Launch Event at COP27
Leo Hickman– Editor in chief Carbon Brief
Elisabetta Tola – Radio3 Rai, author of the podcast “Foresight. Deep into the Future Planet”
James Fahn – Executive Director Earth Journalism Network
Rehab Abdalmohsen – Science journalist and water reporter
Ione Anderson – Co-Founder Grape ESG
Emanuele Bompan – Editor in chief Renewable Matter
Mauro Buonocore – CMCC, Head of Media and Communications
Alessandra Mazzai – CMCC, Coordinator Climate Change Communication Award
Selvaggia Santin – CMCC, Coordinator of Change Game
What would happen if international journalists, communication experts, media professionals and creative thinkers from organizations across Europe, Latin America, North America, and Africa met at COP27 to reflect on the most effective strategies to communicate climate change?
New ideas would emerge from an exchange of experiences and cross-pollination between different forms of communication that explore new narratives that can better support the climate transition by informing and engaging the public to increase awareness and knowledge about the climate crisis.
On Friday 11 November 2022, this exchange happened at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at the “Deep into the Future Planet: Journalism, Media and Narratives of the Climate Crisis” event, organized by the CMCC Foundation.
During the event, CMCC launched the second edition of the international Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra”, dedicated to projects and initiatives that deliver engaging messages and innovate climate change communication through various forms of art, theater, video making, music, photography, journalism, gaming, education, data visualization, and the use of digital channels and tools.
Starting from their professional experiences, panelists emphasized the importance of building collaborations among climate communicators and training journalists to be ready to cover the complexities of the climate crisis through journalistic investigation, science journalism, podcasts, magazines, and digital editorial initiatives.
Leo Hickman, editor in chief of Carbon Brief, a UK-based website covering climate science, climate policy and energy policy through data-driven articles and graphics, kicked-off the conversation by sharing the story of how a small journalistic initiative has now become an award-winning editorial project, experiencing tremendous growth in recent years.
“We have to train the reader to understand that in the aftermath of the Paris Agreement COPs have become increasingly complex. They are not always a success or a failure. We should not trivialize our narration,” explained Emanuele Bompan, editor in chief of Renewable Matter, when reflecting on the most effective ways of transferring information about the climate negotiations to the public. “If we don’t build the right narrative, if we don’t build the right skills among journalists to represent the complexity of climate change, we may contribute to the failure of the Paris Agreement”.
Going behind the scenes of the climate negotiations, Elisabetta Tola, journalist at the Italian public radio Radio3 Rai and author of the podcast “Foresight. Deep into the Future Planet”, in the latest episode gave an example of how the audience can be involved through the voices of scientists, delegates and journalists unveiling the complexity of a climate agreement that takes shape at the UNFCCC Conference.
Rehab Abdalmohsen, independent Egyptian science journalist and water reporter, is among the voices of another episode of the same podcast. “I am a science writer,” she affirmed at the event. “At the beginning I was only covering science, in a very flat way. Gradually, I understood this was not enough.” When questioned by the audience on how to build positive storytelling that offers solutions to such a complex and daunting issue, she offered her strategy as a journalist: “I ask scientists to tell me what the solutions are. This is the positive narration: it is driven by science, not by the journalist’s opinions.”
“Environment and climate change might end up being the biggest story of this century,” said James Fahn, Executive Director of the Earth Journalism Network, a network of over 14,000 journalists from around the world whose goal is to support improved coverage of environmental issues and climate change. “Causes and impacts are not the whole story: it is about adaptation, changing our economies, and societies as a whole. Climate change is not just an environment story, we can report this topic from many angles.”
One of these angles is that of the private sector. “The challenge is for companies to embrace the aim to be leaders on sustainability,” stated Ione Anderson. Journalist by training, after an international diplomatic career and work experiences at nexus between science and policy Anderson co-founded Grape ESG, a company that works in partnership with investors and businesses to develop sustainability strategies that incorporate ESG factors into operations and investment decisions. “Companies need to dive deep into their work to be really engaged. The first step for the private sector is not communication, it is strategy.”
Keep following the debate on climate change communication in the Foresight magazine and through the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra” platform.