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Media data shows COVID-19 has stolen climate change’s thunder

To get a sense how the impetus for action on climate change has been eclipsed by the COVID-19 pandemic, you only need to look at how the media’s interest on the matter has shifted.

From what looks like an all-time peak in Australia’s interest in a warming world during the bushfire crisis in January – with 4.5 per cent of articles about climate change – interest has since cratered to be less than 1 per cent, according to analysis from Streem, a media monitoring firm.

Stealing their thunder?: A climate change protester in Melbourne during the height of the bushfires.

Stealing their thunder?: A climate change protester in Melbourne during the height of the bushfires.Credit:Chris Hopkins

By April, the number of articles given prominence on the homepage of 12 leading news sites that mentioned climate change in their first 100 words had dropped to 32 from 562 in January, when the bushfire inferno was at its worst. COVID-19 counted 13,256 slots last month alone.

“Certainly coronavirus has reached unprecedented levels of media saturation, being mentioned in 80 per cent of stories some days,” Conal Hanna, a Streem media analyst, said.

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