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Read this: Climate change and the challenge for media

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Climate change and the challenge for med…

BBC music Radio podcasts Hi Katie razzall, and this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 hello heat pumps net-zero the Paris agreement with less than 2 weeks to go and till cop26 with being deluged with detail and jargon, how much do you actually understand about climate change? Do you even know what actually stands for is conference of the parties if you don't today? We're asking what role the media has in educating us about climate change maybe you feel hectored rather than formed or maybe you think the media going far enough if we now face an existential crisis should journalists dispense with the notion of objectivity and become activists in the fight to save the Planet let me introduce our panel mate is environment reporter of Brazil's biggest financial newspaper value economical Natasha Clark is environment correspondent for the sun Tom Chivers is the science editor unherd.

Wolfgang blau is the former global chief operating officer of condenast but he's now the co-founder of the Oxford climate journalism network and walking I gather you feel so strongly about climate change the baby pull your career the educate yourself.

It's really true it suddenly came to that moment where I realised this is not just a topic this is so huge and every single area of sports culture not just news journalism science journalism will be changed and I felt I had to take a proper time out to really at least try and understand.

What is all about welcome Wolfgang welcome to you all and let's look first at how the medias approach to climate change has evolved over the last decade or so, let's start with you.

You're the science editor unheard price for that you wrote about answer BuzzFeed before that you're at the Telegraph how are things changed in that time?

You guys been huge progress in the last few years, but the BBC in particular has started to avoid I'm sure you're aware of presenting on the one-handed have some climate scientist with years experience of working on and then some guy who write blogs for the Telegraph alternative alternative uses and that there was a much less broadly speaking there's much more sort of weight on scientific output would say it's almost sometimes gone to the point where we are overstating to the point where we are not having children because they are so scared sometimes we go to farm presented as this but certainly I feel like there is much more.

Grounded in science and much less of contrarian nonsense and they used to be the front page news and I suppose at your time at the Telegraph you've overlap with Boris Johnson and his days as a columnist.

Did you say climate scientist of convinced? It's always going to be warm Swimming Pools as a result it's still cold and how dare you climate scientist you know and I think this was kind of silly and a few months later.

He said I was going to put you on the piece about climate change but bloody Tom Chivers alright on telling me off again, so I will people there was a lot of climate sceptic voices and Telegraph when I tried my best to be a counterweight to them since then.

Gang fight in Germany you worked and journalism your whole career.

What have you can cluded as the how climate change reporting has changed because it was now obviously it's the point where as I said it on front page when I was edited side.

We also had a climate we can try to look at the topic from from all angles always felt like a topic you play the special issue or have a climate week and we didn't understand that it's systemic and needs to be part of every vertical to give you an example of what I mean by that often sports channels news story about it, but player transfer Frankenstein's all about the Super League champions league and we all used to seeing financial information in sports journalism, and we don't look finance journalism in the sports section and similarly.

I think we're not in this process of also normalising time of journalism across verticals and it's really necessary because there is no topic.

What do you mean by vertical for people who don't know what's what's a vertical sports culture science politics you structure.

Just imagine the navigation of the news website for instance the different subjects and you're saying it cuts across them all up in the science section or science vertical occasionally in the politics section especially when it was a big summit like cock coming up in Glasgow increasingly has started to show up in the Economic business section because of publicly listed companies having to reveal their risks from climate change on certain stock market things like that, but now we see remarks of the culture section in swords gardening in real estate in technology journalism, and I think it's a really good thing so we have made profits as normalised Saturday from the people running these organisations Tom Watt

Audience appetite for stories the audience appetite I mean how they feeling about reading saying all this stuff without using numbers to check that there is a strong appetite for all angles on it as in there if you start there's still a big me for people who are around the stuff saying you know you'll get huge audiences if you write stuff saying it's not a problem if you're right, we're all definitely doing double die in the next few months and I think it is really complicated thing and quite often the reality is technical and difficult and doesn't lend itself well to remediate head so how much of an audience there is for this is highly technical these projections are reasons for trusting a projections not sort of stuff that I like to think there is.

I hope there is the time trying to write those things but the everything else there's also a much greater audience for the audience to get for a sensationalist or takes on it.

I want I mean maybe you have the numbers on this.

I don't know in terms of audience appetite for it, but also I wonder a bigger point you know what obligation to journalists have to reflect the views of people who you don't believe this isn't there are significant numbers of people in the UK you want persuaded.

There was a YouGov survey last month nearly 30% I don't believe human activity is to blame for climate change on Shore or think climate change isn't real the journalists job to persuade them or just ignore them or what do you think only the journalists job but from studies of the righteous things to do we know that the number one source for people to get information about the climate crisis is news media.

There are many other communicators governments universities cultural institution celebrities were given the important.

We do have a responsibility to educate also got the basics of climate change.

I think though that the conversation has moved on a bit his dad at the battle is over the question whether climate change is happening or whether it is human made.

It's not much more about the question of how is it up quickly, do we have two addresses and who is paying the cost of the transition and caring risk and you can see that shift evening Australia where Rupert Murdoch's roughly 100 mastheads or no.

