Vast majority worried about impact of climate change across countries: RISJ report

Bathinda: A vast majority of people across countries are worried about the impact of the climate change. Many of those into climate change news are also concerned whether the climate news or information is false or misleading. Many of them are likely to take actions against climate change like recycling, throwing away less food, using less energy. The facts came to light from the report prepared by research team of Reuters Institute for study of journalism (RISJ) in a project of the Oxford climate journalism network (OCJN), ‘a report on how audiences engage with news about climate change’. The report is based on a survey conducted by Ipsos (independent polling system of society), a global marketing research, in August-September 2022 across eight countries, India, Pakistan, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA. The report has concentrated on seven key points pertaining to different actions about climate change news

On news use:

About half of our respondents say they have engaged with climate change news or information in the past week, with about one in seven having seen some in the past two weeks. Only a tiny proportion say they never see any news or information about climate change. There is some variation across countries, with the percentage of respondents who have engaged at least weekly ranging from a low of 38% in India to a high of 66% in France.

On the media audiences use:

The single most important medium for climate change news is television, identified by almost a third of our respondents as something they have used. About the same share say they have used one or more online news sources, including the websites of various kinds of news organisations as well as platforms including social media or messaging apps. A significant minority across all eight countries say that they are getting news and information about climate change from other sources: documentaries, climate magazines and blogs, private conversations and academic journals.

On how worried audiences are:

A large majority of respondents (ranging between 75% in the USA and 89% in India) say that they are either ‘somewhat’, ‘very’, or ‘extremely’ worried about the impact of climate change. Those on the left are more likely to say they are worried about the impacts of climate change. However, regardless of political leaning, more than half of our respondents in all countries said that they are worried about climate impacts.

On what audiences think they know:

People who consume climate change news weekly are more likely to think they know the basics of climate science. But only 40% say that they know at least a moderate amount about key climate policies at the global and the local level. This figure, which is roughly the same for both infrequent climate news users and those who consume it on a weekly basis, highlights that more frequent news users feel no more well informed about climate policy.

On what audiences say they are willing to do:

Across all eight countries, people who use climate news on a weekly basis are slightly more likely to say they will take some of the more popular actions against climate change (recycling, throwing away less food, and using less energy). However, for the less popular actions (flying less, switching to renewables for household energy or eating less meat) there are no real differences by climate change news use. Across all eight countries, people who use climate news on a weekly basis are even less likely to agree that their governments are doing enough to address climate change.

On climate misinformation:

Large majorities in every country covered are at least somewhat concerned about whether climate news and information they come across is false or misleading, and many say they themselves have come across information they believe is false or misleading, although it is a minority who say that they see such content all the time or often. Among sources of suspected misinformation the most frequently mentioned are politicians, political parties and governments. Although people in some countries rely more on television for climate news, people are slightly more likely to associate false information with online use, especially social media use.

On news avoidance:

Selective news avoidance is almost as widespread for news on climate change as it is for news in general, ranging from 10% in Japan to 41% in India. But those who consume climate change news more frequently are more likely to agree that they find it empowering in some way. Frequent climate change news users are also less likely to feel that climate news contains conflicted views, leaves them confused or is not relevant to them.