Now, or in Seven Years: An Analysis of Social and Traditional Media Responses to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, Aaron Serianni, UG '25 (3958083)
On April 4, 2022, Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published their contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, proposing and analyzing climate change mitigation efforts and pathways. In this paper, I analyze the significant debate and discussion on Twitter generated by the report. Using natural language processing techniques, including clustering, sentiment analysis, and machine learning text summarization, I organize the tweets into distinct topics. I also compare the discourse in Twitter to official media released by the IPCC, as well as traditional news articles about the IPCC report from a sample of traditional news sources. I find that while there was a significant spike in discourse about climate change during the release of the IPCC report, most tweets were not about the IPCC report itself. In addition, a significant portion of most news articles discussed climate news auxiliary to the IPCC report itself. Finally, I discuss the implications of these findings in relation to overall trends of climate discourse in the media. I deduce that because of the growing prevalence of climate change discussion in all news discussions, IPCC reports, due to their lengthy development process, have decreased relevance and are insufficient to induce meaningful change in climate change mitigation.