Climate Change Communication in the Netherlands

A.R.P.J. Dewulf, Daan Boezeman, M.J. Vink

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Climate change communication in the Netherlands started in the 1950s, but it was not until the late 1970s that the issue earned a place on the public agenda, as an aspect of the energy problem, and in the shadow of controversy about nuclear energy. Driven largely by scientific reports and political initiatives, the first climate change wave can be observed in the period from 1987 to 1989, as part of a broader environmental consciousness wave. The Netherlands took an active role in international climate change initiatives at the time but struggled to achieve domestic emission reductions throughout the 1990s. The political turmoil in the early 2000s dominated Dutch public debate, until An Inconvenient Truth triggered the second climate change wave in 2006–2007, generating peak media attention and broad societal activity. The combination of COP15 and Climategate in late 2009 marked a turning point in Dutch climate change communication, with online communication and climate-sceptic voices gaining much more prominence. Climate change mitigation was pushed down on the societal and political agenda in the 2010s. Climate change adaptation had received much attention during the second climate change wave and had been firmly institutionalized with respect to flood defense and other water management issues. By 2015 a landmark climate change court case and the Paris Agreement at COP21 were fueling climate change communication once again.

Keywords: climate change, communication, the Netherlands, media, framing, public agenda, science-policy interface, social media
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Climate Science
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9780190228620
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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