When it comes to reporting on climate change, European media are from hothouse Venus, and their American counterparts are from considerably more frigid Mars. The divide between them may be having a profound impact on climate and energy policy in either part of the world.
European journalists accuse their American counterparts of maintaining a false balance in their reporting, pretending climate science is still in doubt, and offering politicians cover for inaction.
But while that may have been true just a few years ago, it is changing now, say American editors.
For Peter Vandermeersch, editor-in chief at the traditionally conservative daily NRC Handelsblad in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, there is no debate about climate change.
“Absolutely, that’s a given,” he said. “The conviction has grown that climate change does exist, and that humans play a major role in how it evolves.”
“There’s almost no discussion about it,” agreed Wouter Verschelden, editor-in-chief at the progressive daily De Morgen in Brussels, Belgium. “The nonbelievers have been marginalized, and they aren’t taken seriously anymore. We don’t have to convince our readers anymore of the fact that there is climate change, and that it’s caused by humans.”