LONDON, Jan 23 — Every year since 2007, the Media and Climate Change Observatory has been assessing international media coverage of topics related to the climate crisis. The organisation reports that coverage of these issues in 2023 was lower than in 2022 and 2021, despite record temperatures and the proliferation of extreme weather events.

Last year was the warmest year on record, according to the European monitoring programme, Copernicus. Yet the international media gave less coverage to the climate crisis in 2023 than in 2022, according to the Media and Climate Change Observatory (MeCCO), which analysed media coverage of topics related to the climate crisis based on 131 media sources in 59 countries. According to the Observatory’s report, global climate coverage fell by 4 per cent in 2023, compared to the previous year. It also fell by 14 per cent compared to 2021.

“2023 has been a critical year in which climate change and global warming fought for media attention amid competing interests in other stories, events and issues around the globe,” analyses the report. Since the creation of MeCCO in 2007, however, 2023 ranks as the third most significant year for climate change coverage, behind 2022 and 2021.


According to this analysis, which describes which topics were most prominently featured in the media each month, the media gave particular coverage to extreme weather events in 2023, such as the megafires in Canada in May and June, or the record heatwaves that hit Europe in July. Large-scale international summits such as COP28 (December) also received significant coverage. Numerous scientific themes “continued to emerge in media stories during the month of January through new studies, reports, and assessments,” states MeCCO. This was particularly true of studies reporting on the melting of Antarctic ice, which attracted a great deal of media attention.

October, on the other hand, was one of the months with the lowest media coverage of climate change (-18 per cent on the previous year and 22 per cent on September 2023), despite major droughts and floods in Brazil, Cameroon, France, Vietnam and Myanmar, and heat waves in New Zealand and Hong Kong. — ETX Studio