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04 Nov 2020, 13:59
Sören Amelang

Debates about climate change causes have largely vanished from German social media - study

Clean Energy Wire / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Debates about the causes of climate change, which dominated discussions on German language social media at the start of the millennium, have now largely vanished, according to an analysis by consultancy Vico. "The long-standing discussion of causes has become a marginal topic and only takes place on a few particularly exposed portals," the consultancy found. Instead, social media debates on climate change have become much more emotional in recent years on comparison to an earlier study from 2003 to 2007. The debate today is much more led by people who discuss how they are personally affected, the study says, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which first reported on the study. "The proportion of impulsive contributions is twice as high as that of objective ones,” the study says.

In cooperation with Stuttgart Technical University, the consultancy analysed 7,200 randomly chosen posts in German on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube), blogs, forums, news, as well as Q&A portals between February and June this year. The researchers found a strong "home focus" in the discussions. Issues most often discussed were global warming (24%), weather extremes (11%), and species loss (10%). "The most intensively discussed consequences of climate change relate above all to the current consequences in a regional context," the study states. "Against this background, the majority of the population looks anxiously into the future […] 79% are anxious, only 4% are confident in their thoughts about the future." The consultancy's head Marc Trömel told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that heating, agriculture, and private consumption are relatively rarely discussed on social media, even though they are responsible for a large share of emissions.

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