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Why media need to turn up temperature on climate change | The Listening Post



Climate change is the world’s most significant existential challenge 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 released earlier this month by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. Not because the report was dull or inconsequential, but because the global media is still proving unable or unwilling to grapple adequately with the story of our warming planet.

The IPCC report says “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes” are needed “in all aspects of society” if humanity is to contain the average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The timeframe the IPCC has set for this is just over a decade – 12 years.

“The report is something of a call to arms telling us that the survival of our species depends on a political revolution,” says Martin Lukacs, environment writer at The Guardian.

But climate change isn’t the most-covered ongoing news story in the world.

In the US alone, freak weather incidents over the past few years would have justified it being in the headlines every day. However, the link between climate change and weather incidents – that are increasing in intensity and frequency is often never made.

A 2017 study by the DC-based Media Matters group into the coverage of Hurricane Harvey found that over a span of two crucial weeks, two main cable news outlets, ABC and NBC, didn’t air a single segment mentioning climate change and its link to such weather events. This study isn’t the only one of its kind by Media Matters.

In July this year, it found that coverage of the heatwave across the US followed a similar pattern.

“We looked at reporting on that on the three big TV broadcast networks, their news programmes, and found that those programmes mentioned the heatwave 127 times and only one of those mentioned climate change,” explains Lisa Hymas, director of climate and energy programme at Media Matters for America.

“This is a real problem and a missed opportunity. Climate change can seem like a really distant or theoretical problem. But when there’s extreme weather, that’s a real opportunity for the media to talk about climate change and how it affects extreme weather and exacerbates extreme weather.”

While the media’s emphasis on individual awareness is vital, it is, however, out of proportion. The real action needs to come from industry.

In 2017, a UK-based non-profit the CDP group (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) published a report correlating specific volumes of greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions to the actual corporations and industries responsible for them. It found that since 1988, just 100 companies have produced more than 70 percent of the world’s GHG emissions.

The close ties between media networks and the companies who own them often leave very wiggle room for scrutiny, according to Chandra Bhushan, deputy director of the Centre for Science and Environment.

“Many countries who are polluting the climate … also have a huge influence on media in terms of their contributions to advertisements and support to media. So, media is very quick to talk about what governments need to do, or what people need to do, but they will rarely talk about what corporations need to do.”

Contributors
Lisa Hymas – Director, Climate & Energy Program, Media Matters for America
Chandra Bhushan – Deputy director, Centre for Science and Environment; Consulting editor, Down to Earth
Alyssa Battistoni – Editorial Board member, Jacobin
Martin Lukacs – Environment writer, The Guardian

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19 comments

  1. Have you or I Ever shopped for holiday girls 12-20 years or weeks in advance? No. Human – you procrastinate by your very nature. We should be moving forward but won’t. We or you are screwed / answers everything gets recycled and corporate politics decides to commit. Social momentum will have to be built upon itself using harmony. Thx-

  2. EXACTLY.
    STOP TELLING POOR PEOPLE TO CHANGE THEIR OWN ALREADY STRUGGLING LIFESTYLES.

  3. Mini-Ice Age – We are entering a Grand Solar Minimum likely to be an 80 year Mini-Ice Age which is hitting on time and as predicted. The Modern Warm Period was also predicted accurately & scientifically without consideration of CO2 trace gases. Solar Cycle Physics & Planetary Science predicted all this with scientific publications dating back to 1965 when they first started to correlate the Sun's precession about the center of mass of the Solar System.
    The end of the Modern Solar Warm period was predicted to occur at the end of Solar Cycle 24 in 2018. Actual change in Solar Flux was first spotted in 2008 by German monitors of the Euro-Space orbital solar observatory when they recorded a sudden drop in Magnetic Flux of about -30+%. Those who predicted that 24 would be a a quiet, low output sun cycle were vindicated as sunspot activity reached a very low level.
    Since 2014, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA-subsidized University of Alabama, Huntsville have shown a stead small decline in average global temperatures. As of September it was only 0.14C above the 40 year average and still falling.
    Enjoy the warmth you have. The Cold is Coming … and you will not like it. It's going to be bad, especially for those in Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia.
    Expect violent weather to increase as the temperature differentiation increases, famines, drought, massive rains, severe cold, shortened growing seasons, heavy snows, late snow melting, flooding, more destructive earthquakes, plagues and pestilences.
    The European wars between 1645 and 1715 were during the Maunder Minimum. Hopefully we have learned from those mistakes and won't add war to the horrors .

