Not all countries jumped on board, however. “Anyone studying the list of newspapers behind the editorial will quickly spot one glaring gap: the absence of any first-rank US paper,” Katz pointed out. “A number of major US titles evinced support for the project, even conceding that they agreed with everything in the editorial, but stopped short of signing up, leaving the admirably independent-minded Miami Herald as the sole representative of the world’s second biggest polluter.”
Editorial bandwagoning is not what readers need right now, however. They needs aggressive reporting over the next two weeks that avoids wild mood swings between “new hope” and “no hope”—as the late Washington Post reporter Victor Cohn once put it—and find the middle ground. Although it is impossible to round-up the myriad articles that have already been written (Google News returned 5,420 results at press time) about the summit’s opening, here is some notable work:
The View from the U.S.
• The New York Times had a diverse package on Monday. In addition to its front-page article about the “Climategate” affair, the paper ran an editorial stressing the importance of negotiations “beyond Copenhagen,” a a pair of op-eds by climatologist James Hansen and economist Paul Krugman offering a point-counterpoint on the value of cap-and-trade, and an article about security preparations for the summit. Online, the Times has a couple novel graphical presentations: a primer titled “Who’s At the Climate Talk, and What Do They Seek?” and “Climate Change Conversations,” a bulletin board focused on eight major issues at the summit (climate science is garnering most of the comments so far). Over the weekend, the Week in Review carried a primer on the hot issues likely to make tempers rise in Copenhagen.
• The Wall Street Journal ran a special report on the environment, focusing largely on Copenhagen. The lead article offered a “blueprint” for resolving what will be a key point in negotiations: the developing world’s insistence that industrialized countries help them deal with the expected impacts of climate change, from increased flooding to drought and disease. There is also the requisite primer on “Who Wants What in Copenhagen” and a lengthy Q&A-style story, “What Global Warming?”, offering useful responses to some of the most common arguments made by skeptics of man-made climate change.
The view from the U.K.
• The BBC News rounded up “divergent opinions” about the conference from columnists and reporters around Europe. Also, the network’s seasoned environment correspondent, Richard Black, provided a quick rundown on what to look for in Copenhagen.
• Financial Times correspondent Fiona Harvey outlined the signs for guarded optimism, while in the same paper U.K. economist Nicholas Stern made an impassioned plea for businesses and governments in rich countries to “speak up and show where the true global interest lies,” calling the summit “the most important international gathering since the second world war.” The Financial Times created a homepage dedicated to all of its Copenhagen coverage.
• Last week, the Guardian’s John Harris drafted a useful list of “who’s who” among the treaty negotiators from Europe, the U.S., and developing countries like Papua New Guinea. Here is the paper’s page dedicated to its Copenhagen coverage.
The view from the developing world
• A briefing paper for reporters covering COP15 (the summit’s official title) from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a London-based non-profit that is helping journalists from developing countries cover the conference.
• The Climate Change Media Partnership rounds up coverage by forty journalists from developing countries who are part of a non-profit fellowship program to improve climate-change media coverage in Asia, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Latin America, including reporting on the Copenhagen summit. The site also features a useful resources page.
• SciDev.net, a non-profit news site dedicated to covering science and technology in the developing world, is hosting what promises to be an informative blog focused on the Copenhagen summit.
• The official Web site of COP15, with news links, resources, and more.