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Klimawandel in den Medien


von Michael Brüggemann und Louisa Pröschel

In ihrem Artikel “Klimawandel in den Medien” geben Michael Brüggemann und Louisa Pröschel einen Überblick über das Forschungsfeld der Klimakommunikation und beschreiben, wieso der Klimawandel eine besondere Herausforderung für den Journalismus ist, welche Hindernisse es in der Klimakommunikation in Deutschland gibt und, wie diese überwunden werden können.

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Addressing Misconceptions About News Media Coverage of Climate Change

Two graphs of how German and US news media use various climate-related search terms.

by Michael Brüggemann, Hendrik Meyer, Sam Burton-Weiss, and Robin Tschötschel

In two simple graphs, we address a number of myths about how news media cover climate change in Germany and the United States. Some people incorrectly assume that climate change (1) has been at the center of journalistic attention for a long time and that (2) this attention has been steadily increasing (3) uniformly across countries. Also, critics sometimes wrongly claim (4) that news coverage is overly alarmist.

To provide some data on these misconceptions, we have calculated the share of articles matching certain keyword search criteria among all articles published by a range of media outlets drawn from the database Factiva[1]. The first set of keywords covers climate change broadly speaking, the second the more urgent terms like “climate crisis, and the third even more pressing language like “climate emergency.”

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Do people learn about climate change?

by Fenja De Silva-Schmidt

How to mobilize citizens, politicians and companies for climate action? Often, knowledge about climate change – or more precisely, a lack of knowledge – is seen as a crucial factor. Basic facts on climate change and climate politics are indeed unknown to a large share of the population. However, ‘educating the public’ is not as easy as one might think – and may even be not that crucial for climate protection. Here’s what I’ve learnt from studying the topic for almost a decade.

When I started my master’s thesis in 2014, I had a traditional model of science communication in my mind: information about scientific and political topics is spread, e.g. by the media, so that the people can learn from it and fill in their “knowledge deficit” (see e.g. Tayeebwa et al 2022). Then, the new knowledge leads them to rethink their attitudes and change their behaviour. Since then, I’ve learnt not only that this model is outdated, but also that human learning and behaviour is much more complex.

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Can Art Make (Climate) Models Better?

Screenshot from Future Models Manual website

by Felix Schaumann

How do we think about climate futures ahead of us? Different actors tend to use different tools for that. The stream of weather catastrophes in the news media suggests a rather gloomy future. Some recent novels try to paint a more optimistic picture of the decades ahead (see our post on this).

International climate politics, for its part, has mainly based visions of the future on IPCC scenarios and model projections. For example, integrated assessment models (IAMs) played an important role in highlighting the feasibility of limiting global warming to 2 or even 1.5 degrees, and thereby led the way to the Paris Agreement. At the same time, this policy ambition came at the expense of modelling huge quantities of negative emission technologies, which again had a strong influence on the climate policy discourse.

Clearly, model-based climate futures are important for climate politics, but it is far from obvious what goes into them and based on which premises they are devised. Lisette van Beek tried to shine some light on fundamental questions about IAMs by teaming up with artists Ekaterina Volkova and Julien Thomas and writing an IAM manual.

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Climate Endgame – How to Research and Communicate Extreme Climate Risks?

Firefighters in front of a wall of flames, wading through shallow water

by Felix Schaumann

“Are we screwed?”, “How bad is it gonna get?” – these are the questions that I most frequently get when I mention that I am in climate science. Newspaper coverage of a recent perspective article in PNAS seemed to suggest that we are actually headed towards a global catastrophe with potential extinction and that we know dangerously little about it: “Climate endgame: risk of human extinction ‘dangerously underexplored’ – Scientists say there are ample reasons to suspect global heating could lead to catastrophe”, or “We Are Not Freaking Out Enough About Climate Change”.

This media coverage has led other researchers to criticize the underlying article for being too gloomy – they argue it scares the public and overemphasizes the likelihood of catastrophic climate change. Continue reading Climate Endgame – How to Research and Communicate Extreme Climate Risks?

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Telling the Truth, Uniting Behind the Science – Climate Coalitions and Science’s Place in Society

extinction rebellion activists protest with a pink boat in the city

by Simone Rödder

In recent years, a new wave of climate activist groups, such as Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future and the Sunrise Movement have reshaped public debates on climate action. In so doing they refer to scientific evidence. But, how exactly do they understand science’s relationship to society? Drawing on documentary evidence, our recent study argues that the use of evidence by these groups, especially the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reflects an effective form of science communication, albeit one that leaves hierarchies of scientific knowledge largely intact.

“Unite behind the Science!” and “Tell the Truth!” are among the familiar slogans of the school-striking young activists inspired by Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion. The new climate movements’ call to listen to science has become almost emblematic; it was printed, for example, on the sailboat Greta Thunberg used to cross the Atlantic in September 2019. But what do they actually mean by “science”? Continue reading Telling the Truth, Uniting Behind the Science – Climate Coalitions and Science’s Place in Society

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Global Climate Change in Local Journalism: How to Make Local Journalists Rethink Their Framing

houses seen from below

Not only in photography do choice of angle and frame decide what we see. Photo by Ludovic Charlet, Pixabay.

By Susan Jörges

Framing of climate change in local newspapers considerably influences how citizens perceive climate change in their living environment. A master thesis entitled “Global climate change in local journalism” takes a closer look at the main source of local media frames: cognitive frames from local journalists. This article summarizes the main results and presents six implications for improving local climate change reporting. Continue reading Global Climate Change in Local Journalism: How to Make Local Journalists Rethink Their Framing

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Nachhaltigkeit geht alle an – drei Beiträge zum Thema Nachhaltigkeitskommunikation

Cover ComSoc 2_22

(English summary below)

Die aktuelle Ausgabe der Zeitschrift Communicatio Socialis versammelt diverse interessante Beiträge zum Thema Nachhaltigkeitskommunikation. Das Plädoyer darin: Nachhaltigkeit geht alle an, und auch Journalismus und Wissenschaft können sich nicht länger auf einen distanzierten Beobachterstatus zurückziehen.

Die Zeitschrift ist leider nicht frei lesbar. Für alle, die keinen Zugang zum Journal haben, sind hier drei Beiträge verfügbar – siehe hinterlegte Links:

„Plädoyer für eine bescheidene Weltverbesserung. Transformativer Journalismus und transformative Kommunikationswissenschaft“ (Michael Brüggemann)

„Nachhaltigkeit kultivieren. Öffentliche Kommunikation über Umwelt, Klima, nachhaltige Entwicklung und Transformation“ (Franzisca Weder)

„Transformation und Wiederverortung. Herausforderungen angesichts Klimanotstand und Artensterben“ (Torsten Schäfer)

Zur gesamten Ausgabe (Paywall): Communicatio Socialis (ComSoc), Jahrgang 55 (2022), Heft 2

English summary

Continue reading Nachhaltigkeit geht alle an – drei Beiträge zum Thema Nachhaltigkeitskommunikation