Advertisement

Mainstreaming climate policy: the role of media coverage in Finland

  • Jari Lyytimäki
Original Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Climate change Mass media coverage Newspapers Policy integration 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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).

References

  1. Al Jazeera (2010) Bin laden deplores climate change. Al Jazeera TV-network http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/01/20101277383676587.html, cited 13 Jan 2011
  2. Anderson A (2009) Media, politics and climate change: towards a new research agenda. Sociol Compass 3:166–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barbier E (2010) How is the global green new deal going? Nature 464:832–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Billett S (2010) Dividing climate change: global warming in the Indian mass media. Clim Change 99:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Box Office (2010) 2006 domestic grosses. Box office Mojo http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2006&p=.htm, cited 17 June 2010
  6. Boykoff MT, Boykoff JM (2007) Climate change and journalistic norms: a case-study of US mass-media coverage. Geoforum 38:1190–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boykoff MT, Goodman MK (2009) Conspicuous redemption? Reflections on the promises and perils of the ‘celebritization’ of climate change. Geoforum 40:395–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boykoff M, Mansfield M (2011) Media coverage of climate change/global warming. center for science and technology policy research, University of Colorado http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/media_coverage/, cited 13 Jan 2011
  9. Brossard D, Shanahan J, McComas K (2004) Are issue-cycles culturally constructed? A comparison of French and American coverage of global climate change. Mass Commun Soc 7:359–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carvalho A, Burgess J (2005) Cultural circuits of climate change in U.K. Broadsheet newspapers, 1985–2003. Risk Anal 25:1457–1469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chuku CA (2010) Pursuing an integrated development and climate policy framework in Africa: options for mainstreaming. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 15:41–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Curran J, Iyengar S, Brink Lund A, Salovaara-Moring I (2009) Media system, public knowledge and democracy. Eur J Commun 24:5–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dirikx A, Gelders D (2010) To frame is to explain: a deductive frame-analysis of Dutch and French climate change coverage during the annual UN conferences of the parties. Public Underst Sci. doi: 0963662509352044v1, in pressGoogle Scholar
  14. Downs A (1972) Up and down with ecology: the “issue-attention” cycle. Public Interest 38:38–50Google Scholar
  15. Eskjaer MF (2009) Communicating climate change in regional media. Int J Clim Change Strateg Manag 1:356–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Finnish Audit Bureau of Circulations (2010) Statistics. Finnish Audit Bureau of Circulations http://www.levikintarkastus.fi/english/statistics.php, cited 13 Jan 2011
  17. Finnish Energy Industries (2010) Electricity year 2010. Finnish energy industries http://www.energia.fi/en/news/electricity%20year%202010.html, cited 26 Jan 2011
  18. Grundmann R (2007) Climate change and knowledge politics. Environ Polit 16:414–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Haavisto I (2010) Työelämän kulttuurivallankumous (The cultural revolution of work life). Evan arvo- ja asennetutkimus 2010. Elinkeinoelmän valtuuskunta, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  20. Henderson-Sellers A (1998) Climate whispers: media communication about climate change. Clim Change 40:421–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Herkman J (2010) Journalismi markkinoilla (Journalism at the market). In: Väliverronen E (ed) Journalismi murroksessa. Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press, Helsinki, pp 32–49Google Scholar
  22. Hilgartner S, Bosk CL (1988) The rise and fall of social problems: a public arenas model. Am J Sociol 94:53–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Holt D, Barkemeyer R (2010) Media coverage of sustainable development issues - attention cycles or punctuated equilibrium? Sustain Dev. doi: 10-1002/sd.460, in pressGoogle Scholar
  24. Huttunen S (2009) Ecological modernisation and discourses on rural non-wood bioenergy production in Finland from 1980 to 2005. J Rural Stud 25:239–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. IPCC (2008) Climate change 2007: Synthesis report. Contribution of working groups i, ii and iii to the fourth assessment. Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  26. Jennings N, Hulme M (2010) UK newspaper (mis)representations of the potential for a collapse of the thermohaline circulation. Area 42:444–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Juravle C, Lewis A (2009) The Role of championship in the mainstreaming of sustainable investment (SI): What can we learn from SI pioneers in the United Kingdom? Org Environ 22:75–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kerkkänen A (2010) Ilmastonmuutoksen hallinnan politiikka. Kansainvälisen ilmastokysymyksen haltuunotto Suomessa (The politics of climate change governance. Reception of the international concern over climate change in Finland). Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1549. Tampereen yliopisto, TampereGoogle Scholar
  29. Kiljunen P (2010) Tiedebarometri 2010 (Science barometer 2010). Tieteen tiedotus Ry & Yhdyskuntatutkimus OyGoogle Scholar
  30. Klein RJT, Schipper ELF, Dessai S (2005) Integrating mitigation and adaptation into climate and development policy: three research questions. Environ Sci Policy 8:579–588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Klein R, Eriksen S et al (2007) Portfolio screening to support the mainstreaming of adaptation to climate change into development assistance. Clim Change 84:23–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kok MTJ, de Coninck HC (2007) Widening the scope of policies to address climate change: directions for mainstreaming. Environ Sci Policy 10:587–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Leal Wilho W (2008) Communicating climate change: challenges ahead and action needed. Int J Clim Change Strateg Manag 1:6–18Google Scholar
