Sexing up Climate Change with Cash
Reheating the climate change story | Jules Boykoff | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
Like other long-term, seemingly intransigent issues, climate change has lost its media mojo. But there is a way to rekindle its sex appeal: economics.
Reframing climate change as an burning economic issue could help journalists breathe life into the most important – and complex – issue of our time... beyond the number of gumshoe journalists patrolling the climate change beat, the plummet in coverage also came about because global warming is no longer perceived as novel and dramatic. Climate change is a slow-burning tick-tocker of an issue marked by incrementalism, slathered in arcane science, and often lacking whipsaw political theatre.
I'm not convinced the dismal science will help where celebrities have failed.
Aside from the beyond-the-pale advocacy journalists at Fox News network environmental journalists understand the gravity of climate disruption. And there has been significant improvement in the quality of coverage, with the US media casting aside their "balance as bias" approach, which, for years, meant putting pseudo-scientists and their benefactors on equal footing with independent climate scientists and their peer-reviewed research.
The downturn in the quantity of climate change media coverage is no small matter, since it affects public perceptions about the seriousness of climate change: if an issue does not remain on the public's mental fingertips, concern dwindles and urgency becomes overkill. Plus, it allows our elected leaders to squirm off the political hotseat. But as the world burns, quality matters, too, and journalists have – right there, in front of them – a short-term solution to the quandary of covering climate change: economists who can lend climate disruption the gravitas and drama it deserves.
No, I don't think he gets it.