The way to improve “reporting climate change” would be to stop doing it. We have no way of telling what a coupled non-linear chaotic system will deliver in a few months time, much less decades hence. We suspect things are likely to get cooler due to the sun’s apparent funk but we will have to wait and see, won’t we.
Climate change seems to be our favourite punch bag, whatever the calamity — droughts, failed monsoons, floods or cyclones. How much science goes into deciding which of these natural phenomena are an offshoot of the global climate change phenomenon? Is climate change reporting as robust (or weak?) as the scientific evidence to back accentuated glacial melts or sea level rise?
A regional meet of climate change communicators from the SAARC nations currently underway in Kathmandu, Nepal (September 24-30, 2012) is seeking to look at all that is good with our reportage and all that we need to improve. It would look and feel like any of the umpteen such well meaning ‘workshops’ which fail to make much headway but for the presence of some real ‘experts’ who have toiled it out on the ground. From Nepalese journalists who have trekked the Hindukush range to Sri Lankan scribes who have shrugged off the ‘small island nation’ tag to influence policy across south Asia; spirited Editors of newspapers, magazines and television channels from SAARC countries to radio reporters whose voices reach the farthest corners of our villages — the mix at the meet organised by PANOS is eclectic and therefore works.
The basic premise of their coming together is to corroborate what we know all along but need occasional nudging to recall — that the rules of science and the rules of journalism are actually the same: to question, to inquire and to investigate.