIR   article comparing media coverage of heatwaves in Europe vs. India, Aug. 12, 2022 )

Video: Tracking Air Pollution Disparities from Space (Aug. 22, 2022) based on research from the American Chemical Society.

The Nature Gap: Confronting Racial and Economic Disparities in the Destruction and Protection of Nature in America (Report from Center for American Progress, July 21, 2020).

Energy Colonialism ( We Smell Gas, climate justice collective)

Red Natural History , 2023 (free online journal with articles about Indigenous perspectives on the environment and natural hsitory museums)

Before Central Park: The Story of Seneca Village (The Central Park Conservancy)

Why blaming overpopulation for the climate crisis is wrong and racist (Our Changing Climate video)

The Carbon Map (world map that shows the inequality of climate change)

Our Green Transition May Leave Black People Behind   (Hammer & Hope, #2, Summer 2023, by Rhiana Gunn-Wright)

' If you can win the popular imagination you can change the game': Why we need new stories on climate by Rebecca Solnit (The Guardian, January 12, 2023)

A quick start guide to nature journaling by Gavin Lamb (Medium, Feb. 14, 2021)

Teaching Climate Chang e (American Educator, Winter 2019-2020, Vol. 4,3 No. 4)

Resolution on Literacy Teaching on Climate Change (National Council of Teachers of English, March 1, 2019)

Green Earth Book Awards (The Nature Generation)

media research on climate change pdf

  • Why the Future Gives Me Hope  (short video by Our Changing Climate about the need for speculative fiction and solarpunk)
  • 11 Middle Grade Titles to Share with Budding Activists for Earth Day  (School Library Journal, April 10, 2023)

Good Energy: A Playbook for Screenwriting in the Age of Climate Change  (An open-source digital guide to portraying climate change 
on-screen, including story inspiration, cheat sheets, character profiles, solutions, and projections into the future)

Hollywood: Bring Back Captain Planet (by Rwaida Gharib, Yale Climate Connections, Nov. 10, 2023)

Ten Stories of Hope (The Endangered Species Act at 50) 2023

The Best Climate Change Movies and TV Series of 2023 (Yale Climate Connections)

Art as Environmental Activism

Ice Watch   (by Olafur Eliasson, 2014)

Swale  (by Mary Mattingly, 2016 - ongoing)

Purple   (by John Akomfrah, 2017)

The Ninth Wave (by Cai Guo-Qiang, 2014)

Small Island Big Song (collaboration of artists of the Pacific & Indian Oceans)

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Ecomedia Footprint

media research on climate change pdf

Ecomedia by Aaron Kierbel (2021, video, 2:30 mins.)

  • Ecología y Media (Blog in Spanish about the impact of ICTs on the environment by Fernando Tucho, Spain)
  • Earth Overshoot Day (Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.).
  • Visualizing the Critical Metals in a Smartphone (Bruno Venditti, 2021, Visual Capitalist)

Metals in a smartphone

  • The Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership (ITU & UNITAR website and reports)

Collections: Blogs/Wikis, Courses, Lessons, Podcasts, Reports, TED Talks

  • Blogs/Wikis

Wiki resource site for the book,  Teaching Climate Change to Adolescents: Reading, Writing, and Making a Difference ,   by Richard Beach, Jeff Share, and Allen Webb.

Wild Ones by Gavin Lamb . Weekly digest of research, ideas, and tools from ecolinguistics and environmental communication.

  • Writing Environments by Russ Mayo .  Reimagining English Education via Eco-Composition
  • Banking on Climate Chaos 2023 (April 12, 2023, Full Report online, and graphics online)
  • DeSmog (politics of the climate crisis, founded in 2006)

Free Online Courses: 

Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions. Multifaceted education project initiated by the University of California with participation by all ten campuses of the UC system. Includes an online version of the course, an open-source digital textbook downloadable through the  California Digital Library , and a massive open online course (MOOC).

Climate Change in Practice  (UNESCO - APCEIU). Free, 4-week self-paced course featuring background knowledge on climate change, global efforts, and international agendas that are taking place to address the issue. 

Making Sense of Climate Change Denial . Recognize the social and psychological drivers of climate science denial, and better understand climate change. From The University of Queensland, Australia, via edX.  

The Stories We Live By: A Free Online Course in Ecolinguistics.  Course examines a wide range of texts, from ads, lifestyle magazines and economics textbooks, to surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese animation. In each case, the question is whether the stories that underlie texts encourage us to care about people and the ecosystems that life depends on. By the University of Gloucestershire and the IEA.

Earth School (TED Ed and the UN Environment Programme collaborated to create these 30 quests about nature)

CLEAN, Committed to Climate and Energy Education

Climate Champions (UCSD). Free lesson plans for k-12 educators.

Climate Change Lesson Plans (Share my lesson). Free preK-12 lessons. 

Climate Change Resources for Students & Teachers ( Common Sense ) 

'Losing Earth': A Climate Change Curriculum ( Pulitzer Center )

Media Construction of Global Warming (Project Look Sharp, Ithaca College ). Free lesson plans.

Media Constructions of Sustainability: Food, Water, and Agriculture (Project Look Sharp, Ithaca College ). Free lesson plans.

Stories from the Climate Crisis: A Mixer (Bigelow, B., Rethinking Schools ). A role play with 22 people from around the world who are all affected differently by climate change.

Climate Change Education ( Alliance for Sustainable Communities , Aug. 14, 2021)

Subject to Climate (non-profit online resources for teaching about the climate change for all K12 educators)

Textbooks for Sustainable Development: A Guide to Embedding ( UNESCO & MGIEP , 2017)

Climate Lit (resources for teachers about climate literacy for educators and climate literature for young people)

Climate Change Lessons (National Center for Science Education, free online lessons)

Education and the Environment Initiative Curriculum (85 units that address History, Social-Sciences, Science, and Language Arts (some in Spanish) from Ten Strands, 2022)

Teach Climate Justice Campaign (free lessons and resources from Zinn Education Project)

Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (free lesson plans)

Youth Created Media on the Climate Crisis (This wiki for the book has lots of resources and lessons, Edited by Beach & Smith, 2023)

Ecomedia Literacy (Curriculum teaching materials from Antonio López)

Climate Kids (NASA website with lessons, videos, games, and teaching tools for young students)

Bioneers , non-profit organization that creates media, podcasts, and holds an annual conference. 

Change Everything ( The LEAP ). Efforts to address climate change, racism, & other forms of inequality.

Climate Change ( Reveal News ). Series on the impact of climate change, U.S. and globally, emphasizing mass migration, food security, global conflicts.

Climate Front Lines ( Truthout.org))

Climate One podcasts (from the Commonwealth Club)

EcoJustice Radio (SoCal350 Climate Action)

A Sustainable Mind ( Marjorie Alexander ). Series investigating environmental campaigns and movements. 

Earthwatch (Since 1971) Connecting people with scientists through citizen science and community engagement.

Got Science? (Podcast by the Union of Concerned Scientists). This US non-profit began by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Drilled (A true-crime podcast about climate change, hosted and reported by award-winning investigative journalist Amy Westervelt).

The Repair (Scene on Radio series about the environmental crisis, Season 5 with 11 episodes, Producer John Biewen)

Green Teacher (discussions with environmental educators from around the globe)

Zero (Host: Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg Green's podcast on the future of zero emissions)

  • The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis (UNICEF, August 2021, Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index)
  • IPCC 6th Assessment Report (United Nations, AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis)
  • IPCC 6th Assessment Report (Climate Change 2022, Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability)
  • Consensus revisited: quantifying scientific agreement on climate change and climate expertise among Earth scientists 10 years later (Environmental Research, Oct. 20, 2021)
  • Banking on Climate Chaos  report  (April 14, 2023, comprehensive global analysis on fossil fuel banking, revealing the banks’ commitments to the climate by examining their financing of the fossil fuel industry). 
  • Huynh, L. T. M., et al. (2022).  Linking the nonmaterial dimensions of human-nature relations and human well-being through cultural ecosystem services , Science Advances.  
  • Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science (supported by NOAA and other agencies, March 2009)
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children: No. 26 focus on climate change (8/22/23)
  • UN Report on the progress of the Paris Agreement  (Sept. 8, 2023, Technical dialogue of the first global stocktake by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)
  • Global Tipping Points (Global Tipping Points is led by Professor Tim Lenton from the  University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute  with the support of more than 200 researchers from over 90 organisations in 26 countries.)

Angelicque White: What ocean microbes reveal about the changing climate (Nov 2019, 12:58 mins)

Colette Pichon Battle: Climate change will displace millions. Here's how we prepare (Dec 2019, 12:36 mins)

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim: Indigenous knowledge meets science to take on climate change (TEDWomen 2019, 12:52 mins)

Kat Houghton: The Rights of Nature (Nov 2019, 17:48 mins)

Monica Araya: A small country with big ideas to get rid of fossil fuels  (Sept 6, 2016, 15:52 mins)

Xiye Bastida: If Adults Won't Save the World, We Will  (Oct. 20, 2020, TED, 8:16 mins)

Kate Raworth: A healthy economy should be designed to thrive not grow (Post-Growth Economics, June 4, 2018, 15:53)

media research on climate change pdf

Climate 101 with Bill Nye ( Climate Reality, Sept 21, 2011, 4:33 mins) 

Climate Change Debate (John Oliver, Last Week Tonight, May 11, 2014, 4:26 mins)

The Conservative Lorax ( College Humor, Aug 30, 2012, 3:18 mins)  

Don't Choose Extinction  (2:31) United Nations Development Programme, 2021. Video & website .

media research on climate change pdf

"Earthrise" by Amanda Gorman  ( Climate Reality,  Dec. 4, 2018, 4:30 mins.)

Grocery Store Wars ( Free Range, Nov 14, 2006, 5:50 mins.) 

Guardians of Life ( Amazon Watch, 3:34 mins.). Short film featuring Joaquin Phoenix centering the climate crisis.

media research on climate change pdf

Indigenous Worldview Can Preserve Our Existence (Four Arrows,  Morobe Development Foundation , April 29, 2021, 3 mins., Worldview Chart )

Indigenous Worldview vs Western Worldview  (Firstpeoples.org, 5:26 mins.)

The Last Generation ( PBS: Frontline & The GroundTruth Project , April 3, 2018, ~10 mins.). Kids on the Marshall Islands affected by climate change; interactive documentary.

The Majestic Plastic Bag - A Mockumentary ( HealtheBay, Aug 14, 2010, 3:59 mins.)

Message

A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ( The Intercept, April 17, 2019, 7:35 mins.) 

A Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair  (Naomi Klein, The Intercept, Oct 1, 2020, 8:57 mins.)

The Official Meatrix I ( The Meatrix, Nov 8, 2006, 3:46 mins.) 

Our Changing Climate

Our Changing Climate . Bi-weekly video essay series investigating humanity's relationship to the natural world. 

media research on climate change pdf

Our Climate, Our Future  ( Alliance for Climate Education, ACE).

