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This study content analysed four Nigerian newspapers; Daily Trust, Leadership, The Nation and This Day from Jan 2013 to Dec 2014, with the aim of finding the pattern in climate change reporting in the selected newspapers. The objectives of the study include ascertaining the level of attention given to climate change in Nigerian newspapers, analysing the various frames used in reporting climate change, determining the prominent genre of reporting climate change and comparing the pattern of climate change reporting in the four selected newspapers. The study adopted framing theory as its theoretical approach. Content analysis was used to gather data for the research. Stories with any of the key words; climate change, global warming or green house, were the content categories. Units of analysis include news, features, editorials, interview and opinion. Findings from the study show a slight disparity in the volume of reportage of climate change in all papers except The Nation which had the lowest volume. Climate change mitigation was the major frame of reportage in all the papers and features were the major genres used in reporting climate change. A comparison within the papers shows that climate change reportage is similar across the papers with little differences. In conclusion climate change stories were not given much attention by all the papers considering the low volume of reportage, page placement, keyword appearance and story length. More so, issues that are keen to certain areas should be taken more serious, more frames on the causes and effects of climate change should be used in reporting as this will help educate the public of the dangers of climate change so they can willingly change their behaviour towards a greener society.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
The worlds‟ climate has been an issue of utmost importance to discuss and its change is
causing adverse effects on lives and property. Due to the change in climate, our world is
facing one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Researchers (Anderson, 2008,
Onyekachi Solomon and Ifeanyi, 2012 , Fawole and Olajide, 2012, Kleinschmit and Sjostedt,
2014) have shown that the last 20 years has seen an unprecedented climate change in
centuries. In an article published in The Guardian newspaper on the 22/04/2016, the year
2015 was said to be the hottest year since record keeping began in 1880, but temperatures for
the 1st three months of 2016 have already demolished that record.
According to Wilson (2000:203) “the global warming story is one of the most complicated
stories of our time which is affected by a number of journalistic constraints such as;
deadlines, space, one-source stories, complexity and reporter education”. Other factors like
geographical location, happenings and events, media ownership and gate keeping also
contribute to its complication. Climate change stories involve abstract and probabilistic
science, labyrinthine laws, grandstanding politicians, speculative economics and complex
interplay of individuals and societies, (Stocking and Leonard, 1990 as cited in Wilson 2000).
In developed countries with high science and technical level, climate change is seen as a
threat to human existence.
Climate, according to Ajayi (2003:58) “is the average weather condition of a place over a
long period of time usually about or over 30 years”. It comprises of elements such as
temperature, rainfall, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind, sunshine and cloud. Climate
change as defined by the Inter- Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007:2) “is a
change in the state of the climate that can be identified (using statistical tests) by changes in
the mean or variation of its properties- and that persists for an extended period of time”.
Green- house effect is the ability of the atmosphere to capture and recycle energy emitted by
the earth surface. This is a natural process, but human activities have altered the process
through the release of green-house gases like carbon-di-oxide, water vapour, methane and
chlorofluorocarbons (CFC‟s). This makes the atmosphere trap more heat.
Worldwide losses due to natural disasters have been roughly doubling since the 1960s; with
the European Insurance Federation highlighting that 91% of all natural catastrophes between
1980 and 2005 can be classified as extreme weather. The International Federation of Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies attest that weather related disasters have increased from an
annual average of 200 in the early 1990s to more than 350 since the year 2000. The increase
in disasters relates to equally rising numbers of people affected world- wide. These numbers
have risen from 190 million in the 1990s to 243 million in 2008. The IFRCS further states
that the high number of climate related disasters accounted for 60 percent of grants allocated
by its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). (IRFC 2009 as cited in Lekwot, Uchenna
and Alfred, 2012).
According to Boykoff and Yulsman (2013:2), “research in the last decade has consistently
found out that the general public gains understanding of science (and more specifically
climate change) largely through mass media accounts”. Since the news media are the central
interpretative system of modern societies, they are thus crucial for the societal uptake on
climate change issues. They are central agents for awareness rising and information
dissemination. As global climate change lies beyond the life-world and biographical horizons
of most people, knowledge about it is mainly disseminated via public communication. Most
citizens would not learn about climate change research directly from the cautious lexicon in
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