Climate Change Updates
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Next month, more than 30,000 people will rush to the Scottish city of Glasgow to discuss climate change. Politicians, nonprofits, businesses and religious leaders will all be in attendance at the UN COP26 conference. What is less clear is how the messages and promises that emanate from this august gathering will be received with us.
If television takes the pulse of the nation, the answer is: rather half-hearted. A report from Albert, the TV industry-backed Project Green, found that mentions of climate change across the UK’s six broadcasters – excluding daily news broadcasts – have declined by a tenth last year. Global warming earned nearly a fifth fewer name checks than in 2019.
Last year, the world was certainly preoccupied with other concerns. Covid-19 has been noted a quarter of a million times – 20 times more often than climate change. Blockages increased 11 times more. But all three were troubled by mentions of dogs. Even Shakespeare won more airtime than climate change.
It could be worse. In America, coverage was halved on the evening news and Sunday morning political programs on mainstream broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBC as well as on the Sunday show on right-wing cable channel Fox News. Those shows devoted less than two hours to global warming last year, according to left-wing think tank Media Matters. Coverage of hurricanes and other climate-related disasters has failed to join the dots. Only 4 percent of the 774 information segments aggregated for Hurricane Ida mentioned the impact of climate change.
This is not how information is disseminated. But the odds are better this year, and not just because of COP26. On the one hand, the difficulties in producing new locked-out shows meant that broadcasters relied more on recycled materials. This year, the United States also has a president who, unlike his predecessor, is committed to climate change policies. This should ensure more airtime.
Broadcasters wishing to disseminate information should learn from the continuing changes in the explanation of climate change. For most people, activities are easier to grasp than concepts. Reports of amorphous climate change have declined year on year, according to albert. But the carbon footprint – which anyone with access to Google can calculate – was on the rise. The same goes for discussions about reuse, something easy to do at home. It’s serendipitous to reuse chimes with revived British activities like knitting, home improvement and bee-sewing. Household matters are always ringing more clearly.
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