A Glaring Absence: The Climate Crisis Is Virtually Nonexistent in Scripted Entertainment

Download the document from the USC Norman Lear Center Media Impact Project.

In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that climate change is now accelerating faster than we can adapt to
it. Despite its long history of being politicized in the United States, research suggests a large majority of Americans are concerned about climate change, and this concern is increasing.

Entertainment narratives have the power to shape our understanding of the world around us and mobilize us to take action. Research has examined the prevalence and impact of a wide range of health and social issues in scripted entertainment (e.g., immigration, criminal justice, gun safety), but little is known about how often climate change is acknowledged, nor the extent
to which entertainment audiences are interested in these kinds of portrayals. To address this gap, the USC Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project (MIP) conducted a research project with support from Good Energy, a story consultancy for the age of climate change.

See also: Good Energy: A Playbook for Screenwriting in the Age of Climate Change

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