  • Science in America - Neil deGrasse Tyson ( StarTalk, April 19, 2017, 4:42 mins.)

media research on climate change pdf

Story of Solutions  ( The Story of Stuff Project, Oct 2013) 

Take Action: Nestlé's Troubled Waters ( The Story of Stuff Project )

Short spoof ad: Snake Oil (by Seán Burke)

PetroPete: How Big Oil Brainwashes Kid s (Newsbroke AJ+)

Spoof Ad about Chevron  (Hyperobject Industries, 2022). Great example of how images and music can overpower the words.

Overview (2012) Planetary Collective (20 mins. movie about astronauts' views of earth and the overview effect.

Environmental Justice in Los Angeles (short video 6:40 by UCLA EoIS, 2023)

  • The Co-Benefits of Urban Green Spaces by UCLA's CenterX (2023)
  • Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops (5 short films narrated by Richard Gere with subtitles in 27 languages, 2023, Northern Light Productions. Includes educational curriculum guide in English and Spanish). 
  • The Cost of Gold (2 mins, with subtitles in English)
  • Extrapolations (2003 TV series about climate change by Scott Burns, on Apple TV)
  • How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2002 full length environmentalist action thriller movie directed by Daniel Goldhaber)
  • Weather Kids Campaign (short video in English) By UNDP, World Meteorological Organization, and the Weather Company report from the Weather Channel.

Weather Kids

Greenwashing

The Big Con: How Big Polluters are Advancing a "Net Zero" Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny (Jesse Bragg, Rachel Rose Jackson, Souparna Lahiri, June 2021)

The Carbon Footprint Scam:  A "Successful, Deceptive" PR Campaign (By Mark Kaufman, Mashable India ) 

Challenging Greenwashing at WPP Advertising Agency that Supports Fossil Fuel ( Clean Creatives takes on WPP 2021). See WPP's original greenwashing ad here .

Climate Change and Digital Advertising: The Oil and Gas Industry's Digital Advertising Strategy  (August 2021, Influence Map )

Corporate Ad Giant WPP Targeted for Helping Big Oil Greenwash Its "Net Zero" Hogwash (Julia Conley, Common Dreams , June 8, 2021.)

media research on climate change pdf

Duncan Meisel on Fossil Fuel Greenwashing (Janine Jackson, June 11, 2021, Counterspin Podcast FAIR)

Misleading Climate Ads from Big Oil (Heated World)

Petition to ban fossil fuel advertising on social media (Hip Hop Caucus) 

BP brand attack

Rhetoric and Frame Analysis of ExxonMobil’s Climate Change Communications (Supran & Oreskes, 2021, One Earth 4, 696–719. Elsevier Inc.)

To Do List (Greenwashing from  ExxonMobil, Aug 5, 2016, 0:30 mins)

To Do List response  ( ClimateTruth.org Action, Aug 16, 2016, 0:55 mins)

What is Greenwashing? How To Spot It and Stop It (Leyla Acaroglu, July 8, 2019, Medium ,  Disruptive Design )​​​​​​

Where Has All the Oil Gone? BP Branding and the Discursive Elimination of Climate Change Risk (Julie Doyle, 2011, chapter 8. In  Culture, Environment and Eco-Politics , N. Heffernan & D. Wragg, eds., Cambridge Scholars Press).

Climate Crimes (series of articles from the Guardian newspaper investigating how the fossil fuel industry contributed to the climate crisis and lied).

Methane Gas Certification scam (Madness Is The Method: How Cheniere is Greenwashing its LNG With New Cargo Emissions Tags, Published by Oil Change International and Greenpeace USA, Aug. 2022).  Download full report

The Carbon Con : The world’s biggest companies, from Netflix to Ben & Jerry’s, are pouring billions into an offsetting industry whose climate claims appear increasingly at odds with reality   (Source Material, Jan. 18. 2023)

Destruction is at the heart of everything we do: Chevron’s junk climate action agenda and how it intensifies global harm (Corporate Accountability report May 2023).

What is Greenwashing? (Global Witness)

Seven Sins of Greenwashing (originally created by TerraChoice in 2007)

Doctrine of Discovery

  • Website:  Doctrine of Discovery  (Indigenous Values Initiative and  American Indian Law Alliance)
  • Movie: The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code (Directed by Sheldon Wolfchild, 2015).
  • Book: Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery .  (By Steven T. Newcomb, 2008).
  • Article:  The Doctrine of Discovery in American Indian Law (Indigenous legal scholar Robert J. Miller writes this excellent 96 page paper).
  • Blog Post:  What Fifteenth-Century Papal Bulls Can Teach Us About Indigenous Identity (By Steven Newcomb, Berkley Forum, 2020)
  • Lecture: International Law of Colonialism: The Doctrine of Discovery   (Robert J. Miller, 2013)
  • Book: Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Manifest Destiny (By Robert J. Miller, 2008).
  • Book: Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies (By Robert J. Miller, Jacinta Ruru, Larissa Behrendt, and Tracey Lindberg, 2012).
  • The Doctrine of Discovery (Tom Army, US History Online, 11:37 mins. video, 2019)
  • In Critical Times - Doctrine of Discovery (Lakota Peoples Law Project, hosted by Lakota Law's Chase Iron Eyes, features Shawnee/Lenape scholar Steven Newcomb, Indigenous Peoples Movement co-founder Jen Martel, and Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council Executive Director Phil Two Eagle, 2022)
  • Last Updated: Mar 22, 2024 11:42 AM
  • URL: https://guides.library.ucla.edu/educ466

Read our research on: TikTok | Podcasts | Election 2024

Regions & Countries

On social media, gen z and millennial adults interact more with climate change content than older generations.

Gen Z and Millennial social media users are more likely than older generations online to engage with climate change content on social media and to express a range of emotions when they see climate-related content there – including anxiety about the future and anger that not enough is being done, according to a new Pew Research Center survey .

Gen Z and Millennial social media users engage more with climate change content, react more strongly to it

Younger adults have taken on prominent roles in efforts to stop climate change, with groups and individuals such as climate activist Greta Thunberg and the Sunrise Movement among those working to address the issue.

Among U.S. social media users, 45% of Gen Z adults and 40% of Millennials have interacted with content on social platforms that focuses on the need for action on climate change by following an account, liking or commenting on a post, or posting or sharing content about the need for action on climate change. By contrast, much smaller shares of Gen X (27%) and Baby Boomer and older social media users (21%) have engaged with content about climate change in any of these ways.

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how Americans view climate, energy and environmental issues. We surveyed 13,749 U.S. adults from April 20 to 29, 2021.

The survey was conducted on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP) and included an oversample of adults ages 18 to 24 from the Ipsos Knowledge Panel. A total of 912 Generation Z adults, born after 1996 , were included in the sample.

Respondents on both panels are recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories.

Read more about the ATP’s methodology .

Here are the questions used for this report, along with responses, and its methodology .

The generations defined

Gen Z adults, born after 1996 , have lived their whole lives in an internet and social media era. These young adults, along with the Millennial generation, were among the first to incorporate social media use into their everyday lives and are much more likely than older generations to say they are online “almost constantly.”

Gen Zers and Millennials express intense emotional reactions to seeing climate change content on social platforms compared with older generations. For instance, majorities of Gen Z (69%) and Millennial social media users (59%) say it made them feel anxious about the future the last time they saw content on social media about addressing climate change. Fewer than half of Gen X (46%) and Baby Boomer and older social media users (41%) say they felt this way the last time they saw climate content. Similarly, Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely than older social media users to say they felt angry the last time they saw climate content because not enough is being done to address the issue.

Generations also differ when it comes to positive emotional reactions: 54% of Gen Z and 53% of Millennial social media users say they felt motivated to learn more about climate change issues the last time they saw climate content on social platforms, compared with 43% of Gen X and 39% of Baby Boomer and older users. 

Climate-engaged social media users express more urgency about action on climate change, offer broader policy support to break with fossil fuels

Those social media users who engage with climate change content online – a group that skews younger than the general population – stand out from those who do not engage online in their views about a range of climate-related policies.

Among climate-engaged social media users, 73% favor phasing out the production of new gasoline-powered cars and trucks by the year 2035, and 54% think the U.S. should phase out the use of fossil fuels in energy production entirely. By contrast, much smaller shares of social media users who do not engage with climate content support either of these two proposals (39% and 27%, respectively).

And when it comes to the approach of the Biden administration on climate issues, a majority of the social media climate-engaged (58%) think the administration will not go far enough to reduce the effects of climate change; far fewer among social media users who do not engage with climate content express this view (36%).

Note: Here are the questions used for this report, along with responses, and its methodology .

media research on climate change pdf

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How Americans view electric vehicles

Fast facts about international views of climate change as biden attends un cop26 conference, 67% of americans perceive a rise in extreme weather, but partisans differ over government efforts to address it, most u.s. latinos say global climate change and other environmental issues impact their local communities, on climate change, republicans are open to some policy approaches, even as they assign the issue low priority, most popular.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts .

media research on climate change pdf

Research/Study Research/Study

How broadcast news programs covered climate and the 2024 election in 2023 — and what coverage should include going forward

Special Programs Climate & Energy

Written by Allison Fisher

Published 03/20/24 9:06 AM EDT

In 2023, broadcast TV news coverage of climate change decreased by 25% from the previous year, and discussion of climate change within the context of the 2024 election appeared in just a handful of segments on broadcast Sunday morning political shows and on PBS’ nightly news program, NewsHour . Though a few stand-out segments demonstrated how news networks might better incorporate climate coverage into their election reporting and vice versa, there was an overall dearth of examples giving these issues the attention they deserve. Far more discussion will be needed in order to consistently cover the high stakes for climate in the outcome of the 2024 election.

Here are five things we’ve learned from the coverage of climate change and the 2024 election so far:

Climate change was featured in the first Republican presidential primary debate — yet most TV news ignored it

The September 3, 2023, episode of ABC’s This Week was the only broadcast Sunday morning political program to rebut the climate denial espoused by Republican presidential candidates during the first Republican primary debate on August 23.

ABC News’ chief meteorologist and chief climate correspondent Ginger Zee led a 6-minute segment focused on discussion of climate change during the first Republican primary debate and its implications for the 2024 presidential race, highlighting the party's denial and skepticism in the face of scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.

PBS NewsHour also addressed the GOP candidates’ climate denial in an August 25 segment assessing the issues shaping the Republican race. After playing a clip of former candidate Vivek Ramaswamy claiming that the “climate change agenda is a hoax,” anchor Geoff Bennett corrected his statement, saying, “Climate change — it’s settled science.” He then posed this question to his guests, journalist Sarah Smarsh and conservative columnist Gary Abernathy: “What should we make of the varied and evolving ways that Republicans are trying to address climate change?”    

As coverage turns to the general election, TV news should not miss these clear opportunities to correct climate misinformation while also discussing the two parties' vastly different approaches to the climate crisis. 

TV news has framed climate change as a young voter issue — but climate change impacts us all

At least three segments that discussed climate within the context of the upcoming election seemed to suggest that young people are the only voters concerned about a candidate's position on the climate crisis.