Just in the last days and wanting a shift in their cover.

It's no longer about climate change being real of being dangerous know about how quickly do we have to transition to renewals friends.

I mean your environment correspondent for the sun.

I want to bring you.

What is the sun's approach to reporting climate change.

They ever were we didn't actually couple of years ago.

It shows the regions with much more interested.

They actually I thought they were 89% more concerned about plastic pollution saying they don't use troway coffee cups anymore.

They're trying not to use them and it's just become an issue that I think somebody does more and more care about my green tea, which is our campaign to raise awareness of climate change and what things they can do to come back and that's exactly why I think we set off because our readers and no UK the whole world and they were and you know I work in Westminster politicians and exactly what they say.

It's warmer climate change reporting and what we do today.

Do you want to be set out in that to persuade the minority readers you want fully on board with the idea of climate emergency?

At the moment now, we're trying to persuade our readers to do sort of xyz believe XYZ but I think it's more of an opportunity to sort of the playing field that we're in the city and us about is it happening? It's about how and how urgent is you know all of the polls show that people actually don't think you want to change existent.

You know I thought the social climate change tonight as I think most people realise that something and realise that we got something about it, but a little bit unsure about exactly how that happened what they can do about it and the cost of this transition going but it's going to meet them and what it means less pockets and that's all about the some try to explain that to people and trying to fight and Wolfgang was talking about normalising.

You know this kind of becoming normalised in terms of unitas when you're ready to How Clean Is Your editor to put green stories on the front page.

I see you made the front page of the last.

Queen's moment Her Majesty the green was the headline.

I think absolutely and things but yeah, I think we go together in an article of this PC the Queen getting involved as well to get where to get green issues on the front page clearly the queen of the slightly separate issue totally it's a pretty high bar to get anything my front page of the Sun newspaper punchy and definitely green some jokes.

You know at the moment of reports might not be the kind of things every everyday wants to read about absolutely but I'm sure we going to have a storm is coming in around the world that is Daniella Karachi environment reporter of Brazil's value economical.

What do you make of our discussion so far are these question?

Been jealous even hearing here are they similar to the ones you're having in Brazil things even more since 2013 years and the first time I went to interview appointment and he said why are here strange white watch exactly what I'm saying that you used to talk to the pages of the newspapers if you if somebody from the phone is going to see you.

Maybe UK and get a broad audience.

And so yeah, this is why the same the only point I think you should change is that at this one now is that I went more than 40 times to the Amazon and Amazon is Europe so every time I go there and princess.

We talk more languages that are in the United Nations because we have 300 different people living there and so what I think is that at this point princess call who is not a big issue for a country like Brazil station is soap.

I think somehow we should change our perspective and and start to talk more between the Robots

Country song Brazil and Indonesia all the mega divorce countries we have you mentioned earlier clearly many people will know quite hockey the Amazon is to all of this but you know in the Spirit of wolfgang's cool for us to learn more about climate change just explain why don't my Brazil is important when it comes to climate change not just for your country, but of course of the whole world.

Thank you.

So fast is the Brazil is one of the biggest emitters of Ward because we went the first before the first date or the greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere is important because

Not only not only because trees store carbon because of the treasure that we don't know what is what is there and also for all of these people before so yes, it's important for prices decline of the forest the tropical Forest his a very important role to the veiny went to rain so and so the design is important for our country for the countries that are name was like Argentina and we are all connected and Wolfgang Danielle was talking about the global South and perhaps of issues.

They're being different when it comes to climate change from the global North what do you make it?

Around the world are approaching climate change you mentioned you know the news called decision to change from a sort of sceptical previously sceptical position with their mission 02050 statement on today last fine.

Just now this summer with the heatwave Europe and you often heard European politicians say the climate change climate crisis is real and it is here and I found it always an odd thing to say understanding in the context of national politics, but it's also another way of saying we never quite look at what's already had four of the world's 5 most hardest hit countries from the effects of climate change are in Africa which happened to be countries that have done very little to contribute to climate change so I think it's hugely important to to see this as a global issue.

Yes, we experience it mostly locally and our neighbour.

I do not forget that important point earlier when you asked.

Difficult it is to get a green story on the front page.

Get exactly one of the questions that lead me to to my studying why it's so difficult to break through with klama Channel 5 10 years ago.

We had a shortage of climate journalists and just the sheer amount of content now.

There's quite a lot but for some reason it hardly ever makes it into the prime-time slot on that front page on that number one spot on a website where you can still drive traffic and what is how we decide what is news and what is it and if you give me a look into the question just asking news editors and happy with myself just by what criteria do you make a decision and when you talk with them for a while? They don't just talk about instead, but then they say has it just happened now is always someone gets worse in the future.

So you could just as well cover it next week.

So it gets filtered out and then you'd a second is Geographic vicinity, is it happening here?

