Welcome to Climate Matters!

This site provides information about Communication Research, Climate and Science Communication and is edited by Prof. Dr. Michael Brüggemann and his team at the University of Hamburg.

Find information about ongoing and completed research projects, as well as our media watch blog that reflects voices of communication and climate researchers from Hamburg and beyond.

Informationen auf Deutsch finden Sie auch auf unserer Webseite der Universität Hamburg.

News

New paper published in nature climate change

The paper `The appeasement effect of a United Nations climate summit on the German public´ was published in the current issue of the journal nature climate change. It presents first findings from the research project `Down to Earth´, directed by Prof. Dr. Michael Brüggemann and funded by the cluster of Excellence `CliSAP´.

The article analyses, if and to what extend the media coverage of the UN climate summit in Paris 2015 influences knowledge or problem awareness of climate Change in the German public. The results of a three-wave panel survey show that media coverage increases knowledge and problem awareness in the public only in certain aspects.

The full paper is available online.

The Paper was published by Michael Brüggemann, Professor of climate and science communication at the University of Hamburg, Fenja De Silva-Schmidt, Imke Hoppe as well as Dorothee Arlt and Josephine B. Schmitt.

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Der Artikel „The appeasement effect of a United Nations climate summit on the German public” ist in der aktuellen Ausgabe des Journals nature climate change erschienen. Er enthält erste Ergebnisse aus dem von Prof. Dr. Michael Brüggemann geleiteten Forschungsprojekt „Down to Earth“ und wurde durch das Hamburger Exzellenzcluster CliSAP finanziert.

Der Artikel untersucht, inwieweit die Berichterstattung über die UN-Klimakonferenz 2015 in Paris den Wissensstand der deutschen Bevölkerung beeinflusst und sie für das Thema Klimawandel sensibilisiert. Die Ergebnisse einer Panelbefragung in drei Wellen zeigen, dass die Berichterstattung das Wissen und die Sensibilität für das Thema in der Bevölkerung nur in bestimmten Aspekten vergrößert.

Das Paper ist online lesbar.

Publiziert wurde die Arbeit durch Michael Brüggemann, Professor für Klima- und Wissenschaftskommunikation an der Universität Hamburg, Fenja De Silva-Schmidt, Imke Hoppe sowie Dorothee Arlt und Josephine B. Schmitt.

New team member: Ines Lörcher

Our research group welcomes Ines Lörcher in our team. Since July 2017, Ines Lörcher is working as a research associate in our project on “Redefining the Boundaries of Science and Journalism”. She previously worked in a research project on “Climate change from the Audience Perspective” (funded by the German Research Foundation) under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Irene Neverla at the University of Hamburg from 2012-2017. She holds M.A. degrees in Communications, Political Science and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Mainz, Germany. She is currently working on a PhD project on the public’s appropriation of climate change. MORE

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Workshop: Redefining the Boundaries of Science and Journalism in the Debate on Climate Change

As a kick-off for a new research project, the research team of Prof. Michael Brüggemann organized a workshop at the University of Hamburg from June 21 to 23. The team discussed the changing roles of science and politics in times of post-normal science communication with national and international guests.

After an introduction into the debate of post-normal climate science by Hans von Storch, Stefanie Walter and Michael Brüggemann presented the planned research project. As external experts on their respective countries, Lance Bennett (University of Washington, Seattle, USA), Maxwell Boykoff (University of Colorado-Boulder, USA), Risto Kunelius (University of Tampere, Finnland), Saffron O’Neill (University of Exeter, UK), Hartmut Wessler (University of Mannheim) and Radhika Mittal (National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, Indien) provided their feedback.

The last day of the workshop was open to the academic public. The program included a diverse mixture of presentations on different aspects of climate communication – e.g. climate change and humour, the focus on economics in the climate debate and audience perceptions of climate change around the world – and attracted many interested guests; some international participants also followed the event via Skype.

ICA conference participation and video interview

At the International Communication Associations’ annual conference, which took place in San Diego/USA this year, researchers from our team presented first results from the Down to Earth project (“Climate Engagement in a Digital Age: Exploring the Drivers of Participation in Climate Discourse Online in the Context of COP21”) as well as research on how the COP21 was reported on Twitter (“Opportunity Makes Opinion Leaders: Analyzing the Role of First-Hand Information for Opinion Leadership in Social Media Networks”).

