With the United Nations climate change conference under way this month in Copenhagen, many journalists face the challenge of covering an extremely complex issue. To help journalists — and anyone else who is curious — understand climate change, Tom Yulsman, an associate professor at the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, has created a free, four-hour, online course titled “Covering Climate Change.”
1. What exactly is the climate change debate?
There is no one debate. Reporters fall into this trap, and readers fall into this trap of accepting that there is just one debate. There’s science, and there’s policy. Within science, there are dozens of debates about the various risks that we can expect over the future. There’s not terribly much debate on the big question whether humans are causing climate change. There’s pretty robust agreement on that. Within policy, there are all sorts of debates. There are even debates about how should science inform policy-making decisions.
This week’s question: On their first day together as a new board of nine elected officials, the Boulder City Council started to tackle the planet’s climate crisis and advocated global nuclear disarmament. The council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to support a two-person delegation heading to Copenhagen, Denmark, next month to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties. Boulder is paying an estimated $2,500 for the trip, including airfare and meals. The money will come from the city’s carbon-tax fund. On Monday night, Plan-Boulder County, a group that advocates city policies that preserve the environment, unanimously approved a motion objecting to Boulder’s plans to send the delegation to Denmark, saying the trip sends the wrong message: The flight overseas will cause the very harm to the environment that the city seeks to eliminate. What do you think?
via the Camera.
Tomorrow night, Boulder’s city council is expected to pass a resolution expressing general support for the goals of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, also called COP15.
The city if Boulder is sending a delegation to Copenhagen to advocate on behalf of local governments and to talk about Boulder’s efforts to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmentalists hope that world leaders will come to an agreement about how to tackle global carbon emissions at the conference, ultimately signing an accord that would pick up where the Kyoto Protocol left off.
The United States did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which would have obligated us the reduce our carbon emission by 7 percent below 1990 levels. But in 2002, the city of Boulder decided to try and meet the target on its own.
Aside from the Boulder delegation, scientists from the University of Colorado and other locals are headed to Copenhagen as well. If you’re going, BigGreenBoulder wants to know about it. E-mail Laura Snider at email@example.com.