On the September 7, 2023, edition of PBS’ NewsHour, in an interview with then-candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, anchor Amna Nawaz remarked: “You were the only one [on the debate stage] to raise your hand when the candidates were asked if you believe that human behavior is causing climate change, which, as you know, is a huge issue for younger voters.”

On the August 25 edition of NewsHour , anchor Geoff Bennett introduced a discussion on climate and the election by pointing out that climate change is “a top issue for young voters, both Democratic and Republican — and Independent.”

On the September 3 edition of ABC’s This Week , Frank Luntz, one of the architects behind the early 2000s Republican messaging campaign to cast doubt on climate science, concluded: “Make no mistake. For voters under age 30, the environment is one of their top two or three issues. It may not matter to some in their 60s and 70s, but it absolutely matters to that first and second-time voter, and that's where Democrats have the advantage.”

During a segment on ABC’s This Week from July 9, guest Rachael Bade, a journalist with Politico, emphasized that responding to the climate crisis is increasingly appealing to “most voters”:

They see clips like that of Donald Trump sort of dismissing climate change, and they literally salivate at the opportunity of running against him. I mean, Biden has, obviously, legislation that he can tout on the campaign trail saying, “Look, Democrats have tried to do something about this. There's more work to be done, but elect Democrats,” because if you do look at the polls, even though there is a crop of Republicans who Trump is catering to — who don't believe in climate change — overall the polling shows that most voters increasingly do believe it's real and that it needs to be addressed.

Along with pointing out that young voters across all ideologies see climate as a top election issue, TV news should stress the growing bipartisan concern polls show around climate change and the widespread support for actions to address it, including from groups that represent older Americans . A new study found that voters' opinions on climate change have had huge impacts on recent elections, even “concluding that the climate issue very likely cost Republicans the 2020 election, all else equal.”

PBS discussed Republican resistance to decarbonization efforts in the context of financial contributions from fossil fuel companies — but it shouldn’t be alone in following the money

Only one segment, which appeared on PBS’ NewsHour , linked Republican opposition to climate action to candidates’ dependence on contributions from Big Polluters. During the August 4, 2023, edition of NewsHour , a segment aired on the conspicuous lack of climate change discussion on the Republican campaign trail despite a summer of relentless and deadly climate-fueled events. Anchor William Brangham explained: “Critics argue a main reason why Republicans resist any limits on fossil fuels is campaign money. According to the money tracking group Open Secrets, the top 20 oil, coal, and gas donors gave out over $80 million in campaign contributions in the last two years. That money went almost exclusively to Republicans and conservative groups.”

 Along with exposing the role that polluters’ financial contributions play in the development of climate policy, TV news should also incorporate into their reporting the role the fossil fuel industry could play in influencing the outcome of the 2024 presidential election through ads that attack and misrepresent Biden’s climate policies .

Few segments mentioned candidates’ stances on climate change in the context of extreme weather events

On the final day of the Republican national convention in 2020, Hurricane Laura landed in Louisiana as the most powerful hurricane to hit the state in more than 150 years. But despite the concurrence of these two events, TV news did not connect the GOP’s climate denial platform with the climate-fueled event.

A few segments in 2023 offered examples for how to remedy this glaring disconnect.

PBS contrasted the summer of deadly extreme weather events with the absence of climate change discussion on the Republican presidential campaign trail in its August 4, 2023, edition of NewsHour , reporting, “This summer, smoke from Canadian wildfires cast a dystopian yellow haze over U.S. cities. The drought-stricken Colorado River forced seven Southwestern states to consider drastic water cuts. A blistering heat wave punished millions of Americans. The disparate impacts of our warming world were impossible to miss, but out on the campaign trail, Republican candidates are talking about everything but climate change.”

After showing a clip of Trump denying the risks of sea-level rise because it “creates more beachfront property,” This Week ’s Martha Raddatz pointed out on the July 9 edition of the show that his comments “came in the middle of a historic global heat wave in which the Earth reached its hottest day ever recorded three days in a row.”

During the July 23 episode of This Week , Raddatz asked Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state to comment on candidates like Trump who “mock the idea of climate change.” Inslee responded, “Well, we can't wait for Donald Trump to figure this out. … People are coming around to this very, very rapidly because their homes are burning down, they're choking on smoke from the Canadian fires. When Ron DeSantis wants to go swimming, he can't because the water's like a sauna — like a hot tub — off his beaches.”

In the same episode, ABC’s Ginger Zee concluded a segment on how climate-fueled extreme weather events are propelling calls for climate action by referencing both the election and Trump’s climate denial: “But the 2024 presidential election — raising questions about how big a priority climate will continue to be on the national stage. Climate scientists agree that, politics aside, business as usual will be a disaster for the climate.”

The vast majority of Americans have already experienced extreme weather — and climate scientists say 2024 is likely to be even more extreme . TV news should strive to show the relationship between extreme weather events, climate change, and the candidates’ platforms. 

TV news is not clearly defining what’s at stake for the climate in the outcome of the 2024 election

In the above example from ABC’s This Week , Ginger Zee alluded to what a Trump presidency could mean for the climate. On the December 31, 2023, edition of Face The Nation , CBS national correspondent Ben Tracy laid out the matter more explicitly:

This race for the White House, if you care about climate issues, is going to be a very important one. You have the Biden administration, which has passed all of these climate initiatives. But then you also have former President Trump, who has campaigned on the idea of drilling more on federal land. He says, “Drill drill drill.” He has called the transition to electric vehicles “the transition to hell.” So he has very strong opinions about these things, and you also have other Republican candidates who are campaigning on repealing some of the Biden administration’s landmark climate legislation.

If another Trump presidency is, as argued by The Atlantic , “an existential threat to America and to the ideas that animate it,” it is also a threat to our planet .  This point has been well made by climate scientists and beat reporters , but has been largely ignored by corporate media . TV News must start clearly communicating what the differences between a Biden presidency and a Trump presidency would mean for our climate. For example, a new analysis by Carbon Brief found that another Trump presidency “could lead to an additional 4bn tonnes of US emissions by 2030 compared with Joe Biden’s plans,” which could further “cause global climate damages worth more than $900bn.”

TV news networks should continue to point out Trump's record on climate issues, including his climate denial and his plans to roll back the progress that has been made on the issue, and should show clearly how his presidency would mean pushing us further toward irreversible climate disaster.

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The Effects of Climate Change

The effects of human-caused global warming are happening now, are irreversible for people alive today, and will worsen as long as humans add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

media research on climate change pdf

  • We already see effects scientists predicted, such as the loss of sea ice, melting glaciers and ice sheets, sea level rise, and more intense heat waves.
  • Scientists predict global temperature increases from human-made greenhouse gases will continue. Severe weather damage will also increase and intensify.

Earth Will Continue to Warm and the Effects Will Be Profound

Effects_page_triptych

Global climate change is not a future problem. Changes to Earth’s climate driven by increased human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are already having widespread effects on the environment: glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking, river and lake ice is breaking up earlier, plant and animal geographic ranges are shifting, and plants and trees are blooming sooner.

Effects that scientists had long predicted would result from global climate change are now occurring, such as sea ice loss, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves.

"The magnitude and rate of climate change and associated risks depend strongly on near-term mitigation and adaptation actions, and projected adverse impacts and related losses and damages escalate with every increment of global warming." - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Some changes (such as droughts, wildfires, and extreme rainfall) are happening faster than scientists previously assessed. In fact, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the United Nations body established to assess the science related to climate change — modern humans have never before seen the observed changes in our global climate, and some of these changes are irreversible over the next hundreds to thousands of years.

Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for many decades, mainly due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report, published in 2021, found that human emissions of heat-trapping gases have already warmed the climate by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since 1850-1900. 1 The global average temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees C (about 3 degrees F) within the next few decades. These changes will affect all regions of Earth.

The severity of effects caused by climate change will depend on the path of future human activities. More greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more climate extremes and widespread damaging effects across our planet. However, those future effects depend on the total amount of carbon dioxide we emit. So, if we can reduce emissions, we may avoid some of the worst effects.

"The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss the brief, rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future." 2 - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Future effects of global climate change in the united states:.

Here are some of the expected effects of global climate change on the United States, according to the Third and Fourth National Climate Assessment Reports.

U.S. Sea Level Likely to Rise 1 to 6.6 Feet by 2100

Global sea level has risen about 8 inches (0.2 meters) since reliable record-keeping began in 1880. By 2100, scientists project that it will rise at least another foot (0.3 meters), but possibly as high as 6.6 feet (2 meters) in a high-emissions scenario. Sea level is rising because of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms.

Climate Changes Will Continue Through This Century and Beyond

Global climate is projected to continue warming over this century and beyond.

Hurricanes Will Become Stronger and More Intense

Scientists project that hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates will increase as the climate continues to warm.

More Droughts and Heat Waves

Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves (periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks) are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense and less frequent.

Longer Wildfire Season

Warming temperatures have extended and intensified wildfire season in the West, where long-term drought in the region has heightened the risk of fires. Scientists estimate that human-caused climate change has already doubled the area of forest burned in recent decades. By around 2050, the amount of land consumed by wildfires in Western states is projected to further increase by two to six times. Even in traditionally rainy regions like the Southeast, wildfires are projected to increase by about 30%.

Changes in Precipitation Patterns

Climate change is having an uneven effect on precipitation (rain and snow) in the United States, with some locations experiencing increased precipitation and flooding, while others suffer from drought. On average, more winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century.

Frost-Free Season (and Growing Season) will Lengthen

The length of the frost-free season, and the corresponding growing season, has been increasing since the 1980s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States. Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen, which will affect ecosystems and agriculture.

Global Temperatures Will Continue to Rise

Summer of 2023 was Earth's hottest summer on record, 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit (F) (0.23 degrees Celsius (C)) warmer than any other summer in NASA’s record and 2.1 degrees F (1.2 C) warmer than the average summer between 1951 and 1980.

Arctic Is Very Likely to Become Ice-Free

Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is expected to continue decreasing, and the Arctic Ocean will very likely become essentially ice-free in late summer if current projections hold. This change is expected to occur before mid-century.

U.S. Regional Effects

Climate change is bringing different types of challenges to each region of the country. Some of the current and future impacts are summarized below. These findings are from the Third 3 and Fourth 4 National Climate Assessment Reports, released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program .

  • Northeast. Heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose increasing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Farmers can explore new crop options, but these adaptations are not cost- or risk-free. Moreover, adaptive capacity , which varies throughout the region, could be overwhelmed by a changing climate. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.
  • Northwest. Changes in the timing of peak flows in rivers and streams are reducing water supplies and worsening competing demands for water. Sea level rise, erosion, flooding, risks to infrastructure, and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats. Increasing wildfire incidence and severity, heat waves, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases are causing widespread forest die-off.
  • Southeast. Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture, and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts.
  • Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also worsen a range of risks to the Great Lakes.
  • Southwest. Climate change has caused increased heat, drought, and insect outbreaks. In turn, these changes have made wildfires more numerous and severe. The warming climate has also caused a decline in water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, and triggered heat-related health impacts in cities. In coastal areas, flooding and erosion are additional concerns.

