New Direction: Reuters Downgrades Climate Change Coverage
Winds of change are blowing through Reuters’ environmental coverage. One of its three regional environment correspondents “is no longer with the company” and the other two have been ordered to switch focus, people inside the agency say.
A perceptible shift in Reuters’ approach to the global climate change story has attracted international attention. Scientists and climatologists as well as non-governmental and international environment bodies have detected a move from the agency’s straight coverage towards scepticism on the view held by a vast majority of scientists that climate change is the result of human pollution of the atmosphere and environment. They see generally fewer stories on the issue. Some say they have been taken aback by Reuters’ new direction and are concerned that this could contribute to a change in government and public perceptions of climate change.
The three regional environment correspondents – one each reporting on the Americas, Asia, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa – typically covered climate policy, climate science, carbon markets and energy policies and impacts on energy firms, international climate negotiations, deforestation, and climate change impacts on agriculture.
The specialist correspondent for Asia was Singapore-based David Fogarty, who was transferred to more general news reporting before he left earlier this year after two decades with the company including four years on the Asia climate change beat. His opposite numbers in the other two regions are Alister Doyle, based in Oslo from where he has written about the environment for a decade, and Deborah Zabarenko, based in Washington from where she has reported on the environment and climate change since 2006.
Typical of the new focus of environment reporting – insiders say editors and sub-editors have also been steered in the new direction – was a story earlier this year headed ■ Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown. It reported that some experts were saying their trust in climate science had declined because of many uncertainties.
A blog posting on The Guardian website challenged the premise of the report and said warming was in fact speeding up.