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Climate change on Twitter: topics, communities and conversations about the 2013 IPCC Working Group 1 report

Pearce, Warren; Holmberg, Kim; Hellsten, Iina; Nerlich, Brigitte

Authors

Warren Pearce warren.pearce@nottingham.ac.uk

Kim Holmberg

Iina Hellsten

Brigitte Nerlich brigitte.nerlich@nottingham.ac.uk



Abstract

In September 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its Working Group 1 report, the first comprehensive assessment of physical climate science in six years, constituting a critical event in the societal debate about climate change. This paper analyses the nature of this debate in one public forum: Twitter. Using statistical methods, tweets were analyzed to discover the hashtags used when people tweeted about the IPCC report, and how Twitter users formed communities around their conversational connections. In short, the paper presents the topics and tweeters at this particular moment in the climate debate. The most used hashtags related to themes of science, geographical location and social issues connected to climate change. Particularly noteworthy were tweets connected to Australian politics, US politics, geoengineering and fracking. Three communities of Twitter users were identified. Researcher coding of Twitter users showed how these varied according to geographical location and whether users were supportive, unsupportive or neutral in their tweets about the IPCC. Overall, users were most likely to converse with users holding similar views. However, qualitative analysis suggested the emergence of a community of Twitter users, predominantly based in the UK, where greater interaction between contrasting views took place. This analysis also illustrated the presence of a campaign by the non-governmental organization Avaaz, aimed at increasing media coverage of the IPCC report.

Citation

Pearce, W., Holmberg, K., Hellsten, I., & Nerlich, B. (2014). Climate change on Twitter: topics, communities and conversations about the 2013 IPCC Working Group 1 report. PLoS ONE, 9(4), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094785

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 9, 2014
Deposit Date Apr 17, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 17, 2014
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 4
Article Number e94785
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094785
Keywords climate change, twitter, IPCC, social media
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/2952
Publisher URL http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0094785
Related Public URLs http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0094785
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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