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To: RNZ CEO Paul Thompson, and the RNZ Board of Governors
Radio New Zealand: responsible science/environment coverage please!
RNZ journalists and programme hosts are, in general, failing to point out the connection between adverse weather events (both here and around the globe) and anthropogenic climate disruption. This is true both when reporting directly on those events (e.g. the recent flooding events in Buller, Marlborough, mid Canterbury and elsewhere); and when reporting more generally on politics, business and the economy, agriculture, transport issues, energy, aviation and tourism - all sectors where climate disruption has major impacts.
We call on RNZ to:
a. Take responsibility for consistently pointing out the science linking the increasing frequency & severity of adverse weather events to anthropogenic climate disruption.
b. Ensure your business and finance reporters take responsibility for explaining the increasing - and potentially devastating - impact of global resource limitation issues and the climate crisis on our economy.
c. Instate a new page dealing exclusively with climate and ecology that is linked to from the RNZ website news homepage.
Why is this important?
As taxpayers, we have a right to expect responsible public broadcasting. In today’s ‘post-truth’ environment, it’s more crucial than ever that we are all well-informed about issues that are utterly vital to the future of our mokopuna - particularly resource limitation challenges such as climate disruption. The reality is current COP pledges will result in a catastrophic +2.7oC above pre-industrial levels.(1)
A viable future will have to be low-carbon; as a public service broadcaster, RNZ have a duty to make this clear. The changes we request would be consistent with the Government's declaration of a climate emergency.
Many media organisations now have dedicated climate pages on their websites, notable local examples being the Stuff and Newsroom websites; internationally, the BBC,(2) Al Jazeera, the Guardian and Independent websites, and the Washington Post have all stepped up. - It’s time that RNZ did the same, and used their programme content to educate audiences about the climate crisis - including coverage of recent and future COP meetings.