July 22, 2008

HT Changes Tack, Gets Bold On Global Warming

A day after I criticised Hindustan Times' glaring omission of Al Gore's speech on climate change, the paper carries a bold feature on global warming as if trying to compensate. But is it really informed by climate science?

Hindustan Times ran this extraordinarily bold full page feature in today's paper

I made the entry on HT's censorship of Gore's speech on Sunday evening. It was published at four places online and was sent to a bunch of prominent personalities -- Dr. R. K Pachauri, Sunita Narain, Bittu Sehgal, Malini Mehra, Barkha Dutt -- as well as HT editor Vir Sanghvi and three HT correspondents.

Today (Tuesday), the paper carried a bold story on global warming.

It's hard to say that this was in response to my write up but it does seem likely.
  • For one, the full-page feature is very loud and bold (see larger version of the above image) with a massive headline and a huge graphic disproportionate to the small content the story carried.

  • Second, such an aggressively promoted feature on global warming has not come out in HT since last year when the IPCC report came out and Indian print media woke up to this issue.

  • Most important indication is that this is relatively a much smaller story. It was released by the BBC two days ago and Google News has hardly 20-30 mentions of it, none of which are from outside UK. Compare that with 1000+ mentions of the Gore story from all across the world that HT did not publish.

It's as if they were trying to compensate!

A Hundred Months to Act? Not On Earth!

The original BBC story is available here. It's based on a report by a little known British think-tank called New Economics Foundation. My take is that it will be foolish to presume we have 100 months to act. IPCC itself has said, even if we start making serious reductions by 2015 (about 77 months away) we may still reach 2.4 deg C of temperature rise.

Nasa's top climate scientist James Hansen in his landmark testimony to the US congress last month (which was also not covered by HT) said: "the oft-stated goal to keep global warming less than 2C is a recipe for global disaster, not salvation." So you can imagine 2.4C would be a calamity.

We do not have time. This is why Gore's challenge is so significant. It calls for radical reductions right away. But it needs your support.
"I have seen first hand how important it is to have a base of support out in the country for the truly bold changes that have to be made now. That is why I'm devoting my life to bring about a sea change in public opinion that supports the truly massive changes."

- Al Gore at a blogger convention on July 19, 2008.

Hindustan Times' censorship of Al Gore's challenge continued into its fifth day today.


This entry was also made on, Whats With The Climate blog, emailed to IYCN & Green-India discussion lists and copied to the following:
    Vir Sanghvi, Editorial Director Hindustan Times
    HT correspondents: Kinjal Dagli, Shalini Singh and Chetan Chauhan
    Barkha Dutt, Group Editor, English News, NDTV
    Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, Director-General TERI
    Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment
    Bittu Sehgal, Editor, Sanctuary Magazine
    Malini Mehra, Founder & Chief Executive, Centre for Social Markets

2 Comments so far      

Blogger Viva Kermani:

Hey Manu - we need more of you to get after the media to do some responsible reporting on climate change issues - I think you can take credit for HT story s on the issue. Well done.

I want to ask these guys "Who stole the Al Gore s Landmark Speech on Alternate Energy ?"

23 July 2008 at 09:34:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

Thanks, Viva. You're right, we need more of this. I actually have a plan to take this to a much higher level. Will share at the Hyderabad summit.

23 July 2008 at 11:51:00 GMT+5:30 link  

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