Scientists, this is a call to arms over energy policy

• By Catherine Happer, University of Glasgow • Climate change no longer attracts the headlines it once did, as the recent conference in Doha showed. Global media attention since its 2009 peak during the Copenhagen summit has fallen off a cliff – according to the Daily Climate global database, coverage in the subsequent two years was down by 42%. This is happening at a time when the consensus on the impacts of inaction is growing in the scientific community. But the scientists are not leading the debate. Political players dominate communications around climate change, particularly in the English-speaking media. As a result we have polarised coverage transmitting a real sense of uncertainty. The politicisation of climate change has also been pivotal in its recent removal from the media agenda. President Obama barely mentioned climate change in his presidential campaign, and the lack of press attention is not simply coincidence. Energy, on the other hand, is high on the global agenda. It was a key debating issue in the US election campaigns and, in the UK, discussions around the recent Energy Bill and internal fighting over the role of renewable energy as well as the cost to the public have put it on the front pages. In other countries, calls for energy independence, reaction to the incident at the Fukushima power plant, and the opening up of resources all contribute to its strong presence in the media. Over the last two years the Glasgow University Media Group has been working with leading UK think tank Chatham House on UKERC-funded research looking at the role of the media in the shaping of public attitudes on both energy security and climate change. Perhaps not surprisingly the findings show that climate change has not only fallen off the media and political agenda, but also the public agenda. The less people hear about it, the less they think about it ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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