Friday, June 23, 2006

A Time Series of New York Times' Coverage of Global Warming From 1970 to 2006

Too many blog entries (including my own) offer cheap talk without doing any original hard work. To show you the returns to effort, I've used the New York Times Search Engine and for each 3 year interval between 1970 and today, I've counted the number of articles that mention "Global Warming" or "Climate change".

The Figure below shows some funky patterns. I've created this to teach you a little bit about the media's decisions over how much to cover climate change and to celebrate the fact that in August 2006 Brookings will publish my Green Cities book.

Note the roller coaster in the figure below. In 1989 there is the first sharp increase in coverage of climate change. From 1970 to 1987 coverage was flat! Perhaps the Exxon Valdez spill got everyone excited in general about environmental events. Perhaps surprisingly, coverage was pretty constant of this issue in the 1990s grew sharply around the year 2000 and has tapered off recently.

The media play an important role in our lives and serious economists are only starting to study this.