How can we better humanise the climate stories in Asia?

As we reflect on 2021’s climate negotiations at Glasgow, it takes us back to the LIVE room full of climate reporters in Asia with Manka Behl, Principal Correspondent at the Times of India, and Renee Karunungan, Online Content Manager at Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, coming together right before the beginning of COP26 to share wisdom in the form of tools, tips and tricks with fellow journalists to help them report better on the then-upcoming COP, and climate-in-issues in Asia on the whole.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the hangout that can help environmental journalists report climate better in Asia:

Establishing How Climate Change is a Slow Killer (compared to the devastating COVID-19)

Manka kicked off the conversation by drawing a comparison between the coverage of the pandemic, and the one on climate change, in Asia. On one hand, “a big reason why COVID-19 has consistently been in the news is that the implications are immediately visible. People are dying. The linkage between the disease is established and well-accepted”; on the other hand, “climate change has been a very, very slow killer.”

Breaking Down COP26 Jargons Without Getting Lost in Technicalities 

Renee’s insights on connecting one’s COP reporting to the people on the ground were powerful. “For anyone who first dives into this whole process (COP reporting) will find this (the negotiations) really technical, wot of jargons- policy-wise, science-wise. Make sure not to get sucked into these technicalities”. In the end, one has to find what is relevant to the audience and connect everything to what is happening in the local communities-or to the lives of the audiences the reporters want to talk to.

Translating Data & Numbers Into Something Relatable

There were talks on translating data and numbers into something that becomes important and more understandable to your audience. Renee shared some helpful metaphors that can come in handy too! “Data and human stories go hand in hand to make a really good story. Data is really important; it provides evidence of what you’re writing about. But sometimes, data and numbers are not enough to get through to your audience.”

Tackling Asia’s Dependence on Coal

Manka spoke about the topic on everyone’s minds- Asia’s dependency on coal and other fossil fuels. She said, “It is not only a threat to the environment and health but also a very significant energy security issue. We do not need to move from one fossil fuel to another in Asia. We need to move from fossils to renewables. That is what Asia needs right now!”

Learning from these insights, we recently launched the Climate Tracker Asia website to help reporters across Asia report on climate better. 

The platform hosts links to information packages, key sources, and regional experts, including:

  • A database of thematically focused background briefings to help you with research and ideas
  • Integration of weekly newsletters on key climate updates and regional politics
  • Weekly news roundup of climate news in Asia to make sure you don’t miss out on an important update
  • A 5-episode interview series with experts on Climate Justice across the region
  • Access to the Climate Tracker Network

We are also meeting before Christmas for our year-end Global Hangout, the details of which are below:

DATE: Wednesday 22nd December 2021 | TIME: 8 am (GMT-4) | Convert to your time

Big cheers to all those reporting on climate in Asia, and see you all soon!

Join us as we talk about climate in Asia at our Whatsapp Community, Facebook Community for South Asia, and the Facebook Community for Southeast Asia.

Stuti Sharma
Climate Tracker's Asia Community Manager. A marketing communications wiz, she is a lighthouse of ideas and a multifaceted prism – you might just see a rainbow come shine out of her when the light hits the right spot. Working out of New Delhi, India, she loves being around animals and nature. Also speaks Hindi.