How do consumers interact with climate change news?A global study found that the most popular climate change news sources were documentaries or major news organizations. By contrast, politicians were among the least favorable choice. Respondents under the age of 35 were almost twice as likely to prefer getting climate news from celebrities, social media personalities, or activists than their older peers.
An interesting trend can be observed in the United States. In spring 2021, more than 40 percent of adults said that they had seen content about climate action on social media in the last few weeks. However, engagement with climate action content on social networks was notably higher among Gen Z and millennials. Less than a third of Gen X and boomers interacted with the content they saw. One reason could be a lack of trust in social media as a source of information, which is substantially lower among adults aged 45 and above.
The state of climate news coverageThe voices calling for climate action are growing louder, but there is ample room for more media coverage of the issue. That said, how much attention the news media pays to climate change can depend on myriad factors, including government policies, press freedom, and the political leaning of a news organization.
In the United Kingdom, for example, the number of newspaper editorials supporting climate action over a ten-year period was significantly higher among left-leaning publications, whilst right-leaning papers and tabloids were more likely to publish content arguing against it. Over in the U.S., an analysis of broadcast news coverage of climate change revealed that Fox News Sunday aired less than an hour of coverage in every year from 2015 to 2021, whereas airtime on CBS in 2021 was close to nine and a half hours. Even so, less than 10 hours of coverage over the course of a full year is low, given the severity of the current situation.
A global survey asking the public about their perception of how much the Earth’s temperature increased found that the majority did not know. This highlights the necessity of increased and more consistent communication about the issue to keep citizens informed – regardless of political affiliation or policy.