Climate change is the most important existential challenge in the world and those who want to cover it are still wondering how to convey its size and scale.
Only a small proportion of news consumers will have heard about the report published earlier this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. Not because the report was boring or inconsequential, but because the global media continue to prove incapable or unwilling to deal adequately with the history of our warming planet.
The IPCC report says that "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes" are necessary "in all aspects of society" so that humanity can contain the increase in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The term established by the IPCC for this is just over a decade: 12 years.
The report is a kind of call to arms that tells us that the survival of our species depends on a political revolution.
"The report is something like a call to arms that tells us that the survival of our species depends on a political revolution," says Martin Lukacs, environmental writer at The Guardian.
But climate change is not the most covered news in the world today.
Only in the USA UU., The climatic incidents of the last years would have justified that it appeared in the holders every day. However, the link between climate change and climate incidents, which are increasing in intensity and frequency, is often never made.
A study conducted in 2017 by the Media Matters group, based in DC, on the coverage of Hurricane Harvey found that in a span of two crucial weeks, two major cable news networks, ABC and NBC, did not broadcast a single segment that mention climate change and its link. to such climatic events. This study is not the only one of its kind done by Media Matters.
In July of this year, he found that the coverage of the heat wave in the United States followed a similar pattern.
"We set out to report on that in the three big television networks, their news programs, and we discovered that these programs mentioned the heat wave 127 times and only one of the mentioned climate change", explains Lisa Hymas, director of the program of climate and energy The media matters for America.
"This is a real problem and a missed opportunity, and climate change may seem a very distant or theoretical problem, but when there is extreme weather, it is a real opportunity for the media to talk about climate change and how extreme climate affects it. exacerbates extreme weather. " weather."
While the emphasis of the media on individual consciousness is vital, however, it is out of proportion. The real action must come from the industry.
In 2017, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, the CDP group (previously known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) published a report that correlated specific volumes of greenhouse gases, GHGs, emissions to corporations and responsible real industries from them. He found that since 1988, only 100 companies have produced more than 70 percent of the world's GHG emissions.
According to Chandra Bhushan, deputy director of the Center for Science and the Environment, close ties between media networks and the companies that own them often leave a lot of leeway for scrutiny.
"Many countries that are polluting the climate … also have a great influence on the media in terms of their contributions to advertising and media support, so the media is quick to talk about what they should do. do governments or what people need to do, but they will rarely talk about what corporations should do. "
Lisa Hymas – Director, Climate and Energy Program, Media Matters for America
Chandra Bhushan, deputy director of the Center for Science and the Environment; Consulting editor, Down to Earth
Alyssa Battistoni – member of the Editorial Board, Jacobin
Martin Lukacs – environmental writer, The Guardian
Source: Al Jazeera