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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.


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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