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Lessons learned from covering the climate change in 2021

Lessons learned from covering the climate change in 2021

Lessons learned from covering climate change in 2021

Media outlets publish year-enders to remind audiences about significant events that happened earlier in the year. It may seem strange to categorize COP26It was a year-end story that took place in November, but it was still a memorable event.

However, given the magnitude of COP26, and the existential climate crisis the conference attempted to address, it’s important for media outlets such as Canada’s National ObserverIt had Extensive coverageTo start thinking about what we learned, and how we can make the event a model for climate coverage in 2022.

Recent discussions focused on COP26. live talkSponsored by Climate Coverage NowThe lessons learned at the highly anticipated UN conference. Panellist Alex Thomson, chief correspondent for Channel 4 News, characterized the potential impact of financial promises made during the conference’s first week as “the biggest realignment of industrial capital globally since James Watt invented the steam engine, and journalism.”

Thomson went on to say that media outlets could miss the global money story by 2022 if they don’t cover stories beyond those about fossil fuel subsidies.

“We’re still seeing climate vaguely in terms of …. left-wing sustainables, right-wing fossil fuels.”

Thomson’s warning must resonate. We must improve our ability to follow the money. This includes asking basic questions. Where are financial commitments made? Who is making them. Are they delivering on their promises? Who is really benefiting from this? What are the demands of investors? Who is listening to them

Media outlets must demand accountability. Washington Postdid In its interactive story, it is a great readAbout countries that underreport their emission reductions

But coverage doesn’t have to be an extensive, data-driven exposé. For instance, we can routinely ask the people we cover — everyone from climate activists, to politicians to academics — to prove their claims.

To the activist who demands immediate divestment of fossil fuels: What would the immediate consequences be for the industrial sectors — the steel and cement plants that were part of National Observer’s The dirtiest emitter coverage — that depend on those sources of energy and the workers who need the paycheques to support their families?

To governments that make promises:What concrete steps are you taking to fulfill your net zero promises?

To financial institutions such as Canada’s Big Six banks and Big Eight pension funds promoting their divestment initiatives: How quickly can you pull the plug on your energy source? What are your plans for investing into cleaner sources of energy? How detailed will your financial statements be to allow investors to make more informed decisions?

It is important to ask questions that also provide solutions. What can be learned from sectors — in Canada and beyond — successfully transitioning their workers from fossil fuels to clean energy? How can alternative forms such as solar, wind, or hydrogen be efficiently harnessed and stored?

This is the type of coverage Covering Climate Now highlighted during sessions it hosted for members media outlets in 2021 Canada’s National Observer.

I interviewed Covering Climate Now’s executive director, author, and recently published an interview. The Nation’s environmental correspondent Mark HertsgaardInformation about COP26 and how journalists may use it to drive their 2022 coverage.

Opinion: Media outlets can take the anger and concern at COP26 as a guideline for their climate coverage in 2022. #climatechange #ClimateCrisis #COP26 #ParisAgreement

Here’s an edited version of that conversation.

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