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The impact of climate on our changing planet may be the most pressing story of our time.
It is an environmental story, yes, but it’s also about health, the economy, jobs, energy, food, water, security, geopolitics, justice and equity. No sector will be spared its impact. Climate change will define every aspect of our lives and those of generations to come.
The consequences of increased greenhouse gas emissions from human activity should be a surprise to no one: According to projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Canada will experience increasingly warmer temperatures and more extreme highs; sea levels will rise on most of our coasts, causing greater coastal flooding and erosion; ocean acidification will increase; this country’s glaciers, permafrost and snow cover will decrease; hurricanes, storms and dust storms will intensify.
Our own research tells us that Canadians want to understand what’s happening (the facts and the science) and learn more about what can be done. There is a hunger for constructive solutions.
We have already done some excellent, focused work, from the CBC News series In Our Backyard to the award-winning CBC Radio program, podcast and newsletter What On Earth, to the countless stories over many years on CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks and CBC TV’s legacy program The Nature of Things.
Moving forward, we commit to doing even more.
Under the banner “Our Changing Planet,” CBC News, Current Affairs and Local will make climate change a significant focus of our journalism and a priority area of coverage across our newsrooms, programs and digital platforms before and after this year’s 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.
We have designated climate as a national beat and placed it under the editorship of a new senior producer, Anand Ram, whose portfolio includes Health and Science. We will soon create a dedicated international climate reporting team and increase the prominence of the coverage on our website and CBC News app.
CBC’s extensive coverage of COP26
Among our plans for COP26 from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12:
London correspondent Chris Brown travelled to Iceland to report on one of the more contentious aspects of the climate change issue: carbon capture. Iceland is home to the world’s largest carbon-capture operation. How exactly does this super-sophisticated technology actually remove carbon from the atmosphere? Can this help make a meaningful dent in the climate change problem? Brown will also file for all platforms from the COP26 conference.
Joining Brown at the COP26 conference will be correspondent Tesa Arcilla from our London bureau, who will be covering all of the key moments live as they unfold for CBC News Network and CBC Radio programs. Producer Avneet Dhillon will file to Instagram as a priority platform, using IG Stories to engage with audiences, focusing on the young people outside the conference, their motivations and aspirations. What On Earth host Laura Lynch will be doing in-depth interviews with some of the key players to air on our flagship radio programs and podcasts.
And what of Canada’s deep attachment to and dependence on oil and gas production? CBC Calgary reporter Kyle Bakx will have special reports through that framework.
CBC News senior meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe will be in Glasgow reporting on the science behind the news headlines and spotlighting the work of Canadian climate change researchers contributing to COP26.
We will experiment with carbon offsets and credits related to news-gathering travel for COP26.
Our new India correspondent, Salimah Shivji, will file a special report on the raging debate over coal. COP26 participants are under pressure to write the death notice for coal. But what would that mean for huge coal-dependent countries like India?
Adrienne Arsenault will host The National from Canada’s North, where residents are adjusting to change — from the landscape to their way of life to infrastructure — and offer lessons for the rest of the country.
As well, CBC Gem will bring together top documentaries in a special “Our Changing Planet” collection that explores the far-reaching effects of climate change here and abroad. Among them are two from The Nature of Things: Rebellion, about the youth movement for a livable planet, and Reef Rescue, about the impact of climate on underwater ecosystems.
The understanding of the forces driving climate change constantly evolves. So must our journalism and the choices we make daily. We will follow the science and share the facts that help to explain the key issues facing Canada and the world, today and into the future. We will attempt to make the overwhelming more manageable and more understandable, and highlight the scientific and social changes that are making a difference.
Commitment remains to other significant issues
We will at the same time continue our commitment to other critically important news stories.
COVID-19 has reshaped our understanding of pandemic science, disease prevention and the economy, while also surfacing a deep divide among a minority of Canadians who find themselves strongly opposed to the public health consensus on everything from vaccinations to wearing masks. The consequences of this growing polarization in Canada over science and public health policy may be felt for a very long time. We will cover it all.
The story of systemic racism, equity, truth and reconciliation is another that will play out in our culture for years to come. We will report and provide context throughout.
Our commitment to breaking news, global affairs, government and politics at all levels is steadfast.
Our pledge is simply that climate change and the endeavours to mitigate its effects will get the sustained journalistic focus and attention they deserve at a time most experts describe as an inflection point for the planet.
And as always, we want to hear from you. What are your climate concerns? How are you being affected? What can we help explain? Email us directly at Ask@CBC.ca and we’ll provide answers in our programs and online.
Our planet is changing. So will our journalism.