1. IPCC 2021, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis , the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

2. IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

3. USGCRP 2014, Third Climate Assessment .

4. USGCRP 2017, Fourth Climate Assessment .

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  • Published: 14 February 2024

The power of protest in the media: examining portrayals of climate activism in UK news

  • Eric G. Scheuch   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-2797-6498 1 ,
  • Mark Ortiz   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7312-503X 2 ,
  • Ganga Shreedhar 3 &
  • Laura Thomas-Walters 4  

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications volume  11 , Article number:  270 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Environmental studies
  • Politics and international relations

Over the last several years, the United Kingdom has seen a wave of environmental movements demanding action on the climate crisis. While aligned in their goals, the groups undertaking this activism often diverge on the question of tactics. One such divergence occurred in January 2023, when Extinction Rebellion (XR) declared “We Quit”, ending actions that were disruptive to the general public. Peer groups Just Stop Oil and Animal Rising continued disruptive actions, viewing them as the best way to gain media coverage for their causes. Despite the urgency of addressing climate change and the growing prominence of direct action in British life, little research has examined how the news media covers and reacts to different climate actions. News media plays a vital role in influencing the public’s perception of the climate crisis and “appropriate” responses. We assembled a unique dataset of British news coverage of climate actions over a 7 month period, covering both before and after XR’s “We Quit” statement. Our results reveal that conservative publications cover climate actions more unfavorably and more inaccurately than other publications. Legal actions are generally covered more favorably than illegal ones in both conservative and non-conservative outlets and receive more coverage. Actions that target industry attract more coverage than those that target other actors, while actions that target the public are covered more favorably than those that do not. These results contribute to the scholarly debates surrounding the interaction between social movements and news media, especially on how different strategies potentially influence the extent and affective nature of coverage. They have implications for strategies adopted by climate advocates, depending on whether their goal is merely to draw attention to an issue or if it is to generate positive coverage.

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Introduction

Over the last five years, the UK climate activism scene has experienced remarkable growth with the emergence of Extinction Rebellion (XR), and similar grassroots social movements such as Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain, and Animal Rising. Drawing inspiration from historical movements such as the Indian Independence Movement, the Suffragette movement, and the American Civil Rights Movement (Taylor and Gayle 2018 ), these groups have orchestrated waves of local-level grassroots activism, all centered on the principle of non-violent civil disobedience. These disruptive but peaceful tactics have included blocking roadways and gluing themselves to famous art pieces to draw public attention to the issue of political inaction on climate change. While these different groups are aligned in their desire to create political change, they are now diverging on the question of how best to mobilize new activists and put the climate crisis on the national agenda. In this article, we examine the relationship between different types of climate actions and the tenor and volume of the resulting media coverage. We focus here on media coverage because the media is a lens that shapes public perceptions of climate activism.

For instance, in January 2023, XR declared “We Quit”. They released a statement that they were temporarily shifting away from public disruption as a primary tactic due to the minimal progress made on actually slowing emissions, and a need to focus pressure on those in positions of power rather than the public (Extinction Rebellion, 2022 ). Specifically, the statement called out three root causes of the current climate crisis: “A financial system prioritizing profits over life, a media failing to inform the public and hold power to account, and a reckless government entrenched in corruption and suppressing the right to protest injustice.” The statement went on to declare an intent to “temporarily shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic” and instead focus their tactics on the three root causes: the financial system, the media, and the government.This was informed in part by survey research that indicated disruptive strategies may elicit negative public attitudes towards XR (Parkes et al. 2023 ). For example, a October 2019 YouGov poll found that just 36% of British adults supported plans to disrupt roads and public transit to draw attention to the climate crisis, while 54% were opposed (YouGov 2019 ). XR had a new strategy: an April 2023 London-based multi-day public, non-disruptive protest titled “The Big One” targeted towards those called out in “We Quit”: the media, the financial system, and the government. The Big One was accompanied by a series of leadup actions focused on disrupting the wealthy and powerful, especially big emitters such as fossil fuel energy providers and banks investing in fossil fuels. This shift did not mean that XR was getting less radical. Indeed, “We Quit” declared “We must be radical in response to this crisis”. Instead, the major shift was from actions that were publically disruptive to those more narrowly targeted towards members of the financial sector, media, and government.

Several of XR’s peer groups took a different approach, most prominently Just Stop Oil and Animal Rising. In the aftermath of XR’s decision to temporarily pause publicly disruptive actions, both groups reaffirmed their commitment to public disruption as a key part of their strategy (Gayle 2023 ). Such tactics included blocking traffic on major bridges and roadways (Just Stop Oil), throwing soup on Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting (Just Stop Oil), and carrying out sit-ins at meat-heavy restaurants (Animal Rising), all aiming to draw public and political attention to their causes.

In addition to whether to target the public as a whole or a more narrow category of society (such as political or business elites), the legality of actions is another key question of protest tactics. Illegal actions can be harder to get members to volunteer for because of the potential consequences of breaking the law, which can be an unacceptable risk for certain members of society, such as those on a visa; those who are primary caregivers; those who are breadwinners in their families; or those who are members of marginalized groups. In this way, illegal actions could potentially be seen by those members as exclusionary or off-putting. However, if they are effective at attracting public attention to the cause by generating additional news coverage about climate issues, including that others in society are concerned enough to put themselves at risk of arrest, then they may be worth it.

This divergence in tactics creates an opportunity for research into the media coverage of different types of climate actions. While there has been a wealth of research on climate activism in recent years, relatively little of it has focused on the relationship between type of protest tactics and the volume and tenor of resulting media coverage. Such research matters for two reasons. First, it determines the “return on effort” for a rapidly growing social movement that involves the time and energy of hundreds of thousands of people in the UK alone (Taylor and Watts, 2019 ), and second, it may have indirect implications for the pace at which Britain decarbonizes its economy.

Previous research confirms the influence of media coverage on public opinion (Mutz and Soss, 1997 ; Huang et al. 2021 ), and on climate change opinions in particular (Chinn et al. 2020 ). The media is a key player in determining the agenda on the climate debate, and news coverage is therefore an important outcome of climate actions. It can help to shift the “Overton Window” of what views are socially acceptable on a given issue (Vo 2019 ). Recent work on the efficacy of climate change protests has further confirmed the vital role of media coverage in protest efficacy (Fisher et al. 2023 ).

Further the media is rarely neutral, with certain news sources playing a key role in spreading disinformation and furthering climate obstruction (Painter and Gavin 2016 ). The presence of climate skepticism in UK newspapers is increasing each year and is often offered without a pro-climate counter-perspective (Painter and Gavin 2016 ). This is not contained to just right-wing outlets - even “quality” outlets often get basic facts wrong about climate change (Lewandowsky 2021 ). Media coverage was explicitly called out in XR’s own “We Quit” statement, which recognized “a media failing to inform the public and hold power to account” as a “root cause” of our current climate crisis.

We contribute to this discussion by analyzing coverage of XR over a 7 month period that spans both the “We Quit” statement and “The Big One” protest. Using an original dataset, we measure how press coverage, including volume (article length, number of articles), and sentiment (positivity) vary according to the tactics of the action and the news source in question. Our study offers several contributions to the ongoing debate about protest tactics and media coverage. We offer a case study in line with suggestions from Elliot et al. ( 2016 ) on the best ways to build evidence in the ongoing debate over protest tactics and media coverage. We have expanded the evidence base on this topic along two dimensions: first, offering a within-organization, before-and-after study of the relationship between a significant tactical shift and the corresponding media coverage, while also offering a side-by-side comparison of several major direct actions. We also offer an empirical analysis of the “activist’s dilemma” outlined by (Feinberg et al. 2020 ), who find that extreme protest actions that can be useful for generating pressure on institutions may also reduce public support for movements.

Literature review of the evidence around media and activism

Social movement scholars have long inquired into the relationship between movements, news media coverage, and political outcomes. Although media ecosystems and social movement organizing have transformed due to the advent and widespread adoption of social media (see Billard 2021 ; Tufekci 2017 ; Hunt and Gruszczynski 2019 ; and Caren et al. 2020 ) news media coverage remains a critical lever and pathway of social movement influence (Corrigall-Brown 2016 ). While the relationship between news organizations and social movements may be less “asymmetrical” (Gamson and Wolsfeld 1993 ) than it once was when traditional media institutions largely had a monopoly on information flows, news media coverage remains a central factor in how social movements are able to translate their objectives into tangible social change, communicate their issue framings to publics, obtain legitimacy and spread tactics and messages across different geographies (e.g. Andrews and Biggs 2006 ; Andrews and Caren 2010 ; Stoddart et al. 2015 ; Amenta et al. 2017 ). In certain cases, advocacy organizations and activist networks have been able to exercise outsize influence on the actions of corporate and state actors through strategically shifting media attention and generating public pressure (Hein and Chaudri 2018 ).

Yet, there is substantial debate within social movement organizing scholarship regarding the relationship between a movements’ tactics and the volume and favorability of the resultant media coverage. It is critical to bear in mind that only a small fraction of social change efforts obtain media coverage in the first place, and those that do represent somewhat novel cases in the context of the larger social field (Smith et al. 2001 ; McCarthy et al. 1996 ). Movements’ influence on media coverage is “at best indirect” (Amenta et al. 2017 ), and therefore careful case studies are necessary to understand the contextual interrelationships of tactics, coverage, political context, media environment and other factors (Elliot et al. 2016 ). Examining the relationship between tactical approach and local news media coverage of environmental movements in North Carolina, Andrews and Caren ( 2010 ) found that social movement groups that deployed insider tactics (e.g. lobbying, and non-confrontational approaches) drew more substantial local media coverage, challenging perspectives which pointed to more confrontational approaches as successful in achieving coverage. Meanwhile, Feinberg et al. ( 2020 ) through experimental data determined that “extreme protest actions” generally lead to negative perceptions of social movements. They identified an “activists dilemma” whereby the types of actions which attract greater media attention also tend to reduce public support or negatively affect public perception, identifying a potential tradeoff between extent and favorability of coverage (Feinberg et al. 2020 ). While more confrontational tactics may be more likely to achieve coverage, this coverage may not necessarily favor the movement’s issue framings or objectives (Caren et al. 2020 ).

Others such as Thomas-Walters and Young ( 2023 ) have argued that metrics such as public support for activists are less significant than the extent to which elite decision makers experience sustained, significant, and costly disruptions to their interests and objectives stemming from disruptive tactics. This perspective suggests that the role of news coverage of movements may be negligible in driving political outcomes, and shifts attention away from the extent and favorability of coverage that many studies emphasize.