  4. The lefty liberal MSM’s are at their maximum decibels when it comes to their hysterical, none sensical climate change scam talk …… no shriller screaming of them will make their propaganda more palatable …….. !!!!! The fact is ; Human caused climate change is a farce !!!

  5. All these media and other countries woke up to these problems because usa ignores them now, this is how the world works. Everyone wants to make someone bad and them good, all these burqa wearing anchors who are supressed talk climate change 😁😂

  6. This is a FAKE NEWS. The sun has always controlled the climate and will continue to do so. CO2 affects the logarithmic temperature so the IPCC is completely wrong.

  7. Disgusting globalist PROPAGANDA!

  8. The matter doesn’t mean money or hype or glory for the greedy

  9. STOP this nonsense. The parameters and numbers for this so called global warming are all fake. Every year our climate changes without all this nonsense. It is just a government tool to charge people more money for doing NOTHING.

  10. Al-jajeera should also report Qatar's human rights violation n atrocities on workers

  11. Climate change is true, but it's not as dramatic as the Media and Climate Scientists are stating. The polar ice caps have grown back close to 1981 level. Bunch of people are buying hybrid or electronic cars. There are people buying solar panels. China install 24.3GW farm, while Saudia Arabia going to set a 25GW. There are less hurricanes today compare to 1930s.

  12. The only real revolution happens right inside of you.

  13. Media can do a lot
    Save ourselves

  14. It's going so much faster than reported.The cost of the destruction is much more than we can pay now. The consumption of natural resources is phenomenal. We are now using more wood than we are growing. Toilet Paper much? Can we make toilet paper from oil? World Ending. No going back now. Enjoy every day.

  15. The mainstream media is garbage compared to aljazeera talking about climate change most of these politicians be in denial and are paid off to look the other way meanwhile florida and parts of the east coast gonna be underwater in a few years and they sit back and do nothing… The flooding is only gonna get worse.

  16. This seems rather hypocritical as if you checked Al Jazeera's coverage you'll find it's pretty slim. I did that and found that their frequency of coverage of this subject amounted to about 2 or three PER YEAR. Now it's popularized and they come out and sneer at the media. But they are part of the media. How about some solutions dear Al Jazeera, the Saudi oil producing country par excellence. Al Jazeera is just as much to blame. And what could be more disgusting than what the Saudi's do to women and dissidents? That needs to be addressed too Al Jazeera.

    Taxation is not the solution it is a big part of the problem – the problem is money and hierarchy. Keep going at the peripherals and you'll sink yourselves. The problem needs to be identified – money and hierarchy. Now the parasites want to make more money out of this and it's taken them a long time to bring tax on carbon in because they needed us to get to a more urgent level of climate change. And they are waiting in the wings to bring in the solution – geoengineering and the little weavils (society) will cry for them to bring it in to give relief. It was planned long ago. Everyone is a criminal – everyone is wasting energy like there is no tomorrow. Everyone you, me, your neighbor, your mother, your child, everyone is culpable.

    Here's what we could do to make corporations take responsibility – take your packaging back to the store you bought it from. Then the retailers will have to take responsibility for the products they supply to the consumer. Instead of being like a little lamb waiting for your shepherd to do something about corporations, you can do it yourself. If we plebs did it in large numbers, we would change things quickly. But almost everyone just waits for government policy. It will never happen, can't you see!

  17. Al Jazeera becoming CNN, putting out fake news!

  18. Climate change is probably real and man made. The problem with the Paris climate deal is that the Paris deal was never voted on by the U.S. Congress. I objected to the Paris deal because I don't want any President to make massive commitments all on his own. Next time, have an honest, open debate in Congress, and then vote on a transparent treaty. A President does not make law.

  19. Climate Change? LOL I didn't know AJ was into the fake news.

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