Carbon Watch Series Launches Two Months Prior to Copenhagen
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
ThWallace in Business & Economy, Communications Strategies, Green-Related


With only two months remaining till the world comes together in Copenhagen, Denmark for the most anticipated negotiations on global environmental issues since Kyoto, PBS' popular program FRONTLINE/World in coordination with the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) has launched "Carbon Watch" - a multi-platform "investigative collaboration that will track the evolving, soon-to-be trillion-dollar global carbon market."

Now, more so than before, the world's attention will be focused on the lead up to the COP15.  As a result, the media and infotube noise will increase with each week, possibly reaching a pitch not yet experienced in the climate discussion.  Across the board it's quite evident that there are more questions than answers going into Copenhagen. As the world stumbles toward a revision of our carbon diet, it's not surprising that media coverage will highlight these conflicts and the inherent complexity of a global policy framework.

Frontline's timing and partnership with CIR is a good example of the shift, from highlighting the larger macro issues of climate change to a media focused on the details and implications of a global carbon market.  It's a much needed shift, although laiden with the possibility of creating more confusion amongst the public. For the everyday U.S. citizen, the complexities of health care reform are going to seem simple in comparison to the complexity of a global carbon market.  As people get fed an enormous amount of information over the coming months it will be up to communications professionals to translate what Copenhagen means for a world so fundamentally reliant on carbon expenditures.  For the last few years, there has been quite a shift in awareness around climate change issues.  While strides have been made in those regards, the question at hand for governing bodies, advocates, business and others involved is, how will the world audience react to digesting the complexities of our natural resource demands as the debate is thrust into our daily lives.  If our own governing bodies are an indicator of the human capacity to come to conclusions, I suspect Copenhagen will also represent our on-going struggle to sift through the cognitive dissonance on climate change.   There is no doubt that the media plays an important role in helping all of us not just watch the debate, but participate in it by learning what it all means.   Clearly as Carbon Watch highlights, even if an agreement were to come together in Copenhagen, there is still a lot of work that will need to be done after the fact.  With an agreement considered to be far off and most likely not going to happen in Copenhagen, this time period might be best seen as an opportunity to give a crash course to the world on the issues at hand.  

Maybe we'll be so lucky to have Planet Money and This American Life partner to simplify the global carbon crisis like they've done on the global financial crisis. Until then, check out the World Resource Institute's recent article Following the Money in an International Climate Agreement by Maria Athena Ballesteros.


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