XR is an organization that, since its founding, has consciously reflected on its tactics and strategy in collaboration with scholars and in conversation with academic research and through its own Data Analysis and Insights Circle that conducts research on topics like mobilizing climate activists and evaluating action outcomes (see Matthews 2020 ). For instance, XR activists have repeatedly cited the “3.5%” figure, purported to be an important population mobilization threshold in certain contexts (Chenoweth and Stephan 2011 ). Yet, Matthews ( 2020 ) argues that this number is primarily derived from studying social change movements in autocratic contexts and likely represents a misuse of research findings by XR. At its emergence, XR was centered on disruptive actions which were highly visible in nature (Matthews 2020 ), a tactic which itself was a break from earlier cycles of climate activism defined by opposition to the fossil fuel industry around pipeline infrastructure and investments (de Moor et al. 2021 ). “We Quit” is the latest step in this process of organizational evolution, a reorganization centered on the recognition that more positive and extensive coverage would be required to catalyze change of the desired scale (Hudson 2023 ).

Given XR’s new orientation outlined in the “We Quit” statement and exemplified in The Big One, some involved with XR would point to the “radical flank effect” related to its offshoot organizations Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil as a key factor behind the choice to shift approaches. The “radical flank effect” refers to the comparative effect that occurs when more radical factions of a movement – for instance the climate movement – operate in the same arena as more moderate or less confrontational sections of that movement (Simpson et al. 2022 ). XR does not exist alone, but in relation to these more radical flanks and their disruptive tactical choices and some would suggest that this positions XR to benefit from a more moderate stance in terms of influencing policy. According to reporting, several involved with the creation of XR, including Rupert Read, have used the language of “radical flank” suggesting that XR in its newest iteration represents a “moderate flank” in relation to its more radical offshoot organizations. However the effectiveness of this moderate repositioning is a subject of much inter-movement debate (Bland 2023 ). According to Read, XR in its original form “didn’t succeed in its ultimate aim of provoking meaningful climate action from the UK government” (Read and Rumbelow 2022 ).

The radical flank effect has been a central mechanism of interest in scholarship on climate activism and a key interest of climate activists themselves. Key debates within the literature on radical flank effects generally concern the direction of the radical flank effect, with a positive radical flank effect generating more positive views of moderate networks through comparison and a negative radical flank effect generating more negative views via assimilation. Schifeling and Hoffman ( 2019 ) for instance argue that activist Bill McKibben and 350.org through their fossil fuel divestment campaigns had a net positive “discursive radical flank” effect on U.S. climate change debates, making moderate policies like carbon taxes appear more frequently and favorably in political discussions.

The already uncertain landscape of movement-media relations is made more complicated by an issue like climate change. A large-scale analysis of news media coverage of climate change in ten countries over a twelve year timespan found that protests have a significant impact on total media coverage, but that media mentions of protests comprise a relatively small proportion of total climate coverage (Hase et al. 2021 ). There is strong experimental evidence that links news coverage of climate protests to public environmental attitudes, with positive coverage increasing pro-climate attitudes and negative coverage decreasing pro-climate attitudes (Kenward and Brick 2023 ). The influence of media coverage on political elites has also been demonstrated experimentally (Wouters and Walgrave 2017 ) and through process tracing (Hutter and Vliegencourt 2018 ).

There is also evidence that climate protesters in the UK’s YouthStrike4Climate movement chose the tactics that they thought would generate the most media coverage (Cammaerts 2023 ). For XR itself, one potential benefit of media coverage is the ability to reach a broader audience and build a broader movement, given that the organization has, at times, been critiqued for its tactics being exclusionary (Morris 2023 ). Finally researchers have also examined the types of images used in media coverage of climate activism. Visual coverage has shifted dramatically in the last several years, partly in response to the changing conceptions of what a “protester” looks like: the “Greta Effect” (Hayes and O’Neill 2021 ). The “Greta Effect” involved a shifting modal image of what a climate protester looked like: from generic protest images to those that emphasize young women and girls.

Our research contributes to these scholarly debates by examining the media coverage of different climate actions over 7 months. In particular, our analysis offers preliminary reflections on how a movement’s shift to less confrontational tactics may influence its resultant media coverage and the favorability of that coverage in traditional media. We also offer insights into the non-tactical factors that predict different aspects of coverage of climate activism in traditional media, including a paper’s political stances.

To analyze what factors predict the sentiment and volume of news coverage of climate activism, we assembled a unique dataset of 412 articles from November 1, 2022 to May 4, 2023. This covers two months of coverage prior to, and four months of coverage after, the “We Quit” statement. While we focused on coverage of XR, we also captured articles that mention XR but were primarily about actions by other groups. We also collected articles that cover Just Stop Oil and Animal Rebellion for two specific events during the time period, for a case study discussed further in the Results section. A timeline of major events in our study is indicated in Fig. 1 .

figure 1

Timeline of major events mentioned In this paper.

Our analysis centers on two pre-registered hypotheses, which can be viewed along with our pre-registered research design and procedures at: https://archive.org/details/osf-registrations-yku47-v1 . Namely:

H1 . liberal newspapers will report more positively on actions compared to conservative newspapers

H2 . Illegal actions will get more press coverage, but this coverage will be more negative

We also have several exploratory analyses outlined in the “deviations from pre-registration” section.

Data collection

We assembled this dataset by collecting all online articles from the BBC and the 15 most popular newspapers in the United Kingdom (based on YouGov 2023 ) that mention the words “Extinction Rebellion”, “XR”, or derivatives of such (full details in Supplementary Appendix A ). We collected the articles after they were published, using the search function on each newspaper’s website (if available) or the search engine Lexis Newsdesk. Table 1 shows the variables that we collected for each article, including what they were designed to capture, how they were calculated, and how we coded them. All coding was performed by ES. Secondary coding of any article covering an XR-specific event was recoded by an XR member for accuracy of event variables including target and legality. Correlation of agreement between coders was >0.9 for the variables in question.

Data analysis

We used OLS linear regressions to assess the association between media coverage and/or sentiment, and various predictors. As a robustness check we ran additional models controlling for the month and day of the week of publication to account for potential seasonal and weekly changes in the publication cycle. Generally we report these results in the manuscript, but all regressions can be found in Supplementary Appendix B . All data analyses were conducted in R version 4.0.0.

To test Hypothesis 1 (i.e., liberal newspapers will report more positively on actions compared to conservative newspapers), we used the following OLS linear regression specification:

To test Hypothesis 2 (illegal actions will get more press coverage, but it will be more negative) we calculated “Press Coverage” as an interaction term between the number of words in each article and the percentage of the article dedicated to XR. We evaluated the first part of H2 “illegal actions will get more press coverage” through the following regression specification:

Where β 1 is a categorical variable indicating the legality of the action. We evaluated the second part of H2 “ illegal actions will get more negative coverage” by examining the “Legality” coefficient in the following regression specification:

In addition to helping evaluate both parts of H2, the specifications give us additional insights into the other predictors of article sentiment and press coverage, thereby shedding additional insight on the core question of what aspects of actions might influence the volume and tenor of press coverage.

We also conducted several sub-analyses of the dataset, to see whether the findings were supported by different subsets of the data. All regressions were conducted on a) the whole dataset, b) articles that focused only on XR (to see if the factors predicting coverage of XR were unique from factors predicting coverage of other groups), and c) all articles except those that discussed “The Big One” (as this was a unique event and it could be difficult to replicate all aspects of the press coverage). Sub-analyses from this third subset are presented in the Supplementary Information.

Finally, we conducted three exploratory analyses that were not outlined in our initial pre-registration. First we tested if papers of different political affiliations differed in the accuracy of their coverage, by examining the “ Partisanship” coefficient in the following regression specification:

Second, we tested if the mean sentiment of articles about XR became more positive in the aftermath of the “We Quit” statement. We did this through a Welch’s two-sample t-test, conducted at our standard p  < 0.05 significance level.

Finally, we also conducted an exploratory side by side case study of three major climate actions that all happened in April 2023, put on by each of the groups in our study. These were XR’s “Big One” campaign of peaceful protest in Central London, Just Stop Oil’s disruption of the national snooker finals, and Animal Rising’s disruption of the Grand National Horse Race. These events differed widely in scale (from tens of thousands of people to just two) and strategy. By comparing those specific actions on a number of factors, we shed additional insight on how different actions may generate different patterns of media coverage.

Deviations from pre-registration

We deviated from the preregistration in several ways. First, we initially intended to evaluate H2 by comparing the mean of an interaction term between sentiment and comments for legal and illegal actions-a variable we termed the “Cumulative Event Impact Score” (CEIS). Unfortunately, only about 15% of the articles in our dataset reported reaction data (in terms of number of comments or shares), and those that did overwhelmingly came from a handful of publications. Rather than use an underpowered and nonrepresentative subset of our data, we instead used “Press Coverage”, an interaction term between the number of words in each article and the percentage of the article dedicated to XR.

Second, the inclusion of the month and day controls were made after our preregistration on the suggestion of a colleague with experience in the publishing industry. Third, this article includes two exploratory analyses that was not outlined in our initial preregistration, testing if papers of different political affiliations differed in the accuracy of their coverage and if the mean sentiment of articles about XR became more positive in the aftermath of the “We Quit” statement.

Third, we initially intended to evaluate a third hypothesis, “Public reaction (in terms of sharing/comments) will be greater for a) illegal, b) national, and c) public-facing actions”, using comment and share data, but were unable to do so due to the underpowered and non-representative subsample of articles that provided reaction data.

We also added two pieces of exploratory analysis not included in the preregistration. First, our side by side comparison of three major climate actions that all happened after our pre-registration (and therefore could not have been included in it). Second, we conducted a mean sentiment analysis of the coverage of XR before and after “We Quit”.

Hypothesis 1: Conservative papers produce more negative coverage

We collected a total of 412 articles (see Supplementary Appendix A for the distribution across newspapers). We found clear and significant evidence that news sources of different partisan affiliations differ in the sentiment of their coverage of climate activism (Table 2 ). In the full sample, on a three point (−1–1) scale, conservative newspapers produced coverage −0.247 points more negative than neutral sources and −0.521 points more negative than liberal sources. In the subsample of coverage just focused on XR our results are largely consistent, with conservative sources producing coverage −0.513 points more negative than liberal sources, although the difference between conservative and Neutral sources loses its significance. In neither case do the month or day controls have significant predictive power. Both regressions provide clear evidence that conservative sources, on average, produce significantly more negative coverage of climate activism.

Hypothesis 2: Predictors of press coverage and sentiment

When it comes to predictors of press coverage our patterns are generally consistent across datasets, but on certain results, our “Focused on XR” dataset is underpowered and loses significance. Across both subsets of data, legal actions attract more press coverage than illegal actions, but only in the whole sample are the differences significant. In both models, actions that occur in London attract significantly more coverage than actions that occur elsewhere in the UK. Similarly, in all three models actions that target industry attract more press coverage than those that do not, with that result holding significant in two models. Finally, we have some evidence that on average, publications of either partisan affiliation (liberal or conservative) write more about climate activism than neutral publications.

Similar to the first part of H2, the predictors of sentiment vary somewhat in significance based on the subset of data (Tables 1 and 3 ), but the overall patterns are consistent (Table 4 ). Across both datasets, legal actions attract more positive coverage than illegal ones in line with our second hypothesis, although only in the full sample is the difference significant. By examining the coefficient for the categories of β 3 ,;“ Target ”, compared to the reference category of “public”, we have evidence that actions that target the public are covered more favorably than those that are not. We also have evidence that actions that occur on a national scale attract more positive coverage than those that do not occur on a national scale, however that significance disappears when “The Big One” is removed (see Supplementary Appendix C ), indicating that effect may have been largely driven by unusually positive coverage surrounding TBO.

