Upping the ante? The effects of “emergency” and “crisis” framing in climate change news

Lauren Feldman, P. Sol Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


News organizations increasingly use the terms “climate emergency” and “climate crisis” to convey the urgency of climate change; yet, little is known about how this terminology affects news audiences. This study experimentally examined how using “climate emergency,” “climate crisis,” or “climate change” in Twitter-based news stories influences public engagement with climate change and news perceptions, as well as whether the effects depend on the focus of the news (i.e., on climate impacts, actions, or both impacts and actions) and on participants’ political ideology. Results showed no effect of terminology on climate change engagement; however, “climate emergency” reduced perceived news credibility and newsworthiness compared to “climate change.” Both climate engagement and news perceptions were more consistently affected by the focus of the stories: news about climate impacts increased fear, decreased efficacy beliefs and hope, and reduced news credibility compared to news about climate actions. No interactions with political ideology were found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Climate change
  • Efficacy beliefs
  • Emotion
  • Environmental communication
  • Framing
  • News


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