2. Key Findings

This summary contains key points from the report, with links to the relevant sections and data from which the findings are drawn.

Although this report covers a different time period, the key findings for this study of ten Australian newspapers from February to April in both 2011 and 2012 can be considered in light of the key findings of Sceptical Climate Part One.

Part One of our study found the coverage of climate change in Australia in 2011 was mostly framed within a vociferous political debate about climate change policy. Many stories about climate change policy made no significant reference to climate science at all. (See Section 4.2).

The focus of this study is the coverage of climate science. It includes all articles between February and April 2011 and the same period in 2012 that mentioned the findings of climate science. Some of these stories are also framed within the debate about climate change policy. Others mention climate science findings in the context of other environmental issues. Other focus on climate scientists or climate science research findings.

Quantity of climate science

Genre of climate science articles

Prominence of climate science coverage

Reporting of peer reviewed research

Scepticism and climate science coverage

Scientists (over 97%) overwhelmingly agree that the activities of human beings cause climate change. This is referred to as the consensus position. The term ‘climate sceptic’ refers to those who do not accept this consensus position. Articles were coded according to whether they ‘accepted’ the consensus position; ‘suggested doubt’ about it; or outright ‘rejected’ it. The latter two positions are both sceptical of the consensus position. Get more detail on the categorisation in Section 4.6.

Commentary and scepticism

Scepticism pushes out other climate science stories

News Corp versus Fairfax Media in Sydney and Melbourne

The two Fairfax Media publications The Age and Sydney Morning Herald were compared to News Corp’s Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph in Section 4.7.

The NT News: Example of low coverage with heavy dose of scepticism

The Australian

Extreme Weather

Issues for further research