Besides, Michael Brüggemann was invited to a spontaneous interview with the online video literary magazine GuerillaReads, who “invited ICA presenters to share their work guerrilla-style. ”

More information and all other interviews can be found on their site.

Wissenschafts-Kommunikation im Trump-o-zän: Wie wir alle das post-faktische Zeitalter verhindern können

March for Science HH
Demonstrantinnen beim March for Science in Hamburg im April 2017.

Der amtierende US-Präsident ist nicht der einzige, aber einer der lautesten Vertreter einer “postfaktischen” Sichtweise, die sich durch die Leugnung von Verantwortung und einen Rückzug in Subjektivität auszeichnet und in der wissenschaftliche Fakten nach Belieben zur Kenntnis genommen oder ignoriert werden können.

Zu der Frage, wie sich Wissenschaft und Medien auf diese veränderten gesellschaftlichen Rahmenbedingungen einstellen und ein “Trump-o-zän” verhindern können, hat Michael Brüggemann einen Vortrag bei der Jahrestagung 2017 des Deutschen Klima-Konsortiums (DKK) gehalten.

Eine erweiterte und aktualisierte Fassung dieses Vortrags ist nun bei klimafakten.de und auf der Seite des DKK zu lesen.

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Science Communication in the “Trumpocene” – How we can prevent the post-factual age

The recent political and medial changes labeled as the dawning of “the Trumpocene, a new epoch where climate change is just a big scary conspiracy” (Graham Readfern / The Guardian) challenge science and the media to find new ways in science communication. In a presentation for the annual meeting of the German Climate Consortium (Deutsches Klima-Konsortium), Michael Brüggemann has collected suggestions how to prevent the takeover of post-factual views.

The editorial is only available in German via klimafakten.de.

Review 2016: One Year of Climate Change Debates on Twitter

Our Online Media Monitor has been collecting tweets for roughly a year now – time for a little retrospection.

The tool provides ongoing monitoring of the transnational online media debate on climate change by searching for related tweets. Tweets are collected if they contain the following hashtags or key words: #climatechange OR “climate change” OR “global warming” OR “Klimawandel”. Additional criteria are that the tweets got at least 5 retweets and contain at least one link.

OMM Twitter 2016 - frequency

In 2016, we see a slight increase in the general Twitter activity related to climate change – but, even more interesting, also some prominent spikes in the debate. We did some research to find out about which issues the climate change debate revolved on the relevant dates. Four of the five events that sparked the most activity took place in the last quarter of 2016 and had to do with Donald Trump.

OMM Twitter 2016 - users

Among the five most active Twitter users in the climate change debate are three non-profit organizations and two private users (from Australia and the US).

OMM Twitter 2016 - tweet

The most retweeted tweet was sent by BuzzFeed News, following the first US Presidential election debate. When Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of denying the existence of climate change and he rejected the statement, BuzzFeed cited Trump’s original tweet.

 

 

To sum up, 2016 was the year when the climate change debate got increasingly connected to the new US President Donald Trump. By now, his name also ranks highly in Google’s search suggestions related to climate change.

Trump climate change GoogleIf and how the discussion will also center on Trump in 2017 is still to be seen – the OMM will monitor the debate as attentively as before.

New Publication: Beyond false balance

web_global_environmental_change_rh_218xfreeFinally, the article „Beyond false balance: How interpretive journalism shapes media coverage of climate change” is available online. The article is an outcome of our project “Framing Climate Change” and was published by the journal Global Environmental Change.

The article explores the framing of climate change as a harmful, human-induced risk and the way that reporting handles contrarian voices in the climate debate. The analysis shows how journalists, and their interpretations and professional norms, shape media debates about climate change. The study links an analysis of media content to a survey of the authors of the respective articles. It covers leading print and online news outlets in Germany, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland and finds that climate journalism has moved beyond the norm of balance towards a more interpretive pattern of journalism. Quoting contrarian voices still is part of transnational climate coverage, but these quotes are contextualized with a dismissal of climate change denial. Yet niches of denial persist in certain contexts, and much journalistic attention is focused on the narrative of ‘warners vs. deniers,’ and overlooks the more relevant debates about climate change.

