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Visualizing the Paris Climate Talks on Twitter: Media and Climate Stakeholder Visual Social Media During COP21

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In 2015, meeting in Paris for the Conference of the Parties (COP21), representatives of 195 nations set an ambitious goal to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by mid-century. This research uses the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which took place in Paris November 30 to December 11, 2015, as a case study of Twitter coverage of the talks by mainstream and alternative media outlets and other climate stakeholders, including activists and fossil fuel industry groups. It compares the British Guardian to other media and climate stakeholders’ visual framing of climate change on Twitter during COP21 because the publication had launched an advocacy campaign in March 2015 promoting fossil fuel divestment in the lead-up to COP21. Findings show that individual activists and movement organizations functioned similarly in climate change visual framing in Twitter posts, as did individual and organizational multinational representatives and scientific experts. The news media categories varied by type of news organization. The major outliers were the fossil fuel industry and trade association accounts. Industry stakeholders largely focused on former U.S. President Barack Obama’s climate policy, promoting the perception of a lack of domestic support for his climate policies in their visual Twitter postings.
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