UK global warming searches up 22% in 2 years

July 2, 2007 at 9:50 am | Posted in BBC, Climate challenge, Climate change, Environment, Global warming, Google, Hitwise, Policy challenge, Public communication, Royal Society, Search engines, UK, US | 2 Comments

Hitwise UK Environment Update
UK Searches for “global warming” up 22% in 2 years
Google Sends Traffic to US Sites, Posing Challenges for UK Policy MakersLondon 28th June 2007

From the warmest April to record rainfall in June, UK weather is increasingly unpredictable and whilst the debate rages about the cause and effect of climate change, Hitwise analysis reveals that UK consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet to research these issues – in particular, for education on global warming and interest in calculating a carbon footprint.Whilst share of UK searches for “global warming” has increased by 22% over the past two years, Hitwise analysis reveals that searches rise significantly around heavy coverage in the media. For example, UK searches for “global warming” doubled in February when the first controversial Stern report from the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) was published and again tripled in April as the second of four IPCC reports was released.As media coverage of green issues increases, so does interest in ways to reduce our environmental impact. David Miliband’s announcement that the government would launch a website to help consumers calculate their own carbon footprint drove searches for “carbon footprint” up six-fold last week. Similarly, UK searches for “freecycle” the network for recycling household goods have more than doubled in the past year.

Google Sends UK Traffic to US Websites

UK interest in environmental issues is sending traffic to US websites, raising challenges for policy makers and those seeking to influence public opinion within the UK. The top website receiving UK traffic from the term “global warming” in the week ending 23rd June is Wikipedia, with the online encyclopaedia receiving over one quarter of visits from searches for “global warming”. After Wikipedia, the top sites are,, Royal Society and the US Environment Protection Agency.

The sites visited by US and UK internet users after searching for “global warming” are very similar, with four of the top five websites receiving traffic from searches for “global warming” the same in the two markets. US searches for “global warming” sent traffic to Wikipedia,,, US Environment Protection Agency and Similarly, UK searches for “carbon footprint”, despite rising on the back of Miliband’s announcement, sent 69% of UK visits to, a US environmental website.

“Google, which accounts for 79% of UK searches, largely dictates the flow of UK web traffic and this is reflected by the similar sites visited after searching for “global warming” in the US and UK”, commented Heather Hopkins VP of Research for Hitwise UK. “Google determines the websites that appear at the top of the listings largely based on inbound links. On global issues such as global warming, UK websites compete with US websites for those links and the attention of search engines. With searches for “global warming”, only two UK websites (BBC and Royal Society) appeared among the top 25 websites receiving visits from searches for “global warming” last week. With searches for “carbon footprint”, traffic again went to a US website. This poses a serious challenge to UK organisations and government agencies seeking to influence public opinion.”

Websites that received traffic from the term “global warming” for the week ending 23rd June:

Rank Website Share Notes for students

Global hosts and audience: English language, with native language versions in German, French, etc. worth checking too 🙂

Wikipedia 26.05% Your best bet for accurate information and cross-referencing information on climate change for school projects. You do need to be cautious with wikis though, as the pages can be hacked, temporarily hijacked for mischief, so it is always worth cross-referencing information with a reputable scientific site. In the UK, the Met Office performs world-class research on climate change. (Note for British teachers: the Tyndall Centre and its objectives relating to climate change policies, is worth keeping an eye on for policy and implementation matters, as it has a greater focus on bringing together interdisciplinary teams to collaborate on national and international responses to climate change.)

US-specific site for confused American audience

Global Warming 16.96% Beware! A denialist site promoting misinformation about global warming advertising itself with the meta tag for content “Dispelling myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis. Coalition members will also follow the progress of the international Global Climate Change Treaty negotiations and the Kyoto Protocol.”

US hosts and audience

Global Warming: Early Warning Signs 5.45% Global warming basics link top left takes you to the Global Warming Program by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which is a good place to start. The climatehotmap idea provides a visual aid for students, but some of the information on this site is rather dated (being copyright 1999 by UCS and WRI), so I would go to one of the organisations that produced this site for more up-to-date information for school projects. The following organizations produced GLOBAL WARMING: Early Warning Signs:Environmental DefenseNatural Resources Defense CouncilSierra ClubUnion of Concerned Scientists U.S. Public Interest Research GroupWorld Resources InstituteWorld Wildlife Fund

UK hosts and audience

The Royal Society 3.63% Climate change is the term used by the Royal Society, and I hope students manage to get through to this landing page, as there is plenty of good stuff for educators and students here, including Facts and fictions about climate change and Climate change controversies: a simple guide which was updated in April 2007.