Listeners most of the year is worth somewhere else again it rather gets filtered out cannot tell it as a people stories an event or is it rather a slow moving process timer changes Marcia process gets filled out again? Is it simple enough Italian a quick news show or do I need to fit note and explain her pages the climate crisis is rather complicated in Malta call pascaterian.

That's left.

This is public interest is it in the public interest criteria and that is a shift.

I see happening at news organisation for instance.

I said to all day 1800 staff if you find a story where you have a financial aspect if there is also a climate aspect.

We want to see it and that is a quiche crosslands organisations and Daniel very particular challenges in Brazil because of course there.

It's hi politicised does an issue because of the policies and Mr bolsonaro and I wonder.

That means that being a journalist in Brazil it also means that you feel you're you're an activist to Innocence by now and I have to say that the press is working a lot provision is working a lot and more and more about climate issues than Innocence president bolsonaro and he has in a way, so what happened is that there? Was there was a real that was was more interested in the Amazon because of the reaction of the government.

So more and more young people more more people and and where you know I'm a journalist and I think the active is sound a different kind of animal and Ngo if I if I was also but of course this is it is George challenge in the world and so yeah, I think environment and climate them and my colleagues as actually do you think that climate change presents a challenge to the whole convention of journalistic objectivity?

Yes, I just like to quickly jump back something that is it about how how it's difficult to cover as a topic if that's alright which is but it's not obviously slow-burning problem.

X x Roslin on a different topic on new things like that things like that one newspaper every 50 years instead of one everyday, then the headline on that newspaper child mortality falls by 99% life expectancy doubles or whatever because that happens gradually over a period of years you can't you one point one day you can put them in the newspaper a newspaper sells up with plane crashes.

And that is and there's a similar so what normally that plays the good news stories like this low increase.

You know then switch to go down all improving and all these things to climate very heavily which is never be one day which we can always be things will be some heatwave in Africa which kills some number people and is that climate change probably but we continue to have a real challenge for a long time is the world getting slightly worse in lots of little ways that you can't ever really specifically say this is climate change you always have to say and always make it very hard to have a big headline says climate change has done this and also be really hard to say you know we were told you so climate change happening.

Because there's always possible to attribute these things to chance another so that's part of it.

I think it is there a challenge to join us to connectivity of course there is Everything Changes Everything right and justice issues anything like that is very hard and would say that we're not supposed to do that was supposed to be actively pushing big beliefs and actions and I am quite puritan about these things and don't I think of a journalist to say true things and to find out what is true and do your best play people that is true is that that's not important but the that becomes to find out what is important that is true and tell people not to be the person.

Reality to achieve some political and emergency some people will disengage with it and feel it's too late to do anything you know what seems to be like in Crisis about the coming climate change and people about not having will not have children.

What are the factors in people's decisions about stuff, but you know this sort of thing question whether or not big telling people wear it that we are doing will make them work harder to avoid do more when they can go well.

I might as well and have that fly to Greece then.

I don't know I think the reality that it will kill or Central projections are that would like to come through millions of deaths a year and then it will cost trillions of Dollars that damage and make life much harder in.

That reality is stereo without them having you say it's just interesting topics to make these issues relevant to our narrative is climate change obviously true.

It's obviously something that our readers completely should be told about and be involved in but whereabouts going to meet them about the issue anymore.

I think is a huge issue that completely up to today.

That's why I'm trying to do is do a mix.

Not just a steaming balloon climate change reports not just those just you know how the world is burning of the app that you have to clean out the opportunities that green can have that money as well.

I think that's really good way to get people involved and get our readers and followers by saying to the benefit this can be at how it can be good for you feel bank balance and I think that's why it's taken some sort of the wider consumer lead issues as well because that gets intruders really interesting things like electric car think about what we all of the things.

I think little bit more when I think that how to get people involved in the climate crisis.

You know whether it's a food we eat the closer.

Where all those things that day today.

I think that's what you're trying to do at the sun and trying to do that across all of the different sections of everyone was nothing on that one, but Wolfgang mean when it comes to heljan this approach the facts that within time at science.

There is still much to debate and

What to debate whether it's happening or not, but you know questioning sides is a core part of science in it wasn't that long ago as someone said earlier you mentioned you had a discussion about climate change on TV you have a sceptical from booked alongside the clearly those days are past and rightly past but I can't remember the last time I heard any sort of even sort of nuanced scientific descent is that a problem? Do you think I don't share that observation and see quite a lot of scientific descent as it should be doubt as you said.

He's a core feature of saying that some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs consist of overthrowing earlier certainties of other scientists so I I agree and this one thing to have a definitive answer.

I'm going back to that elephant in the room at many Newsroom said activism question my personal view is that journalists should not resort to activist and if there is no need for it, but we need to give the topic the visibility.

Herbs in the public interest what is more difficult to answer is this is my thing I have seen or to consist of not reporting on the issue activity to keep track.

I'm afraid there's so much more to question, but I'm afraid we have run out of time so that is it for today from Daniela thank you to Danielle and Natasha Tom Wolfgang thank you so much for coming on the thanks, that was the media.

Show will be back next week.

Thank you.

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