PEJ New Media Index: Global Warming Heats Up the Blogosphere

Nov 18, 2010

A very familiar topic generated significant attention in the blogosphere last week. But this time, the conversation largely emanated from a different side of the political and policy spectrum.

For the week of November 8-12, 17% of the news links on blogs were about global warming, making it the No. 2 subject, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. This marks the 10th week since the NMI began in January 2009 that the subject has ranked among the top five stories on blogs. In the past, climate change skeptics dominated the discussion. But last week, it was the believers - and they rallied behind news that 700 scientists are about to become more aggressive advocates for that view.

Global warming hit the blogosphere in full force last year, starting with the week of October 12-16, 2009, when bloggers cited the BBC report What Happened to Global Warming? The report, which noted that 1998 was the warmest year recorded globally and that there has been no increase of global temperature since, received fully 50% of the news links that week and even remained a hot topic the following week, as the No. 2 story. Skeptics dominated the conversation again from November 23-27, 2009, with the emergence of the now famous "climate-gate scandal," in which the e-mail system of a prominent climate research unit was breached by hackers. Global warming skeptics took some of the language in the e-mails to imply that the scientists were misleading the public.

The topic made the list again, at No. 2, from November 30-December 4, 2009, after Fox News reported on a United Nations document advocating that global warming become a prominent issue on the world stage. Bloggers seized on that document as evidence of an ulterior motive behind the push to fight climate change.

Read the full report, Global Warming Heats Up the Blogosphere on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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