US hosts and audience

US Environmental Protection Agency 3.03% Climate change is the term used by the EPA, and in the Quick Links you should choose climate change to get through to this climate change links page providing access to many resources, including this page for young children.

US hosts and audience

Earth Share 2.42% This is a collaborative effort by non-profit organisations to enable employees to contribute to environmental charities, programs and initiatives. It is not really much use for students, apart from this page of handy links to member organizations and reports in the media, with a good deal of emphasis on Hurricane Katrina.

US hosts and audience 2.42% This is a headline sponsored link on Google, advertised as ‘Global Warming. Learn How You Can Reduce CO2 Emissions to Help Climate Change.’ and is a site dedicated to helping you offset the carbon you cannot eliminate by reduction. This is an interesting site for older students, especially if you visit the pages for individuals and organizations and want an example of a carbon calculator.

UK hosts and British child-friendly material for target audience of UK school kids

BBC – CBBC Newsround 2.32% CBBC is fun for British kids, though I am glad they seem to have removed their out-of-date kids section on global warming (I was tempted to write to CBBC a few months ago and suggest some improvements …)Well, a search on ‘global warming’ and another on ‘climate change’ turn up plenty of CBBC entries that mention those terms. This is a good place to go when climate change is a hot topic and British kids want a safe place to share their views.

US hosts and audience

Natural Resources Defense Council 1.82% This is a sidebar sponsored link on Google, advertised as ‘Global Warming. Learn about its causes & solutions
from NRDC scientists & experts.’
10 Climate Ark 1.82% This is a search engine, with headline sponsored link on Google, advertised as ‘Stop Global Warming. You Can Make a Difference. News, Search & Alerts to Learn How.’ Climate Ark describes itself as:’Climate Change and Global Warming Portal
The Original Biocentric Climate Science, Policy & Advocacy Search Engine
Climate Change Search’

About Hitwise:

Hitwise is the leading online competitive intelligence service. Only Hitwise provides its 1,200 clients around the world with daily insights on how their customers interact with a broad range of competitive websites, and how their competitors use different tactics to attract online customers.

Since 1997, Hitwise has pioneered a unique, network-based approach to Internet measurement. Through relationships with ISPs around the world, Hitwise’s patented methodology anonymously captures the online usage, search and conversion behavior of 25 million Internet users. This unprecedented volume of Internet usage data is seamlessly integrated into an easy to use, web-based service, designed to help marketers better plan, implement and report on a range of online marketing programs.

Hitwise is a subsidiary of Experian (FTS: EXPN) and operates in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. More information about Hitwise is available at

For up to date analysis of online trends, please visit the Hitwise Intelligence-Analyst Weblogs at and the Hitwise Data Center at

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jannie Cahill

Tel: 020 7378 3619

Note to my readers: I am going to write about this issue, to alert British information seekers, in another post. The above is simply a press release I wanted to draw to your attention and you are welcome to write about it on your own blogs as I am time-crunched for the next day or two 😉



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  1. […] the top ten sites per Hitwise’s recent analysis for UK-sourced searches on ‘global warming’ …. I added a note to the rankings so you can see the balance of UK-specific and US-specific sites […]

  2. On the issue of making things difficult for UK authors trying to reach UK audiences – yes, but no more than for authors and audiences from other countries, discussing any other topic on the Web. Plus, you can always use the ‘search only sites from the UK’ option if you really care about the nationality of an opinion. Any website that wants to ‘compete’ on a specific, popular search phrase has to work hard at it, so the initial article is really creating news out of nothing. Your commentary on the top sites is rather handy, though – thanks!

    Oh, and saying that Wikipedia is prone to being ‘hacked’ is a bit misleading. Wikis are websites designed to be edited by anyone with a mind to do so in a system of constant peer-review and improvement. Wikipedia is just an online encyclopedia in that format. Whilst this does allow people to post incorrect information, it also allows others to correct it – and Wikipedia have found that poor quality information doesn’t often last long.

    Unfortunately, talk of ‘public editing,’ let alone ‘hacking,’ raises doubts in some people – who then assume that other websites would never offer such poor quality information. Yet almost anyone could set themselves up as Director of a made-up online Institute (or something similar), and publish their ‘official’ views as fact, without ever allowing others to oppose them on their own site – and it happens all the time in the offline media, too. That’s far more of a risk than Wikipedia being open to public editing. 🙂

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