How The Media Is Creating A Climate For Change


IPCC chair R. K. Pachauri calls on journalists to maintain focus on the scientific rationale for action in their coverage of climate change.

The media has played a central role in spreading awareness on climate change over the past two years. I find this particularly satisfying because when I was elected vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1997, I highlighted the importance of outreach for disseminating IPCC reports as rich sources of scientific knowledge on climate change.

I felt that the IPCC, whose mission is to carry out assessments of all aspects of climate change, must try harder to reach out to policymakers and the public across the globe.

Robert Watson, who chaired the IPCC at the time, asked me to set up a task group on outreach and communications strategy. But this was essentially just a preliminary effort because, among other activities, the IPCC soon created its own website, which has been regularly updated ever since.

Around the same time, the IPCC started inviting the media to interact with its officials at every major event or opportunity. This approach intensified in 2002, when I was elected chair of the IPCC, and shortly afterwards we recruited a full-time official to help with our outreach efforts.