Climate change – the biggest story of our time?

Climate change may end up being the biggest story of our time, or at least of the 21st century, if mad mad leaders don’t destroy us all first.

Climate change is the biggest story on any editor’s newslist right now. Legendary environmentalist David Suzuki wants journalists to drop covering things like the Dow Jones, and focus all their attention on climate change.

But it’s one of the hardest stories to tell. It’s a scientific slow burn, wrapped in politics and vested interests, surrounded by visions of a firey apocalypse. It’s full of numbers and data and uncertainty. Journalism has never had a more important or difficult task.

The Spinoff caught up with five Kiwi journalists dedicated to climate change, about the challenges and rewards of covering this massive story. They discussed why it’s such an important moment for climate coverage, how to tell the story, and what they hope their journalism will achieve.

One of them, Veronika Meduna:

Even though climate change is one of the biggest issues that will affect all aspects of our lives, it is a slow-burning emergency. It’s a long-term issue, it’s complicated, it’s threatening, there are a lot of vested interests, and it’s calling for a significant change in behaviour. None of this makes it an easy story to tell.

Climate change stories are up against human psychology, which makes us resist change and care less about less imminent dangers. They are also up against intentional smokescreens and cherry-picking of data, intense lobbying and straight denial.




  1. So far all the fearmongering has produced nothing.
    For example
    All those claims made by Al Gore have not happened and he continues to jet about the world in a private jet aircraft and waste electricity in his home at a rate far beyond the usual..
    It’s been overdone.
    The head of the body pushing this was a railway engineer.
    No way inspecting railway lines is going to equip some-one for things atmospheric

  2. David

     /  August 17, 2017

    its been a bit cold this year I am getting a bit concerned it could be global cooling.

    • Brown

       /  August 17, 2017

      Yes, its will get colder because its getting warmer. That’s how computer models work don’t you know?

  3. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  August 17, 2017

    Of course we can rely on all the non-existent temperature records

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 17, 2017

    It’s full of uncertainty. Journalists and self-styled experts need to stop pretending it isn’t. The science isn’t settled. It isn’t simple physics. The data is inadequate. The feedbacks and consequences are complex. And our future knowledge and capabilities are unknowable. Most journalists are clueless about all of this.

  5. David

     /  August 17, 2017

    Is this a repeat of the ship of fools?

  6. Zedd

     /  August 17, 2017

    there is no such place called ‘away’ where all the pollution, trash & plastic magically goes to.. but some on the right, obviously believe there is ? 😦

  1. Climate change – the biggest story of our time? — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition