The Role of Risk Perceptions in Climate Change Communication:A Media Analysis on the UK Winter Floods 2015/2016

Cologna, Viktoria, Bark, Rosalind H. ORCID: and Paavola, Jouni (2018) The Role of Risk Perceptions in Climate Change Communication:A Media Analysis on the UK Winter Floods 2015/2016. In: Handbook of Climate Change Communication. Climate Change Management, 2 . Springer, pp. 277-288. ISBN 978-3-319-70065-6

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In the winter 2015/2016 a series of storms resulted in widespread flooding in northern England, damaging hundreds of properties, disrupting transport and exposing public contempt of flood risk management. The flooding was widely covered in the media. This chapter develops a methodological framework to conceptualise factors influencing risk perception related to flood events and discusses the media’s role as communicator of climate change and related risks. We demonstrate how understanding the factors that affect risk perception, including how engineered flood defences might distort risk perception and therefore risk preparedness, can be utilised by the authorities to deploy more effective risk management policy and increase individual and community preparedness. Given that increased flood risk due to climate change is a reality, and that there is evidence that this increased risk is not yet understood by the public, nor addressed by the media, we suggest that a change is needed. Not only is there a need for more dialogue between those at risk and the flood risk management authorities and between experts and the public and the media and the public, but also a need for improved risk communication delivered with greater understanding of how at-risk communities perceive risk.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Funding Information: The research for this chapter contributes to the CuPESS project funded by the European Commission to investigate the role of landscape scale nature-based flood risk reduction and adaptation policy in England, as well as to the work programme of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) on climate change adaptation. The devastating 2015–16 floods raised questions about the UK’s current approach to flood risk management, its effectiveness and delivery particularly given the wider context of climate change and the potential for large-scale floods to create reputational risks to government ministries and specific government agencies through perceived or actual inaction, or action that is poorly delivered. We had a particular interest in how the floods were portrayed in the media, specifically the narratives used by the media, for instance, were they around assigning blame, the unprecedented nature of storms, the failure of infrastructure, around community resilience, or the need for new solutions? Systematically coding content provided opportunity to test emergent themes around flood policy and delivery and to perhaps offer useful insights for the development and delivery of future flood risk management solutions. Funding Information: Acknowledgements This project was funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 659449 and from the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds’s Research Experience Placement scheme. Jouni Paavola also acknowledges the support of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP). Publisher Copyright: © 2018, Springer International Publishing AG.
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change communication,flooding,media coverage,risk perception,united kingdom,global and planetary change,ecology,management, monitoring, policy and law,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2306
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Social Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 02:03
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 23:55
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-70066-3_18

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