Exploratory analysis 1: Partisanship and accuracy

In both models, we have significant evidence that Conservative newspapers make more mistakes, on average, than neutral or liberal ones (between 0.2 and 0.315 more mistakes depending on the model), although there is no significant difference in mean number of mistakes between liberal newspapers and those without a partisan affiliation.

Exploratory analysis 2: Sentiment change after “We Quit”

Depending on the subset of the data analyzed (articles that mention XR, or articles that are focused exclusively on XR), the mean sentiment of articles after “We Quit” was either statistically indistinguishable from the sentiment of articles before (before = −0.125, after = −0.2064, p  = 0.25) or actually slightly lower (before = −0.125, after −0.271, p  = 0.033).

A case study of disruptiveness

The three climate actions analyzed in more depth here collectively accounted for more than 1/3 of the articles in our dataset. They offer a useful comparison of a small scale event highly disruptive to the public (the national Snooker protest), a larger scale event highly disruptive to the public (the Grand National horse race protest), and a very large scale event that was not disruptive to the public (The Big One), while holding the time period of the events relatively constant. It also allows us to empirically assess a claim that was regularly repeated in the British activist space in the aftermath of all three actions, that the media had attached outsized attention to the more disruptive protests, summed up well by an article in The Conversation titled “A single radical gets more media coverage than thousands of marchers” (Macdonald 2023 ). We compare the Snooker and Grand National protests to each other and two sets of coverage of The Big One: all articles, and all articles that were not focused on the coinciding of The Big One and the London Marathon, which occured the same weekend. This allows us to isolate coverage of The Big One itself, simulating as if it had not occurred the same weekend as a globally-covered sporting event. We compare these events on 1. The total number of articles that covered them 2. The total word count of those articles and 3. The mean sentiment of those articles. The results are laid out in Table 5 .

The primary takeaway from this case study is that the more disruptive protests (National and Snooker) drew as much or more coverage, in both article and percentage terms, than either set of coverage of The Big One, despite the latter being far more resource intensive to put on. However, coverage of the disruptive events was consistently and significantly more negative, although the mean sentiment of all four events was still negative - echoing a pattern that persisted across nearly all of the actions in our dataset (Table 6 ).

Our findings offer several contributions to the ongoing debate about protest tactics and media coverage. We offer a case study in line with suggestions from Elliot et al. ( 2016 ) on the best ways to build evidence in the ongoing debate over protest tactics and media coverage. We have expanded the evidence base on this topic along two dimensions: first, offering a within-organization, before-and-after study of the relationship between a significant tactical shift and the corresponding media coverage, while also offering a side-by-side comparison of several major direct actions.

We found that both liberal and conservative papers write more about climate actions than neutral ones, suggesting that climate activism may activate more coverage in partisan media spaces than nonpartisan ones. Legal actions, and those based in London, gain the most news coverage. Furthermore, legal actions and national events are both written about more positively, while conservative papers are more negative about climate activism overall. Targeting industry seems to lead to the most coverage, compared to other audiences. Targeting the government seems to lead to the most negative coverage, compared to other audiences.

Based on seven months of media coverage, our findings depend to an extent on which subset of the data is analyzed but several patterns stand out. In line with our first hypothesis, conservative publications cover climate activism more unfavorably and more inaccurately than other publications. Our further analysis shows conservative publications cover climate activism more inaccurately. This is consistent with evidence from, inter alia, (Painter and Ashe 2012 ) that demonstrates a link between news source political affiliation and the accuracy of coverage of climate science, although ours is the first study to extend this finding to the coverage of climate activism. This is a challenge because in a media landscape dominated by conservative media, public understandings of climate science, policy, and activism may be informed by low-quality information.

In line with the first part of our second hypothesis, legal actions are generally covered more favorably than illegal ones. However, contrary to the second part of hypothesis 2, they also attract more press coverage than illegal actions on average. This offers evidence against the “activist’s dilemma” described by Feinberg et al. ( 2020 ), and should give some encouragement to those in the activist community who argue in favor of legal actions as a favorable media strategy, given that they seem to attract both more coverage and more favorable coverage than illegal actions. It is important to note, however, that this is only in terms of affective tenor of media coverage, which may not be an accurate proxy for achieving long run political change or systems transformations.

In terms of targets, actions that target industry attract more coverage than those that target other actors, while actions that target the public are covered more favorably than those that do not. The popularity of industry actions in media coverage may be due to industry actions in our dataset often falling into two camps: those that targeted large industries that attracted extensive press coverage anyway (such as the newspaper industry or fossil fuel industry) and industry actions targeting “easy villains”, such as oil companies polluting water sources, which we know from previous research can make effective targets (e.g. Hein and Chaudri 2018 ).

On the question of scale, we have evidence that events centered around London attract more coverage, on average, than those that are local or nationally-coordinated across the country, pointing to a London-centric bias in the media sources we study (for more on the relationship between journalist proximity to protests and coverage, see Brown and Harlow 2019 ). This makes sense, given that most of the sources we study (and much of their staff) are headquartered in or around London, but could point to a challenge for activists looking to attract coverage for actions outside of London or reach members of the public living outside of London, since voters might be inclined to discount actions that occur outside of their immediate area. Local news media and social media may be especially important to analyze to assess how generalizable this “London Bias” is in future work.

We analyzed subsets of the data both to validate the robustness of our results, and to pinpoint specific lessons for climate activists. For example, removing coverage of The Big One from our analysis allowed us to test how a single overshadowing event can influence news coverage far beyond the news cycle in which it occurs. 89 articles in our dataset mentioned The Big One, spanning from ‘We Quit” in January to when article collection stopped in May. Supplementary Appendix C shows the results of our regressions run on a sample that excludes coverage of The Big One. Our major findings largely persist across regressions, in direction if not always in significance. It is worth noting, however, that the mean sentiment of articles excluding The Big One, both all other articles in our dataset and those just focused on XR, was lower than when The Big One was included: indicating that it did generate a wealth of relatively positive coverage, at least compared to the overall negative tilt of coverage across our database. Our case study analysis indicates that this might have been due at least in part to The Big One overlapping with the London marathon, and the much-publicized refutation of fears that The Big One would cause disruption to the marathon. As an indication, coverage focused on The Big One was 0.137 points more positive including coverage of the marathon than excluding, and the subset of articles focused on The Big One and the marathon was one of the only subsets of our data to obtain an average positive rating.

We also offer a case study of three major actions, which between them accounted for 1/3 of the coverage in the dataset. In this comparison, the actions that were more disruptive to the general public drew more press coverage (both in terms of the number of articles, and overall word count). However, that coverage was more negative. The greater coverage might have been due to the fact that the sporting events in question were heavily televised anyway, with the Grand National attracting 7.5 million viewers on TV alone (Racing Post 2023 ). The negative tenor of that coverage, compared to The Big One, is in line with the theories that actions that disrupt the lives of ordinary Britons, as well as those without a clear connection to the climate crisis, will draw more backlash. By targeting and disruptive major sporting events, both the Grand National and Snooker protests arguably met both those criteria, while the peaceful The Big One protests, targeting parliament and government officials, did not.

Our within organization study examined how news coverage changed after XR’s shift to non-publicly disruptive tactics on Jan 1, 2023. One might reasonably have expected that the sentiment of such coverage would have improved, yet we found no evidence to support this hypothesis. Our results suggest that the media is inelastic in the tenor of its coverage of climate activism. One potential explanation for this, as well as the overall negative tilt of coverage in our dataset, is the fact that conservative outlets outnumber liberal outlets among the largest news providers in the UK, and that conservative outlets generally publish more articles that are critical and inaccurate about climate activism than liberal or neutral outlets. This can be seen in our case study, where all four events had a negative mean sentiment score. Such conservative dominance of climate change coverage is not a uniquely UK phenomenon: recent evidence from Cooper ( 2023 ) found that conservative television channels in the US publish far more coverage of climate protests than their liberal or neutral counterparts. These findings, coupled with the overall negative sentiment of coverage across XR and non-XR events alike, speak to the uphill challenge that activists face in driving positive coverage of their cause.

Limitations

Given the overall decline of legacy media in recent years, one might reasonably question whether such newspapers are a relevant conduit between activists and voters. We believe they are, for two reasons. First, a sizable percentage of the population still consumes news coverage from either a major newspaper (38%) or the BBC (53%) on a regular basis (Ofcom 2022 ). Among adults who regularly follow news, and who the literature tells us are more likely to be politically active (Wen et al. 2013 ), the numbers were even higher. Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, has also found that while consumption of BBC TV coverage and print coverage have both been declining, consumption of online newspapers and BBC coverage (the type we study here) remains constant and influential. There is also evidence from both Ofcom’s and our own findings that legacy media organizations are a major driver of news discussions on social media (Ofcom 2022 ). According to Ofcom, among those who use social media for news consumption, 53% follow the BBC, and 24% the Daily Mail. Additionally, the articles in our dataset were frequently shared on social media, some of them over a thousand times.

Finally, it is worth noting that the legacy press has been shown to have a direct influence on the British political elite’s climate change policy, that goes beyond what one would expect given the influence of media on the population (Carter and Clements 2015 ). This makes news media especially important to study, given recent scholarship arguing that the most effective path to political change runs through influencing political elites rather than the mass public (Thomas-Walters and Young 2023 ). The influence of media coverage of climate activism on political elites has also been shown by Wouters and Walgrave ( 2017 ) and Hutter and Vliegencourt ( 2018 ). However, that is not to say that our study should not be extended further to social media, to account for users who consume news directly through social platforms, bypassing legacy media entirely. Indeed, we believe that such an extension of this study would be a logical next step in the study of what factors predict coverage, or even discussion, of climate activism.

One thing we have not fully explored in this dataset is the “disruptiveness” of an action, which may differ from legality. An action can still be disruptive even if legal (such as mass flyering outside a bank). However, we had no objective system for rating the disruptiveness of an action, and therefore did not include it as a predictor of volume and sentiment of coverage.

