Mainstreaming climate policy: the role of media coverage in Finland

  • Jari LyytimäkiEmail author
Original Article


Integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures into other policies is considered to be a precondition for effective climate policies. This paper explores the role of mass media coverage as a potential obstacle or enhancing factor in relation to this mainstreaming of climate policies. The paper presents a quantitative content analysis of the national-level press coverage of climate change from 1990 to 2010, focusing on Finland. The empirical results indicate four major phases of Finnish media coverage of climate change: a definition phase before the Kyoto meeting in 1997, a maturation phase after the Kyoto meeting, climate hype in 2006–2008, and a phase of levelling off that started in late 2008. The results suggest that climate issues have widely permeated various fields of newspaper coverage. This broad-based debate may create and sustain a public agenda potentially favourable to attempts to bring climate policies into the mainstream of other policy domains. However, it also may open doors for unexpected initiatives by various activists and lobbyists that employ climate concern as a tool to advance other interests. The role of mass media has received little attention in studies focusing on the mainstreaming of climate policies. This paper highlights the importance of taking media coverage into account as a key factor in the formulation and implementation of environmental policies aimed at broad-based actions.


Climate change Mass media coverage Newspapers Policy integration 



The author warmly thanks Per Mickwitz, Petri Tapio and two anonymous referees for the comments on the manuscript. The study was supported by the Academy of Finland (The climate discussion on transport - an interdisciplinary environmental analysis (CAST), project no.128307).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finnish Environment InstituteHelsinkiFinland

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