From “blah, blah, blah” to the less than perfect deal: the importance of journalism in the climate crisis | Expert network | Future Planet



Depending on who you ask, the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, was either a success or a failure. There are also those who place it in the middle. The truth is that the Glasgow Agreement, which still keeps alive the hope of the Paris Agreement to prevent the global average temperature from exceeding 2 ° C – ideally, 1.5 ° C – depends on countries doing their homework well now that they have returned. to home.

The fact that the last five years have been the hottest on record and that emissions, instead of declining, have risen to all-time highs, has not changed yet.

Within the framework of this summit, interesting announcements were made in line with the reduction of emissions in different fields, the promoted decarbonisation and an increasing discredit of fossil fuels, but without losing sight of the fact that they are legally non-binding decisions. And by now – still in a pandemic – we already know that everything depends on extremely volatile political and economic factors and circumstances.

In an increasingly globalized world, where the media seek to survive and take their place in the face of the type of information and also disinformation that is generated through social networks, the role of journalists is fundamental.

Undoubtedly, the success of the climate process also depends on accurate information and monitoring of accountability that must be done beyond a climate summit.

Although since the adoption of the Paris Agreement we have been seeing an increase in press reports on climate change, the covid-19 pandemic caused it to drop considerably, accentuating the gap between reality and what is reported.

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The work carried out by journalists and communication professionals on the climate issue should not only give space to the different voices, but also understand and break down the complexity of the climate crisis, its technical expressions and make it digestible and attractive for the different audiences in its own language.

And above all, gain confidence with quality journalism: one that is based on scientific evidence, but that also interprets the complex international political and economic context, which affects decision-making, and lands the issue of the crisis. climate in people’s daily lives, how it affects them and how they can cope with it.

The challenge is even more complex in a region like Latin America, which, being responsible for less than 10% of global emissions, turns out to be the most vulnerable to impacts because it is also the most unequal and, possibly, the one that reaches the most divided the climatic appointments. And at a summit like the one in Glasgow, with one of the highest record numbers of journalists’ accreditation, Latin Americans could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Since the climate crisis stopped being an exclusively environmental issue to become more and more an economic, political and social one, it demands greater participation and involvement of journalists.

It turns out that citizens in different countries not only know by now that something is happening with the climate, but they are also interested, because climate change is not just a matter for experts, it is a co-responsibility of society to inform themselves and to be able to Act.

Since the climate crisis stopped being an exclusively environmental issue to become increasingly an economic, political and social one, it demands greater participation and involvement of journalists

Quality information on the climate crisis, on what happens at the summits and how to interpret its results from a global, regional and national perspective, also requires constant training of journalists and communication professionals, as well as access to sources of varied and quality information.

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An important effort in this regard was the Forum on Communication and Climate Change, organized last September 2021 by AECID and EUROCLIMA +, with the support of LatinClima, in which more than 150 journalists and communication professionals from 18 Latin American countries . In this event, they had the opportunity to get in touch with first-hand sources of information to analyze the situation prior to COP26 and to be trained in tools and new formats to communicate climate change in an innovative and effective way to the various audiences.

Hence, international cooperation plays a relevant role in strengthening the capacities of communication professionals to open up more and more informational spaces that allow informing and influencing citizens.

Climate change is not just a matter for experts, it is a co-responsibility of society to inform itself and be able to act

COP26 is far from over, it is actually just beginning for these professionals, as they are the first calls to follow up on compliance with the agreement and all those announcements that were made with great fanfare in Glasgow; also to observe what governments are doing in the face of the commitments assumed and what the citizenship requires and demands, especially those voices that are little heard, such as the most vulnerable populations and sectors.

A fundamental point of the Glasgow Agreement is that it asks the countries that are party to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, to return to COP27, which will take place at the end of 2022 in Egypt, with a more ambitious version of their Nationally Determined Contributions or NDC. But the success of this, and that is where journalism is called upon to exercise its oversight power, will depend on how far that ambition reaches and how quickly the proposed measures can be implemented to keep us still within the goals of the Paris Agreement, which It means reducing emissions by 45% by 2030.

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Undoubtedly, the success of the climate process also depends on accurate information and the monitoring of accountability that must be done beyond a climate summit. It gains strength when each delegation returns home to fulfill its task and journalists and communication professionals are still there, more present than ever, to raise their voices and report on the situation on the planet.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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