Of course, press coverage is not the only way to evaluate the outcome of an action. Indeed, there has been a wealth of work on climate activism in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, using measures other than press coverage to evaluate the outcome of a protest or action, such as public opinion polling and electoral results. For example, Kenward and Brick ( 2023 ) found that the 2019 Extinction Rebellion protests increased pro-environmental attitudes among members of the general public. Meanwhile significant polling by the UK-based Social Change Lab has found that disruptive actions can increase support for more moderate groups, that climate action can increase the likelihood of members of the public to engage in climate action, and that the Grand National protests led to simultaneous positive and negative outcomes (from Animal Rising’s point of view; Ozden and Glover 2022 , Ozden and Ostarek 2022 , Ozden 2023 ). There have also been attempts to connect exposure to environmental protests with election results, including by Valentim ( 2023 ) who found that repeated exposure to environmental protests increases voting for pro-environmental candidates. By being the first to study the link between modern British climate activism tactics and press coverage, we aim to give activists and scholars of activism another tool, alongside public opinion polling and election results, to evaluate the outcomes of their actions and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Our findings offer a strong addition to recent work on the coverage of climate change protests in the media. Cammaerts ( 2023 ) found that the coverage of another UK climate movement, YouthStrike4Climate, was largely positive but sentiment declined over time between February and October 2019. However, we found that coverage of XR and related groups was negative , on average, suggesting the media has become more negative towards climate activists. Fisher et al. ( 2023 ) have suggested that more disruptive actions lead to greater likelihood of coverage, (in line with “the activists’ dilemma”). More broadly, our findings paint a portrait of just how many factors matter in these conversations, e.g. the geography of protest (London centrality), partisanship of media outlets, target (industry vs. government), and legality. This in itself worth noting in a public conversation on climate activism which has tended to focus fairly narrowly on the links between level of disruption and shape/scope of coverage. Indeed, Amenta and Elliot ( 2017 ) made the case that combinations of movement characteristics and various elements of political context set the stage for political influence.

There are several worthwhile directions future work on this topic should take. Given the proportion of voters, especially young voters, who get their news from social media (Ofcom 2022 ), it would be worth tracking how different types of protest tactics affect engagement and reactions on social media. Emotion-based reactions data on platforms such as Facebook offer one potential way to catalog sentiment. It would also be worth expanding this study to other countries. Given the similarity between media environments (e.g. the dominance of conservative outlets, the presence of a robust climate action movement, and the continued reliance of political elites on legacy media) between the United Kingdom and the United States, the U.S. would be a likely candidate. Cross country comparison would also allow for a better examination of how country context shapes the debates to which we contribute.

We anticipate that the broad takeaways from this study will depend on if the goal is to drive the most overall media coverage possible, or the most positive media coverage possible. If their goal is to attract the most attention and drive the greatest possible volume of media coverage, our case study and regressions suggest that disruptive protests that occur in London may hold the most promise. If their goal is to attract the most positive coverage, on the other hand, then legal actions that target the public on a national scale offer a plausible path to doing so.

Data availability

Data and all materials needed for replication from this paper are available on the OSF dataverse at https://osf.io/8mwpb/ .

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge financial and logistical support from the Climate Social Science Network at Brown University, especially participants in its April 2023 Critical Studies of Climate Media Working Group workshop, and members of Extinction Rebellion’s Data Analysis & Insights Circle and the Actions Circle. Funding for this project was provided by the Climate Social Science Network’s Critical Studies of Climate Media Working Group.

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Eric G. Scheuch is first author and corresponding author ([email protected]). Laura Thomas-Walters conceptualized the work and sought funding. Eric G. Scheuch collected the data and analyzed the results. Eric G. Scheuch also led on the writing of the manuscript in close collaboration with Laura Thomas-Walters. All authors provided feedback throughout the process and signed off on the final draft.

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Scheuch, E.G., Ortiz, M., Shreedhar, G. et al. The power of protest in the media: examining portrayals of climate activism in UK news. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 11 , 270 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-024-02688-0

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Copernicus Climate Change Service provides new tools for users

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The EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by ECMWF, has provided new tools to make it easier for users to explore how the climate has been changing and how it could change in the future.

They include the Copernicus Interactive Climate Atlas, which enables data from a variety of sources and over various timeframes to be visualised, and Climate Pulse, a tool for climate change images intended mainly for the media.

The updates come at a time of unprecedented global temperatures over the last year according to C3S data: the last twelve months have been the world’s warmest on record, and they include the warmest month on record.

C3S aims to provide policy-makers, businesses and the general public with climate change information that is useful to them. The next milestone in its development will be the introduction of a new higher-resolution climate reanalysis, ERA6, which is expected to replace ERA5 in 2027.

On 21 March 2024, C3S will mark World Meteorological Day , which this year is devoted to climate action.

Interactive Climate Atlas

The Copernicus Interactive Climate Atlas is a new tool that enables the visualisation and exploration of a variety of past, present and future climate data. It builds on the Interactive Atlas of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC-IA ).

The tool includes data from a variety of sources, such as ECMWF’s ERA5 climate reanalysis and ORAS5 global ocean reanalysis, the World Climate Research Programme’s CMIP5 and CMIP6 datasets, and others.

As well as visualising global data, users can choose which regions to call up for information, and they can study data for different periods.

There are also visualisations for dozens of variables to look at, including for example mean temperature, frost days, sea-ice area, mean wind speed and cloud cover.

“This Atlas is an interface to access the data we have. It can be used by national meteorological services and climate centres as well as policy-makers, businesses and the general public,” says Carlo Buontempo, the Director of C3S.

More information on the Copernicus Interactive Climate Atlas is available on the C3S website .

Screenshot from Copernicus Interactive Climate Atlas

The Copernicus Interactive Climate Atlas provides a number of choices for users to look up and download different views.

Climate Pulse

C3S has also developed a download and visualisation tool for current and historical data, intended mainly for the media. Called Climate Pulse , it enables journalists and others to easily download the latest information for air temperature and sea temperature.

ERA5 data are made available for different timeframes and in different visualisations. “This interactive web application is currently in its beta release, and C3S is keen to further improve it,” Carlo says.

More information on Climate Pulse is available on the C3S website .

Screenshot of the Copernicus Climate Pulse app

The Climate Pulse app supplies images of absolute values and anomalies, for air temperature and sea temperature, in map or graph format.

Unprecedented heat

The Atlas and Climate Pulse updates come at a time when C3S has found global surface air temperatures to be the warmest on record over the last twelve months.

The global-average temperature from March 2023 to February 2024 was 0.68°C above the 1991–2020 average and 1.56°C above the 1850–1900 pre-industrial average. July 2023 was the warmest month on record.

February 2024 was the warmest February on record, and the daily global temperature reached 2°C above 1850–1900 levels on four consecutive days (8–11 February).

More details on these findings can be found on the C3S website.

February 2024 surface air temperature anomaly

February 2024 was particularly warm in Europe as well as globally.

What next for C3S?

C3S aims to continuously develop its products to provide the best possible service. This includes the development of a new climate reanalysis , ERA6, which is expected to replace ERA5 in 2027.

ERA6 will approximately halve the grid spacing of ERA5, from close to 30 km to close to 15 km. It will also be more directly coupled with the ocean than ERA5. “We know that this is important for a large class of phenomena, such as tropical cyclones and ocean heatwaves,” says Carlo.

ERA6 will be using the latest advances in Earth system modelling and data assimilation made by ECMWF. It will also benefit from efforts to make more observations available. “C3S has worked with EUMETSAT and other organisations to reprocess old data and to rescue data that would otherwise be lost,” Carlo says. “This will enable ERA6 to rely on an array of historical data that is as wide as possible.”

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Climate change indicators reached record levels in 2023: WMO

The state of the climate in 2023 gave ominous new significance to the phrase “off the charts.”

  • State of Global Climate report confirms 2023 as hottest year on record by clear margin
  • Records broken for ocean heat, sea level rise, Antarctic sea ice loss and glacier retreat
  • Extreme weather undermines socio-economic development
  • Renewable energy transition provides hope
  • Cost of climate inaction is higher than cost of climate action

Glacial icebergs floating in a calm, icy water with a hazy mountain backdrop.

A new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) shows that records were once again broken, and in some cases smashed, for greenhouse gas levels, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise, Antarctic sea ice cover and glacier retreat.

Heatwaves, floods, droughts, wildfires and rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones caused misery and mayhem, upending every-day life for millions and inflicting many billions of dollars in economic losses, according to the WMO State of the Global Climate 2023 report.

The WMO report confirmed that 2023 was the warmest year on record, with the global average near-surface temperature at 1.45 °Celsius (with a margin of uncertainty of ± 0.12 °C) above the pre-industrial baseline. It was the warmest ten-year period on record.

“Sirens are blaring across all major indicators... Some records aren’t just chart-topping, they’re chart-busting. And changes are speeding-up.” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres .

“Never have we been so close – albeit on a temporary basis at the moment – to the 1.5° C lower limit of the Paris Agreement on climate change.” said WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo. “The WMO community is sounding the Red Alert to the world.”

“Climate change is about much more than temperatures. What we witnessed in 2023, especially with the unprecedented ocean warmth, glacier retreat and Antarctic sea ice loss, is cause for particular concern,” she said.

On an average day in 2023, nearly one third of the global ocean was gripped by a marine heatwave, harming vital ecosystems and food systems. Towards the end of 2023, over 90% of the ocean had experienced heatwave conditions at some point during the year.

The global set of reference glaciers suffered the largest loss of ice on record (since 1950), driven by extreme melt in both western North America and Europe, according to preliminary data.

Antarctic sea ice extent was by far the lowest on record, with the maximum extent at the end of winter at 1 million km2 below the previous record year - equivalent to the size of France and Germany combined.

“The climate crisis is THE defining challenge that humanity faces and is closely intertwined with the inequality crisis – as witnessed by growing food insecurity and population displacement, and biodiversity loss” said Celeste Saulo.

Comparison of global mean temperature difference data sets from the 1850s to 2023 relative to the 1850-1900 average.

The number of people who are acutely food insecure worldwide has more than doubled, from 149 million people before the COVID-19 pandemic to 333 million people in 2023 (in 78 monitored countries by the World Food Programme). Weather and climate extremes may not be the root cause, but they are aggravating factors, according to the report.

Weather hazards continued to trigger displacement in 2023, showing how climate shocks undermine resilience and create new protection risks among the most vulnerable populations.

There is, however, a glimmer of hope.

Renewable energy generation, primarily driven by the dynamic forces of solar radiation, wind and the water cycle, has surged to the forefront of climate action for its potential to achieve decarbonization targets. In 2023, renewable capacity additions increased by almost 50% from 2022, for a total of 510 gigawatts (GW) – the highest rate observed in the past two decades.

This week, at the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial on 21-22 March, climate leaders and ministers from around the world will gather for the first time since COP28 in Dubai to push for accelerated climate action. Enhancing countries Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) ahead of the February 2025 deadline, will be high on the agenda, as will delivering an ambitious agreement on financing at COP29 to turn national plans into action.

"Climate Action is currently being hampered by a lack of capacity to deliver and use climate services to inform national mitigation and adaptation plans, especially in developing countries. We need to increase support for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to be able to provide information services to ensure the next generation of Nationally Determined Contributions are based on science", said Celeste Saulo.

The State of the Global Climate report was released in time for World Meteorological Day on 23 March. It also sets the scene for a new climate action campaign by the UN Development Programme and WMO to be launched on 21 March. It will inform discussions at a climate ministerial meeting in Copenhagen on 21-22 March.

Dozens of experts and partners contribute to the report, including UN organizations, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and Global Data and Analysis Centers, as well as Regional Climate Centres, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), the Global Cryosphere Watch and Copernicus Climate Change Service operated by ECMWF.  

