How to communicate the climate and environmental crisis? Under the premise that “communion between journalism and science has always been necessary”, Rafael Moyano, academic director of the Escuela de Unidad Editorial (ESUE), opened the 10th Environmental Journalism Conference recently held in Madrid, a course sponsored by Inditex that brought together a dozen experts, including leading journalists in the field of the environment, science and health and prestigious scientists.
“We researchers realized that in 2015 we had reached the projections made for 2050.” With this data he illustrated the acceleration of climate change, Jaime Martínez-Urtaza, researcher at the Department of Genetics and Microbiology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
The advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) recalled that media coverage of climate change worldwide experienced two peaks in recent years: the first, after the computer attack on the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) in 2009, which produced a massive block of disinformation and, the second, with the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House: “The impact of Trump’s climate change policy was brutal, “All the laws that were in place were paralyzed,” recalled this scientist who is part of the global initiative The Lancet Countdown.
As pointed out Teresa Guerrero, moderator of the event and head of science at El Mundo, “2023 is being a year full of extreme weather phenomena throughout the planet that have caused environmental information to occupy more and more space in the media”, which has This in turn favors the proliferation of misinformation on these matters. But despite the fact that there is increasing evidence about the impact of climate change, Carlos Fresneda, correspondent in London and environmental correspondent for El Mundo expressed his concern about “climate apathy” and the retreat in climate action that some governments are taking, particularly that of the United Kingdom, just over a month before the start of the Summit Climate Change (COP28).
Surveys reflect an increase in society’s concern about environmental problems. Thus, as Martínez-Urtaza pointed out, “81% of Spaniards support the introduction of stricter policies against climate change”according to the European Investment Bank in 2021. But Eva Gonzalezenvironmental journalist for the Europa Press agency, considers that from an informative point of view, “these issues should not be addressed from the data. A headline can say ‘We have increased the temperature by 0.1 degrees, But what does it mean? “It implies an impact on crops, aquifers… These topics must be offered explaining how they affect people in their daily lives.”