The Washington Post did not send a reporter to Yokohama (and also passed up sending a reporter to Stockholm last fall for another important IPCC report). Instead the Post assigned veteran business reporter Steven Mufson, who does a great job writing on energy and climate, to do a story that put more emphasis on the private sector: “U.N. climate panel: Government, businesses need to take action now against growing risks.” Longtime Post environment reporter Juliet Eilperin moved to the White House beat last year.
The IPCC report did garner a banner frontpage headline in USA Today — “U.N. escalates climate concerns” — that even ran above a Final Four basketball photo spread. The largely perfunctory story by Doyle Rice, who was not in Yokohama, did hit major highlights of the report. Ironically, the Wall Street Journal did have a “Final Four Frenzy” banner across the top of its front page, but the climate story seemed MIA in a print home edition. The Journal did have a short story online from Toyko and posted a longer one midday Monday.
The impacts report is the second part of the IPCC’s fifth major assessment of climate change, with the last assessment out in 2007. The first part, released last September with much less media attention, focused on the physical science of climate change. A third, on mitigation, or reduction, of human emissions of greenhouse gases, is scheduled to be released in Berlin on April 13.
While reporters were not allowed into the Yokohama deliberations, scientist, government, and NGO participants who were participating or observing frequently took breaks from the long and intense deliberations. Borenstein even staked out a nice bench with colorful flowers outside the conference center and sent emails from his iPhone to climate scientists inside, with the subject “Come out and enjoy the sunshine.”