Did Increased Media Coverage of Climate Change and the COVID19 Pandemic Affect Climate Change Concern and Issue Salience in the UK in 2021?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence from high-income countries suggests that greater media coverage of climate change is associated with greater public concern, while societal “shocks” reduce concern. Conducted in 2021, this UK study of adults (n = 6082) investigates climate change concern, its identification as among “the most important issues” and as “the single most important issue” facing the UK. It does so in the context of increased media coverage of climate change associated with the UK’s hosting COP26 and the COVID19 pandemic with its associated restrictions on everyday life. In analyses that took account of sociodemographic factors, neither increased media coverage around COP26 nor the COVID19 pandemic had an effect on climate change concern or its identification as an important issue for the UK. Its identification as the single most important issue was at its lowest at the height of the COVID19 pandemic, with no evidence that increased climate change coverage affected its issue salience.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Early online date11 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Author(s).


  • Climate change communication
  • Media analysis
  • Public perceptions
  • Public opinion
  • Public understanding

Cite this