Free access to the article is available until February 18th 2017 via this link. Afterwards, the article will be available here.

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Eine Zusammenfassung des Artikels auf Deutsch gibt es auf klimafakten.de

Erste Ergebnisse aus der Tagebuchstudie präsentiert

tagebuch-pixabay-kein-nachweis-notigAuf der European Communication Conference in Prag haben wir erste Ergebnisse aus der Tagebuchstudie des Projekts “Down to Earth” präsentiert. Für den Vortrag wurden die Angaben zu den Gesprächen der 41 Teilnehmer über den Klimawandel analysiert, die sie im Zeitraum der Klimakonferenz in Paris 2015 geführt hatten.

Es hat sich gezeigt, dass – verglichen mit den wenigen bisherigen empirischen Untersuchungen zu Gesprächen über Klimawandel – die Teilnehmer überraschend häufig über das Thema sprachen. Dabei unterschieden sich die Unterhaltungen deutlich je nach der Beziehung zum Gesprächspartner: Mit engen sozialen Kontakten wie Lebenspartnern und Familie sprachen die Befragten vor allem über die Folgen des Klimawandels und mögliche Gegenmaßnahmen, mit Arbeitskollegen und Bekannten unterhielten sie sich eher über die Ursachen und den Klimawandel allgemein. Die Gespräche mit engen Bezugspartnern wurden oft als „gegenseitiger Informationsaustausch“ beschrieben und verliefen konfliktfrei, während in Unterhaltungen mit Bekannten auch gegensätzliche Ansichten aufeinander trafen.

Hier zeigt sich, dass persönliche Gespräche eine wichtige Rolle für die Information der Menschen zum Thema Klimawandel zu spielen scheint – einerseits zur Festigung und Wiederholung von Wissen (etwa mit dem Partner), andererseits auch als Quelle für neue Informationen außerhalb der eigenen Mediennutzung.

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Die European Communication Conference ist eine große internationale Konferenz, die alle zwei Jahre stattfindet.

 

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Recently, we have presented first results from our Down to Earth diary study at the European Communication Conference in Prague. The presentation analyzed data about the 41 participants’ personal conversations about climate change that they noted during the time of the climate conference in Paris 2015.

The results show that the participants talked about the subject more often than expected from previous studies. The conversation topics differed depending on the communication partner: With their partner and family, the respondents talked mostly about climate change effects and their fears and perspectives for the future; the conversations were described as mutual, complementary exchanges. With acquaintances and colleagues, more diverse points of view tended to collide.

This shows that interpersonal communication is an important source for information on climate change – the respondents deepened their knowledge, e.g. with their partner, but also got in contact with different viewpoints than those presented in their own media use.

Down to Earth results featured in “Communication Director”

Artikel_Communication DirectorResults from our Down to Earth study have been featured in an article about the communication of international climate conferences. Imke Hoppe was interviewed as a spokesperson of our team by editor Jan Wisniewski from the magazine “Communication Director” and talked about the public’s perception of the COP21.

Unfortunately, the article is not available for free, but the first two pages can be read in the online preview of the issue (Communication Director 3/2016, pp. 50-54).

New working paper: Climate change in the media

Cover Working Paper Klimawandel in den Medien

Our research group has published a new working paper which summarizes research on climate change in the media.

The questions addressed are how media coverage of climate change contributes to the social construction of climate change, what kind of patterns can be found in the climate change debate and what effects climate change coverage has on the public. It also includes a chapter on Hamburg and Northern Germany as a case study.

The working paper is only available in German and can be downloaded here: Working Paper: Klimawandel in den Medien

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Unsere Forschungsgruppe hat ein neues Working Paper veröffentlicht, das den Forschungsstand zu Klimawandel in den Medien zusammenfasst.

Es widmet sich den Fragen, wie Medienberichterstattung zur sozialen Konstruktion des Klimawandels beiträgt, welche Muster sich in der Klimadebatte zeigen und wie die Berichterstattung über Klimawandel auf die Mediennutzer wirkt. Außerdem befasst sich ein Kapitel mit dem Fallbeispiel Hamburg und Norddeutschland.

Das Working Paper kann hier heruntergeladen werden: Working Paper: Klimawandel in den Medien