The use of religious metaphors by UK newspapers to describe and denigrate climate change

Woods, R., Fernandez, A. and Coen, S. (2012) The use of religious metaphors by UK newspapers to describe and denigrate climate change. Public Understanding of Science, 21 (3). pp. 323-329. ISSN 0963-6625.

Use_of_religious_metaphors_by_UK_newspapers.pdf - Published Version

Download (436kB)


British newspapers have denigrated anthropogenic climate change by misrepresenting scientific consensus and/or framing climate change within unsympathetic discourses. One aspect of the latter that has not been studied is the use of metaphor to disparage climate change science and proponents. This article analyses 122 British newspaper articles published using a religious metaphor between summer 2003 and 2008. Most were critical of climate change, especially articles in conservative newspapers The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Times. Articles used religion as a source of metaphor to denigrate climate change in two ways: (1) undermining its scientific status by presenting it as irrational faith-based religion, and proponents as religious extremists intolerant of criticism; (2) mocking climate change using notions of sin, e.g. describing ‘green’ behaviours as atonement or sacrifice. We argue that the religious metaphor damages constructive debate by emphasizing morality and how climate change is discussed, and detracting attention from the content of scientific data and theories.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online before print: 26 November 2010.
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, discourse, global warming, media, metaphor, religion
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: Users 8 not found.
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2011 11:42
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2016 09:53

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00