Inspiration to act or just another scary vision?

A study of images accompanying news coverage of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report in Norway and the UK


  • Trine Dahl NHH



climate change communication , images, news values, UK and Norwegian traditional media


Images are powerful communicators. They evoke feelings, raise awareness of important issues and sometimes spur people to act. A critical societal issue that may benefit from all these kinds of engagement is climate change. This paper presents a study of images accompanying news items on the current state of our climate as expressed in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. The items were culled from five Norwegian and five UK news sources, and the images were analysed in terms of topic and news value. Unsurprisingly, climate impact topics were common in both countries, with bush and forest fires dominating. Thus, the traditional news values of Negativity and Impact were the most important ones drawn on. More surprisingly, the Norwegian material comprised a high number of images of politicians, representing the news value of Eliteness. This topic was absent in the UK material. Pictures that may point to climate solutions, e.g. new energy sources or lifestyle matters, were only sparsely represented. Thus, the images may ensure people’s engagement with climate change through disaster scenarios, but few seem to have the potential to motivate action.


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How to Cite

Dahl, Trine. 2023. “Inspiration to Act or Just Another Scary Vision? A Study of Images Accompanying News Coverage of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report in Norway and the UK”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 13 (1).