Climate Change Communication & the Internet: Challenges and Opportunities for Research

Date: Thursday 12 April 2013

Location: Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester

Contact person for expressions of interest: Dr Nelya Koteyko (

The new communicative landscape shaped by the Internet and mobile technologies has had profound implications for communication research on climate change and environment.

It has opened up new areas for studying public engagement with science within the context of contemporary audiences as active co-producers of media content. The emergence of tools that enable searching, aggregating, and analysing online data allows communication researchers to examine the dynamics of climate change-related debates with an unprecedented breadth and scale. At the same time, however, these developments have brought new challenges for the study of (1) content, context and influence of climate change representations and (2) the role of different stakeholders from science, politics, and the economy in these online debates. Multiple web-based channels and platforms often make it difficult to assess how and by whom the online content is accessed, used, and co-produced. Although there are software packages that can quickly process patterns across the universe of Big Data, the de-contextualised nature of results remains a key problem.

This event will bring together leading scholars in the fields of media studies, science communication, information science, and computer-mediated communication to critically explore these issues. The international workshop will focus on some of the key challenges in researching Internet-based communication on climate change and climate politics, and the ways in which different methodological perspectives can be further developed to examine the use of online and social media by various stakeholders.

We invite scholarly contributions on the following topics, other aspects of the overall theme are also welcome:

  • Environmental activism online
  • Methodological approaches for studying user-generated content on climate change and environment
  • Citizen journalism and climate change
  • Social media discourses and framing of scientific uncertainty, risk, and expertise
  • The role of Internet use in public engagement with climate change

Confirmed speakers

  • Professor Brigitte Nerlich, Institute for Science and Society (School of Sociology and Social Policy), University of Nottingham
  • Dr Richard Holliman, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication, Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, the Open University
  • Dr Bernie Hogan, Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford


The workshop will feature keynote talks, a panel discussion, as well as paper presentations (selected from abstract submissions) for participants to share their own frameworks, methods and research experiences.

Abstract submission

Submit a maximum 300 words abstract as a Word document file to Nelya Koteyko at The deadline for abstract submission is 15 January 2013. Please include a title, author(s) names, affiliations, contact address and e-mail.

Important Dates 

Registration opens 15 January 2013; Registration closes 1 March 2013.

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 January, 2013.

Notification of acceptance: 15 February 2013.

Workshop: 12 April 2013.


Participant fee: £20 for staff, £12 for post-graduate students (the fee includes buffet lunch and refreshments)

Further information 

Full call for papers and further information about the registration will be available at
the MECCSA Climate Change Network page and

Final programme 

9.40 – 9.50
Arrival and registration (Lecture Room, ground floor)

9.50 – 10.00
Welcome and introduction: Nelya Koteyko

10.00 – 11.00
Keynote Lecture by Professor Mike Schafer, University of Hamburg:
State of the Art and Future Challenges for Climate Communication Online

11.00 – 11.15
coffee break

11.15 – 12.45
Expert Panel, Chair: Dr Nelya Koteyko

Dr Richard Holliman, Open University
Engaging Digitally: Exploring the Prospects for Open Research

Professor Dag Elgesem, Dr Andrew Salway, Dr Lubos Steskal, University of Bergen
Modeling the structure and dynamics of blogosphere discourse on climate change

Dr Bernie Hogan, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
Big Data, Small Analysis? A problematisation and reflection of online network data

12.45 – 1.30
Lunch and poster display (seminar room, 2nd floor)

1.30 – 2.30 pm
Keynote Lecture by Professor Brigitte Nerlich, University of Nottingham
The Human Face of Fracking: A Thematic Analysis of Fifty YouTube Videos

2.30 – 2.45
Tea/coffee break

2.45 – 4pm
Paper sessions

Jonas Kaiser and Stephan Schlögl, Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen
Nevermind Climate Change: Mapping the German Twitter discourse on Rio+20

Dr Rusi Jaspal, De Montfort University
Climate science or climate politics? A critical discourse analysis of online reader comments on climate change

Alan Valdez, Open University
“Google Trends” and correlations in carbon and energy language compounds in UK and the US

4.00- 4.30
Open discussion reflecting on the day’s debates

4.30 – 4.45
Final comments and thanks

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