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Collage of climate and energy editorials from UK newspapers
28 April 2016 8:00

Editorials: Where UK newspapers stand on climate change and energy

Multiple Authors

Media analysisEditorials: Where UK newspapers stand on climate change and energy

Latest update: 07/06/2022

The role that the media plays in shaping the views of readers is debatable and difficult to measure.

But whether it’s the Telegraph telling you to vote for the Conservatives before an election, or the Sun campaigning on tax credit cuts, it is clear that newspapers seek to influence public life by expressing their formal view on a matter.

The most obvious way that newspapers make their stance known is through their unsigned editorials – sometimes referred to as the “leader column”. Often located next to the columnists and letters page within the newspaper’s “op-ed” (opinion and editorial) section, this is where the paper expresses its formal view on the issues of the day.

Climate change and energy policy are subjects where newspapers in the UK have been keen to set out their stance.

Despite the wide scientific consensus on the risks posed by human-caused climate change, the subject remains divisive within the pages of some papers, with battlelines often drawn up on political grounds.

Newspapers also engage in energy debates, such as whether fracking should go ahead in the UK, or whether the Hinkley C nuclear power plant should be constructed.

Each day, Carbon Brief monitors and summarises how the newspapers are reporting and commenting on climate change and energy issues. We then send out an email summary to our thousands of subscribers. (You can sign up for free.)

Using our extensive database of newspaper articles, Carbon Brief has isolated and summarised editorials on a variety of topics related to energy and climate change from the past five years. Topics we’ve chosen range from Arctic sea ice extent, China and coal through to climate finance, flood defence spending and nuclear power.

We have selected editorials from all the national UK newspapers published over recent years. While the database is not 100% exhaustive, this sample provides a good sense of where the newspapers stand on each issue. We will continue to add editorials to our database as they are published.

Datatable by Tom Prater for Carbon Brief.

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