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Monday, November 22, 2010

How well does media cover climate change

Contribution to the Morning Star Round Table debate on Media and Climate Change:  

Climate change is the defining issue of our civilisation. Adapting our growth orientated and energy dependent society to the limitations it imposes requires the biggest reassessment of values and philosophies since the stone-age. CO2 emissions are currently increasing 50% faster than the worst case scenario in the IPCC reports which will lead to global heating in excess of 6degC by this century’s end.

The focus of our society must be on making urgent cuts to emissions. The quickest and most equitable way to do this is cutting unnecessary consumption. Crudely, 27% of our emissions come from the top 5% of our society. But, the debate on how we do this has not even started – as stopping unnecessary consumption challenges the market economy, which the most powerful in our society have every interest in defending.

Instead, our media echo our politician’s claims that we must grow our economies and do not even consider how we make a fair transition to the zero growth society we need. Nor do our media make any critical assessment of the fraudulent claims of big business, such as aviation’s claim that new technologies will solve all our problems. Rather, they host seductive adverts for carbon intensive lifestyles that push the rational debate we urgently need off the pages making the necessary changes an even more distant prospect.

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