China and the United States may have the burden of climate change in common, but when it comes to reporting the issue they are poles apart.
In both countries, it is hard to find climate change sceptics quoted in the mainstream media but, in the United States the question of belief in the phenomenon, is still important in public discussion and even in the selection of presidential candidates.
In contrast, these questions simply don’t arise in China, where the government has steamrolled a consensus on the science, according to Richard Stone, news editor for the magazine Science’s Asia-Pacific office, in Beijing.
“The sceptics don’t have any traction in China,” he told the meeting.
Chinese journalists have also accepted the science and most of their stories are formulated around how to achieve climate change related goals. With the government investing heavily in clean technology projects, there’s much to report on.
In China, as in the United States, climate change is often packaged as a business or entrepreneurial story, sometimes without even mentioning the overused expression.
“But there is a shortage of stories that challenge the government,” says Stone, for example critiquing the government’s importing of timber or oil.
Smriti Mallapaty, SciDev.Net contributor, Nepal/London