Vital role of UK journalists in climate fight

At least two thirds of people in the UK look to news brands for information about the climate emergency.

New research shows the extent of the role journalists and news brands have to play in both informing and educating the population about the threat posed by climate change caused by humans.

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Research just released, to mark Journalism Matters Week, reveals almost eight in 10 said that the media, including news brands, radio and TV, is driving awareness of climate change, ahead of environmental organisations, government and social media.

Over half of the UK public agree that there is a worrying amount of misinformation about climate change on social media, and 69 per cent said that they look to UK news brands to find out the truth.

There is, however, concern that four in 10 people think the climate emergency is only a moderate to minor threat, while almost a third of respondents know people who, although aware of climate change, remain disinterested.

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 main change they have made.

Over a third of people are unsure what practical steps they can take, while 43 per cent think there is a lack of 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), such as the United Nations.

Jo Allan, chief executive at Newsworks, who released the results of research conducted by OnePoll, 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.”

News Media Association’s chief executive, 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.”