Reporting on Climate-Change Action: Paris Agreement, Fridays for Future and the Unequal Framing in Public News Worldwide
About this Session
Thu. 07.04. 11:00
Speaker: Gabriele Spilker, Co-Author: Lisa Lechner
Climate change poses an existential threat to future life on our planet. Yet today’s societies are rather sluggish when it comes to climate action, and public opinion on climate change has become increasingly polarized in most countries. At the same time, we observe both international cooperation, in the context of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and bottom-up pressure from parts of the general public, in the form of the Fridays for Future (F4F) protests to avert these grim worst-case scenarios of climate change. But do these forms of pro-climate action impact on how the general public perceives climate change? Thus, can either international cooperation or public protest move the debate on climate change in a more positive direction or does it rather result in a backlash? We tackle these questions relying on a comparative media analysis including not only several news outlets over time but also various countries. We propose an original way of generating multilingual dictionaries and demonstrate its usefulness on a new dataset of newspaper articles from 16 countries, 26 newspaper outlets over a period from 2013 to 2020. Using this method, we can show that depending on the type of news medium, quality versus tabloid and liberal versus conservative, pro-climate action, such as F4F protest behavior or the Paris Agreement, are portrayed in very different ways, thus potentially contributing to an increase in societal polarization on the issue of climate change.