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Scientists accuse tabloids of fuelling climate ignorance

Leading scientists have accused Britain's tabloid newspapers of misrepresenting climate change issues and fuelling ignorance on the subject.

Researchers say the matter is particularly worrying as consensus around human contributions to climate change has grown and the need for action has become increasingly urgent.

The accusations from researchers at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute follow their study of nearly 1,000 tabloid articles from the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror.

They analysed tone, framing techniques, the terms used, labelling of those quoted and relationships between messages.

Writing in the Institute of Physics Environmental Research Letters' journal, the researchers say about a quarter of coverage in the four UK tabloids from 2000 through 2006 misrepresented wide scientific agreement that man-made greenhouse gas emissions have very likely had a role to play in global warming.

Dr Max Boykoff, James Martin research fellow at the Environmental Change Institute, said there is a problem with the way scientific consensus is being reported in the tabloids.

"These newspapers have very high circulation and influence in the UK. We hope these findings help tabloid reporters and editors reflect further on the accuracy of their climate change reporting," he added.

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