  34. Luoma-aho V, Vos M (2009) Monitoring the complexities: nuclear power and public opinion. Public Relat Rev 35:120–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lyytimäki J (2010) Naurua ilmassa: Koominen vähättely ilmastontutkimusta käsittelevässä verkkokeskustelussa (Laughter in the air: downplaying with comical argumentation in a web debate on climate research). Kulttuurintutkimus 27:17–29Google Scholar
  36. Lyytimäki J, Tapio P (2009) Climate change as reported in the press of Finland: from screaming headlines to penetrating background noise. Int J Environ Stud 66:723–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McComas K, Shanahan J (1999) Telling stories about global climate change: measuring the impact of narratives on issue cycles. Commun Res 26:30–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mickwitz P, Aix F, et al (2009) Climate policy integration, coherence and governance. PEER Report No 2. Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER), HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  39. Moser SC, Kasperson RE et al (2008) Adaptation to climate change in the Northeast United States: opportunities, processes, constraints. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 13:643–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nerlich B (2010) ‘Climategate’: paradoxical metaphors and political paralysis. Environ Values 19:419–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Oberthümlr S, Roche Kelly C (2008) EU leadership in international climate policy: achievements and challenges. Int Spect 43:35–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Olausson U (2009) Global warming - global responsibility? Media frames of collective action and scientific certainty. Public Underst Sci 18:421–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Painter J (2010) Summoned by science. Reporting climate change at Copenhagen and beyond. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. University of Oxford, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  44. Petersen I, Heinrichs H, Peters HP (2010) Mass-mediated expertise as informal policy advice. Sci Technol Hum Val. doi: 10.1177/0162243909357914, in printGoogle Scholar
  45. Pralle SB (2009) Agenda-setting and climate change. Environ Polit 18:781–799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rinkinen J (2010) Liikenne mediassa - Kilpailevat tulevaisuudet sähköautosta autottomuuteen. (Traffic in the media: Competing visions from electric cars to a car free future). The Finnish Environment 21/2010. Finnish Environment Institute, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  47. Ryghaug M (2009) Obstacles to sustainable development: the destabilization of climate change knowledge. Sustain Dev. doi: 10.1002/sd.431, in printGoogle Scholar
  48. Sampei Y, Aoyagi-Usui M (2009) Mass-media coverage, its influence on public awareness of climate-change issues, and implications for Japan’s national campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Glob Environ Change 19:203–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Statistics Finland (2010) Greenhouse gases 2009, preliminary data. Official Statistics of Finland, Environment and Natural Resources 2010. Statistics Finland, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  50. Stern N (2007) The economics of climate change. The Stern review. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  51. Suhonen P (1994) Mediat, me ja ympäristö (Media, us and the environment). Hanki ja jää, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  52. Swart R, Raes F (2007) Making integration of adaptation and mitigation work: mainstreaming into sustainable development policies. Clim Pol 7:288–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Takahashi B (2010) Framing and sources: a study of mass media coverage of climate change in Peru during the Valcue. Public Underst Sci. doi: 10.1177/0963662509356502, in printGoogle Scholar
  54. Tapio P, Willamo R (2008) Developing interdisciplinary environmental frameworks. Ambio 37:125–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Taylor N, Nathan S (2002) How science contributes to environmental reporting in British newspapers: a case study of the reporting of global warming and climate change. Environmentalist 22:325–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Teräväinen T (2010) Political opportunities and storylines in Finnish climate policy negotiations. Environ Polit 19:196–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tirkkonen J (2000) Ilmastopolitiikka ja ekologinen modernisaatio. Diskursiivinen tarkastelu suomalaisesta ilmastopolitiikasta ja sen yhteydestä metsäsektorin muutokseen (Climate policy and ecological modernisation - a discursive study of Finnish climate policy and its connection to the change in the forest sector). Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 781. Tampereen yliopistopaino, TampereGoogle Scholar
  58. Tirkkonen J, Tapio P, Wilenius M (2002) The development of climate discourse: internationally, in Finland and in Finnish transport futures studies. In: Käyhkö J, Talve L (eds) Understanding the global system: the Finnish perspective. Finnish Global Change Research Programme FIGARE, Turku, pp 193–199Google Scholar
  59. Udo VE, Jansson PM (2009) Bridging the gaps for global sustainable development: a quantitative analysis. J Environ Manage 90:3700–3707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Uusi-Rauva C (2010) The EU energy and climate package: a showcase for European environmental leadership? Env Policy Governance 20:73–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Uusi-Rauva C, Tienari J (2010) On the relative nature of adequate measures: media representations of the EU energy and climate package. Glob Environ Change 20:492–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Valkila N, Saari A (2010) Urgent need for new approach to energy policy: the case of Finland. Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev 14:2068–2076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weart SR (2010) The idea of anthropogenic global climate change in the 20th century. Wiley Interdisc Rev Clim Change 1:67–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Weaver PM, Haxeltine A et al (2006) Mainstreaming action on climate change through participatory appraisal. Int J Innovation Sust Dev 1:238–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilson Rowe E (2009) Who is to blame? Agency, causality, responsibility and the role of experts in Russian framings of global climate change. Eur-Asia Stud 61:593–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finnish Environment InstituteHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations