Journalists have a vital role to play in climate fight in the UK

Two thirds of people look to news brands for information on the climate emergency

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 10:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 10:54 am

The UK’s news brands are playing a vital role in informing and educating the population about the threat posed by human-caused climate change, according to research released today by Newsworks to mark Journalism Matters Week.

The research, conducted by OnePoll, reveals that over two thirds of people in UK are relying on news brands to inform them about climate change.

The survey analysed the responses of 2,000 people who are nationally representative of the UK population.

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Two thirds of people said they looked to UK news brands to tackle misleading information on climate change. Image: Shutterstock

Nearly eight in 10 said that the established media – news brands, radio and TV – is driving awareness of climate change, well ahead of environmental organisations, government and social media.

In fact, with over half of the UK public agreeing that there is a worrying amount of misinformation about climate change on social media, 69 per cent said that they looked to UK news brands to tackle this misleading information.

More worryingly, four in 10 people think the climate emergency is only a moderate to minor threat – while almost a third of all respondents know people in their lives who are aware of climate change but remained unconcerned about it.

The good news is that 90 per cent of people said they have made some kind of lifestyle change in the last three years, with the majority citing recycling as the change they have made.

However, over a third of people are unsure of what practical steps they can take while 43 per cent think there is insufficient information about the impact of global warming and climate change.

The majority of people believe the responsibility for tackling climate change sits with the government (64 per cent), business (55 per cent) and international organisations (49 per cent), like the United Nations.

Newsworks chief executive Jo Allan said: “Human-caused climate change is one of the greatest threats facing the world today and news brands play a vital role in informing and educating the public about this problem and the potential solutions to it.

"With rigorous, professional and science-based journalism, the UK’s established media brands are leading the fight against the misinformation and fake news that cloud the debate.

"News brands have a unique relationship of trust with their consumers and that’s vital in helping to cut through the noise and create a reliable voice in this most important of discussions.”

Chief executive of the News Media Association, Owen Meredith, said: “As world leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26, it is vital to acknowledge the importance of journalism in tackling climate change.

"News media is the perfect platform for the robust public debate and scrutiny required to find innovative solutions to the immense challenges that the climate crisis presents.”