Key messages

Greenhouse gases.

Observed concentrations of the three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – reached record levels in 2022. Real-time data from specific locations show a continued increase in 2023.

CO2 levels are 50 % higher than the pre-industrial era, trapping heat in the atmosphere. The long lifetime of CO2 means that temperatures will continue to rise for many years to come.

Temperature

The global mean near-surface temperature in 2023 was 1.45 ± 0.12 °C above the pre-industrial 1850–1900 average. 2023 was the warmest year in the 174-year observational record. This shattered the record of the previous warmest years, 2016 at 1.29 ± 0.12 °C above the 1850–1900 average and 2020 at 1.27±0.13 °C.

The ten-year average 2014–2023 global temperature is 1.20±0.12°C above the 1850–1900 average.  Globally, every month from June to December was record warm for the respective month. September 2023 was particularly noteworthy, surpassing the previous global record for September by a wide margin (0.46 to 0.54 °C).

The long-term increase in global temperature is due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The shift from La Niña to El Niño conditions in the middle of 2023 contributed to the rapid rise in temperature from 2022 to 2023.

Global average sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) were at a record high from April onwards, with the records  in July, August and September broken by a particularly wide margin. Exceptional warmth was recorded in the eastern North Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the North Pacific and large areas of the Southern Ocean, with widespread marine heatwaves.

Some areas of unusual warming such as the Northeast Atlantic do not correspond to typical patterns of warming associated with El Niño, which was visibly present in the Tropical Pacific.

Global distribution and frequency of marine heatwaves (mhw) categorized by intensity, with accompanying temporal analysis charts, highlighting increased occurrences over time.

Ocean heat content reached its highest level in 2023, according to a consolidated analysis of data. Warming rates show a particularly strong increase in the past two decades.

It is expected that warming will continue – a change which is irreversible on scales of hundreds to thousands of years.

More frequent and intense marine heatwaves have profound negative repercussions for marine ecosystems and coral reefs.

The global ocean experienced an average daily marine heatwave coverage of 32%, well above the previous record of 23% in 2016. At the end of 2023, most of the global ocean between 20° S and 20° N had been in heatwave conditions since early November.  

Of particular note were the widespread marine heatwaves in the North Atlantic which began in the Northern Hemisphere spring, peaked in extent in September and persisted through to the end of the year. The end of 2023 saw a broad band of severe and extreme marine heatwave across the North Atlantic, with temperatures 3 °C above average.

The Mediterranean Sea experienced near complete coverage of strong and severe marine heatwaves for the twelfth consecutive year.

Ocean acidification has increased as a result of absorbing carbon dioxide.

Sea level rise

In 2023, global mean sea level reached a record high in the satellite record (since 1993), reflecting continued ocean warming (thermal expansion) as well as the melting of glaciers and ice sheets.

The rate of global mean sea level rise in the past ten years (2014–2023) is more than twice the rate of sea level rise in the first decade of the satellite record (1993–2002).

Graph illustrating the daily antarctic sea-ice extent from 1979 to 2023, with the 2023 extent showing a notable deviation from historical averages.

Antarctic sea-ice extent reached an absolute record low for the satellite era (since 1979) in February 2023 and remained at record low for the time of year from June till early November. The annual maximum in September was 16.96 million km2, roughly 1.5 million km2 below the 1991–2020 average and 1 million km2 below the previous record low maximum.

Arctic sea-ice extent remained well below normal, with the annual maximum and minimum sea ice extents being the fifth and sixth lowest on record respectively.

Ice sheets: There are two principal ice sheets, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic ice Sheet. Combining the two ice sheets, the seven highest melt years on record are all since 2010, and average rates of mass loss increased from 105 Gigatonnes per year  from 1992–1996 to 372 Gigatonnes per year from 2016–2020. This is equivalent to about 1 mm per year of global sea level rise attributed to the ice sheets in the latter period.

The Greenland Ice Sheet continued to lose mass in the hydrological year 2022–2023 It was the warmest summer on record at Greenland’s Summit station, 1.0 °C warmer than the previous record. Satellite melt-extent data indicate that the ice sheet had the third highest cumulative melt-day area on record (1978–2023), after the extreme melt season of 2012 and 2010.

Glaciers: Preliminary data for the hydrological year 2022-2023 indicate that the global set of reference glaciers suffered the largest loss of ice on record (1950-2023), driven by extremely negative mass balance in both western North America and Europe.

Glaciers in the European Alps experienced an extreme melt season. In Switzerland, glaciers have lost around 10% of their remaining volume in the past two years. Western North America suffered record glacier mass loss in 2023 – at a rate which was five times higher than rates measured for the period 2000-2019. Glaciers in western North America have lost an estimated 9% of their 2020 volume over the period 2020-2023.

Extreme weather and climate events

Extreme weather and climate events had major socio-economic impacts on all inhabited continents. These included major floods, tropical cyclones, extreme heat and drought, and associated wildfires.

Flooding linked to extreme rainfall from Mediterranean Cyclone Daniel affected Greece, Bulgaria, Türkiye, and Libya with particularly heavy loss of life in Libya in September.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy in February and March was one of the world’s longest-lived tropical cyclones with major impacts on Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.

Tropical Cyclone Mocha, in May, was one of the most intense cyclones ever observed in the Bay of Bengal and triggered 1.7 million displacements across the sub-region from Sri Lanka to Myanmar and through India and Bangladesh, and worsened acute food insecurity.

Hurricane Otis intensified to a maximum Category 5 system in a matter of hours – one of the most rapid intensification rates in the satellite era. It hit the Mexican coastal resort of Acapulco on 24 October, causing economic losses estimated at around US$15 billion, and killing at least 47 people.

Extreme heat affected many parts of the world. Some of the most significant were in southern Europe and North Africa, especially in the second half of July. Temperatures in Italy reached 48.2 °C, and record-high temperatures were reported in Tunis (Tunisia) 49.0 °C, Agadir (Morocco) 50.4 °C and Algiers (Algeria) 49.2 °C.

Canada’s wildfire season was the worst on record. The total area burned nationally for the year was 14.9 million hectares, more than seven times the long-term average. The fires also led to severe smoke pollution, particularly in the heavily populated areas of eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States. The deadliest single wildfire of the year was in Hawaii, with at least 100 deaths reported – the deadliest wildfire in the USA for more than 100 years – and estimated economic losses of US$5.6 billion.

The Greater Horn of Africa region, which had been experiencing long-term drought, suffered substantial flooding in 2023, particularly later in the year. The flooding displaced 1.8 million people across Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia and Kenya in addition to the 3 million people displaced internally or across borders by the five consecutive seasons of drought in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia.

Long-term drought persisted in north-western Africa and parts of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as parts of central and southwest Asia. It intensified in many parts of Central America and South America. In northern Argentina and Uruguay, rainfall from January to August was 20 to 50% below average, leading to crop losses and low water storage levels.

Socioeconomic impacts

Decline in global undernourishment prevalence with fluctuating number of undernourished individuals over time (2005-2022).

Weather and climate hazards exacerbated challenges with food security, population displacements and impacts on vulnerable populations. They continued to trigger new, prolonged, and secondary displacement and increased the vulnerability of many who were already uprooted by complex multi-causal situations of conflict and violence.

One of the essential components for reducing the impact of disasters is to have effective multi-hazard early warning systems. The Early Warnings for All initiative seeks to ensure that everyone is protected by early warning systems by the end of 2027. Development and implementation of local disaster risk reduction strategies have increased since the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The report cites figures that the number of people who are acutely food insecure worldwide has more than doubled, from 149 million people before the COVID-19 pandemic to 333 million people in 2023 (in 78 monitored countries by the World Food Programme). WFP Global hunger levels remained unchanged from 2021 to 2022. However, these are still far above pre-COVID 19 pandemic levels: in 2022, 9.2% of the global population (735.1 million people) were undernourished. Protracted conflicts, economic downturns, and high food prices, further exacerbated by high costs of agricultural inputs driven by ongoing and widespread conflict around the world, are at the root of high global food insecurity levels. This is aggravated by the effects of climate and weather extremes. In southern Africa, for example, the passage of Cyclone Freddy in February 2023 affected Madagascar, Mozambique, southern Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Flooding submerged extensive agricultural areas and inflicted severe damage on crops and the economy.

Renewable energy generation, primarily driven by the dynamic forces of solar radiation, wind and the water cycle, has surged to the forefront of climate action for its potential to achieve decarbonization targets.

Worldwide, a substantial energy transition is already underway. In 2023, renewable capacity additions increased by almost 50% from 2022, for a total of 510 gigawatts (GW). Such growth marks the highest rate observed in the past two decades and indicates, demonstrates the potential to achieve the clean energy goal set at COP28 to triple renewable energy capacity globally to reach 11 000 GW by 2030.

Climate Financing

In 2021/2022, global climate-related finance flows reached almost USD 1.3 trillion, nearly doubling compared to 2019/2020 levels. Even so, tracked climate finance flows represent only approximately 1% of global GDP, according to the Climate Policy Initiative.

There is a large financing gap. In an average scenario, for a 1.5°C pathway, annual climate finance investments need to grow by more than six times, reaching almost USD 9 trillion by 2030 and a further USD 10 trillion through to 2050.  

The cost of inaction is even higher. Aggregating over the period 2025-2100, the total cost of inaction is estimated at USD 1,266 trillion; that is, the difference in losses under a business-as-usual scenario and those incurred within a 1.5°C pathway. This figure is, however, likely to be a dramatic underestimate.

Adaptation finance continues to be insufficient. Though adaptation finance reached an all-time high of USD 63 billion in 2021/2022, the global adaptation financing gap is widening, falling well short of the estimated USD 212 billion per year needed up to 2030 in developing countries alone.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in atmospheric science and meteorology.

WMO monitors weather, climate, and water resources and provides support to its Members in forecasting and disaster mitigation. The organization is committed to advancing scientific knowledge and improving public safety and well-being through its work.

For further information, please contact:

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IMAGES

  1. Global Warming and Climate Change in the News

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  2. The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof

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  3. Media Research on Climate Change: Where have we been and where are we

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  4. Future of Climate Change

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  5. Future of Climate Change

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  6. The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof

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COMMENTS

  1. (PDF) Climate Change and the Media

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  3. [PDF] Media Coverage of Climate Change: Current Trends, Strengths

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  4. PDF Climate Change and Global Warming in The Media: a Content Analysis of

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  5. [PDF] Media attention for climate change around the world: A

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  15. PDF Media power and climate change

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    The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change. Paleontological Research Institute. This free PDF book offers the basics of climate change science and perspectives on teaching a subject that has become socially and politically polarized. Audience focus is teachers of high school Earth science and environmental science. Open access title.

  18. How Gen Zers, Millennials react to climate change content on social

    Younger adults have taken on prominent roles in efforts to stop climate change, with groups and individuals such as climate activist Greta Thunberg and the Sunrise Movement among those working to address the issue.. Among U.S. social media users, 45% of Gen Z adults and 40% of Millennials have interacted with content on social platforms that focuses on the need for action on climate change by ...

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