Climatic Change

, Volume 152, Issue 3–4, pp 581–596 | Cite as

How do Canadian media report climate change impacts on health? A newspaper review

  • Nia KingEmail author
  • Katherine E. Bishop-Williams
  • Sabrina Beauchamp
  • James D. Ford
  • Lea Berrang-Ford
  • Ashlee Cunsolo
  • IHACC Research Team
  • Sherilee L. HarperEmail author


Research on climate change media coverage is growing. Few studies, however, have investigated how the media portrays climate change impacts on human health. This review, therefore, presents a quantitative spatiotemporal analysis of Canadian newspaper coverage of climate change impacts on health between 2005 and 2015. Using the ProQuest® and Eureka® databases, a multiphase systematic review strategy was employed to identify relevant English and French articles from two national and six regional high-circulation newspapers. Quantitative and qualitative data were extracted from 145 articles and analyzed to characterize the range, extent, and nature of climate-health newspaper coverage in Canada and to compare these characteristics by region and over time. Coverage varied by region, with the highest proportion of climate-health coverage in Northern Territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut). Over time, there was a decreasing publication frequency trend. Almost all articles described negative climate change impacts on health, with a predominant focus on infectious and chronic noninfectious diseases; however, less than half of the articles discussed climate change solutions. These trends suggest that current media coverage might not drive widespread public support for policies and actions needed to protect against projected climate-health risks. Consequently, as climate change continues to challenge human health, increasing media emphasis on climate change impacts on human health, as well as a shift toward enabling and empowering climate change communication, in which viable mitigation and adaptation options are emphasized, could help to spur action to reduce climate change health risks.



Thank you to Taysham Shaw for her help in article screening, Judy Wanner and Ali Versluis for their help developing the search string, and Carlee Wright for creating Fig. 2.

Authors’ contributions

IHACC Research Team:

Cesar Carcamo, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), Lima, Peru

Victoria L. Edge, Office of the Chief Science Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, Canada

Alejandro Llanos, School of Public Health and Administration, UPCH, Lima, Peru

Shuaib Lwasa, Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Didacus Namanya, Ugandan Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda

Funding information

This work was financially supported by a CIHR Team Grant under the Environments and Health Signature Initiative, as well as ArcticNet. Funding provided by an Ontario Veterinary College scholarship (KBW), and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (KBW) also contributed to this project.

Supplementary material

10584_2018_2311_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (61 kb)
Supplementary file 1 (PDF 60 kb)
10584_2018_2311_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (64 kb)
Supplementary file 2 (PDF 63 kb)
10584_2018_2311_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (136 kb)
Supplementary file 3 (PDF 136 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Population MedicineUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.School of NursingMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Priestly International Centre for ClimateUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  4. 4.Labrador Institute of Memorial UniversityHappy Valley-Goose BayCanada
  5. 5.IHACC Research Team: Cesar Carcamo (School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), Lima, Peru), Victoria L. Edge (Office of the Chief Science Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, Canada), Alejandro Llanos (School of Public Health and Administration, UPCH, Lima, Peru), Shuaib Lwasa (Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda), Didacus Namanya, Ugandan Ministry of HealthKampalaUganda
  6. 6.School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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