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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.; Nerlich, Brigitte

Authors

Luke C. Collins

Brigitte Nerlich brigitte.nerlich@nottingham.ac.uk



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.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Public Understanding of Science
Print ISSN 0963-6625
Electronic ISSN 1361-6609
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 6
APA6 Citation Collins, L. C., & Nerlich, B. (in press). 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), https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662515579626
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662515579626
Keywords calibrated language, climate change, mass media, metaphor, uncertainty
Publisher URL http://pus.sagepub.com/content/25/6/656
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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