How certain is ‘certain’?: exploring how the English-language media reported the use of calibrated language in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report

Collins, Luke C. and Nerlich, Brigitte (2015) How certain is ‘certain’?: exploring how the English-language media reported the use of calibrated language in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. Public Understanding of Science, 25 (6). pp. 656-673. ISSN 1361-6609

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Abstract

This article presents findings from an analysis of English-language media reports following the publication of the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report in September 2013. Focusing on the way they reported the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s use of ‘calibrated’ language, we find that of 1906 articles relating to the issuing of the report only 272 articles (14.27%) convey the use of a deliberate and systematic verbal scale. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s carefully calibrated language was rarely discussed or explicated, but in some instances scientists, political actors or journalists would attempt to contextualise or elaborate on the reported findings by using analogies to other scientific principles or examples of taking action despite uncertainty. We consider those analogies in terms of their efficacy in communicating (un)certainty.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: calibrated language, climate change, mass media, metaphor, uncertainty
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Science and Society
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662515579626
Depositing User: Nerlich, Professor Brigitte
Date Deposited: 10 May 2016 08:50
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 07:32
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/33180

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