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Rob Edwards, Environment Editor Sunday Herald Guwahati, Delhi, Mumbai, 9-13 March 2009 Media coverage of climate change.

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Presentation on theme: "Rob Edwards, Environment Editor Sunday Herald Guwahati, Delhi, Mumbai, 9-13 March 2009 Media coverage of climate change."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Rob Edwards, Environment Editor Sunday Herald Guwahati, Delhi, Mumbai, 9-13 March 2009 Media coverage of climate change

3 climate change: the evidence and impact climate change: the solutions and conflicts covering the story finding new angles sources for stories responsibilities of journalists

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5 “Climate change should be seen as the greatest challenge to face man.” Prince Charles, heir to the British throne “Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats.” Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation “All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.” Barack Obama, US president "Climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism.” Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to UK government

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7 Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

8 Over the last 650,000 years the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has varied between 180 and 300 parts per million. In 2007 it rose to 387 parts per million. If the world carries on with business as usual, it will increase to over 500 parts per million by 2050, and will be over 900 parts per million by 2100.

9 Impacts of climate change rising temperatures rising seas floods, droughts, storms water shortages food shortages poor health mass migrations major disasters resource wars

10 Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

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13 Concerns increasing: tipping points melting polar ice caps methane outburst in Siberia collapse of Amazonian rainforest changes to El Niño Southern Oscillation changes to the Sahara Indian monsoon transformation

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15 thanks to New Scientist

16 Solutions stop emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases move from fossil fuels to renewables use energy more efficiently change transport patterns eat less meat improve lifestyles

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18 Thank to Scottish Power

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20 Thanks to European Environment Agency

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23 Conflicts climate change deniers coal and oil lobbies objections to wind farms controversy over nuclear power economic growth v. sustainable development materialism v. spiritualism social justice in an unequal world

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25 Thanks to David MacKay

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34 Covering climate change big story in UK, and internationally dramatic front pages and headlines focus on conflicts not solutions undue attention to deniers risk of climate change fatigue ebb and flow of interest media in crisis keeping the pot boiling

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40 Finding new angles reinventing catastrophe exploiting conflict making it personal investigating scams exposing polluters highlighting hypocrisy encouraging action

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54 Sources for stories campaigning groups government agencies research organisations scientific journals politicians freedom of information requests contacts

55 with thanks to Steve Bell

56 no such thing as objectivity nothing wrong with slanting stories must listen to opposing views should report opposing views must be factually accurate fair, not objective Responsibilities of journalists

57 "I do not see how a reporter attempting to define a situation involving some sort of ethical conflict can do it with sufficient demonstrable neutrality to fulfil some arbitrary concept of 'objectivity'. It never occurred to me in such a situation, to be other than subjective, and as obviously so as I could manage to be...As I see it, the journalist is obliged to present his attitude as vigorously and persuasively as he can, insisting that it is his attitude, to be examined and criticised in the light of every contrary argument, which he need not accept but must reveal.” James Cameron, Point of Departure, Oriel Press, 1967.

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60 how should we report climate change in a global recession? what are the stories going to be over the next few years? how to combat climate change fatigue? what are the other barriers to coverage and how can they be overcome? any other questions? Questions for workshops


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