The primary aim of this thesis is to contribute to a mapping of the metaphors used in climate change discourse. The thesis builds on cognitive metaphor theory, which regards metaphor as ubiquitous in human language and as playing a central role in the shaping of our social and political realities. Cognitive metaphor theory claims that linguistic expressions can reveal something about how we think. Thus, the secondary aim of this thesis is to consider the possible underlying motivations for and effects of the use of metaphors in climate change discourse.
The study is based on real discourse material, i.e. on news stories from the websites of two of the newspapers with the highest circulation among the American newspapers, as well from the websites of two significant environmental organisations.
The method applied for identifying and classifying the linguistic metaphors in the material is a combination of three different procedures. The discussion of the possible motivations for and effects of the use of the particular metaphors builds on critical metaphor analysis.