Is Twitter Indicating a Change in MP’s Views on Climate Change?

Ebrey, Rhian and Hall, Stephen and Willis, Rebecca (2020) Is Twitter Indicating a Change in MP’s Views on Climate Change? Sustainability, 12 (24). ISSN 2071-1050

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Following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 °C Special Report in October 2018, there has been a surge in public concern about climate change and demands for greater government action. We analyse the discourse of Members of Parliament (MPs) on climate change on Twitter to examine the extent to which these recent public climate-related events have influenced political agenda-setting. We argue that these events have had two, linked, effects: increased political discourse on climate change, and an increasing use of ‘urgent’ climate language. However, the language style used between political parties differs. Additionally, while the youth strikes and Greta Thunberg, who initiated these strikes, appear to have the greatest influence on MPs’ discourse, the overall relative impact is low, with responses predominately from left- and centrist-political parties. This indicates a clear difference between parties. However, Twitter may not be a suitable platform for investigating Conservative discourse. Further work to explore agenda-setting on Conservative policymaking is required.

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10 Jan 2022 16:35
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 10:58