The United Nations has advocated for solution based approach to reporting on climate change, insisting that this is more productive than the glum approach mostly used by journalists to paint the negative impact of the global threat.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Matthias Schmale,who gave the advised at the media sensitization for journalists on Climate Change and COP28, in Abuja, reaffirmed the global body commitment to supporting Nigeria’s climate change efforts.
He said: “We at the UN including other partners are firmly committed to supporting Nigeria in particular the government in its climate change efforts .we will continue as UN, our close partnership with the federal government as we will work together to implement our agreed sustainable development cooperation frame work which covers the period from 2023 to 2027. Nigeria is implementing improved management of climate change risks and building resilience to adopt to its long term impact through the nationally determine contribution , sustainable energy production and consumption and climate finance.this is a shared goal between the government and the UN.”
Schmale explained that media has critical role to play in mitigating climate change, urging them to report accurately amid widespread misinformation and disinformation, by emphasising on the positive strides made in green energy use and innovations.
He added that: “In the face of misinformation and disinformation, the media must provide accurate information about climate change, the causes and it’s impact. Mis and disinformation are delaying urgently needed actions to ensure a livable future for our planet. This is no doubt a complex issue, that’s why you in the media have the particular responsibility to report the facts explain the science , outline the consequences of climate change for Nigerians. Stories of intent to focus almost entirely on the problem but climate change is solvable . What is vital is balance, the media can help readers and views understand the problem but also to take actions on their carbon foot print and help readers and viewers make informed decisions in their daily lives.”
The Head of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Professor Petteri Taalas, who was represented by the WMO Representative for North, Central, and West Africa, Bernard Edward Gomez, noted that the occurrence of unprecedented heavy rainfall events leading to devastating floods and rising sea levels, affects not only the environment but also social, economic, and political aspects.
He noted that: “The high-impact weather events such as storms, floods, and droughts are causing natural disasters with far-reaching consequences. These events, with cascading effects, result in significant economic losses, displacement of people, and the destruction of livelihoods and communities.”
Taalas while calling journalists to action, stressed the indispensable role of journalism in addressing climate change.
He said: “To effectively address climate change, we must foster information sharing, accountability at all levels, from governance to communities and households. At the governance level, journalists can hold governments institution accountable on climate commitments and actions. They can scrutinize climate policies and investigate implementation levels. At the community level they can empower local communities to understand climate change impacts, develop resilience strategies, and advocates for their needs.”
The role of journalism in addressing climate change cannot be over emphasized. As the fourth estate of the real, journalists have a critical responsibility to inform the public about the realities of climate change role in information sharing and accountability, bridging the gap between governance and communities.”
In a related development, the Director General of Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Mansur Bako Matazu said a social justice perspective, highlighting the vulnerability of third-world countries contributing minimally to global emissions.
“There is need for localized solutions based on local evidence of climate change. As the world grapples with the unfolding climate crisis, the role of the media, global cooperation, and local solutions are paramount.The urgency to act is underscored by the alarming warnings from experts, time is running out for humanity to succeed in averting the impending environmental catastrophe.”
Highlighting the upcoming UN climate change conference, COP28, in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023, stakeholders emphasized its pivotal role in securing increased commitments from nations to address the climate crisis.
While underscoring the urgency of global cooperation, referring to the Early Warning for All Initiative declared during COP27 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.