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Climate Impacts

Research paper: Media portrayal of heatwaves undermines the seriousness of heat risks

18 October 2022

According to research on the media coverage of European heatwaves in 2019, the images appearing in news media about heatwaves and extreme heat generally depict people having “fun in the sun”, across the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. People were depicted having fun in or near water, and enjoying the weather. When images did show the dangers of heat extremes, people were generally absent.

The authors highlight this is a problematic way of showing heatwaves, because it removes the human element of extreme heat risk, and marginalises the experiences of those who are particularly vulnerable.

Reference article:

  • Authors: Saffron ONeill, Sylvia Hayes, Nadine Strauβ, Marie-Noëlle Doutreix, Katharine Steentjes, Joshua Ettinger, Ned Westwood, James Painter
  • Date: 18th October 2022

The latest from the Climate Impacts timeline:

From the Climate Community 28th November 2023

National Trust report: A Resilience Bill could put adaptation on the same footing as mitigation

The National Trust – with a huge portfolio of land and historic properties that faces a wide range of risks from a changing climate – has released a report which includes a call for a new Climate Resilience Bill, putting adaptation on the same footing as mitigation (which they argue has a ‘unifying focus’ on net zero).

Research shows that people beyond specialist circles do not make a clear distinction between mitigation and adaptation, and see worsening climate impacts as one of the most motivating reasons for decarbonising faster. When asked directly whether the UK government should prioritise adaptation or mitigation, the most popular answer (around half of the survey respondents) in a 2020 poll was that both should be of equal focus.

  • Author: National Trust
  • Date: 7th November 2023
Climate Barometer Tracker 19th October 2023

Tracker data: What climate impacts are the public concerned about?

In terms of the impacts of extreme weather and climate change-related effects, the public is primarily concerned about: harm towards nature and wildlife, suffering and hardship for the world’s poorest, that their bills and costs may rise, and that some food will become unavailable.

The public tend to see less connection between extreme weather and climate change and the effect on their physical and mental health, or ability to spend time outdoors or travel. Only 12% said they were worried climate change and extreme weather would lead to damage to their home.

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