UN calls on broadcasters to support climate change

The Unitied Nations has described the run-up to climate talks in Copenhagen as a "watershed moment" for the broadcast industry which has a responsibility to motivate viewers around the world ahead of the conference in December.

Late last week, the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) held the two day Broadcast Media and Climate Change conference in Paris which covered a range of issues including how television and radio providers in developed countries could help share information on global warming with counterparts in developing nations.

"This is a watershed moment for the broadcasting industry," said Satinder Bindra, United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) director of communications.

"The more allies, talent and creativity that we can garner in the fight against climate change and its dire consequences, the greater the chance of succeeding in tackling the greatest challenge of our generation."

The conference brought together national broadcasters from developing and developed countries with representatives of international broadcasting associations, regional broadcasting unions, scientific organisations and climate-related agencies, the UN said.

"Public awareness marks the crucial first step. Broadcasters play a vital role by informing and educating the public about the realities of climate change and the costs of inaction. Armed with information, citizens are better equipped to push for meaningful and responsible follow-through from their elected representatives," said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. "This is all the more essential in the final days before Copenhagen."

Earlier this week, the UN said that urgent scientific investigation of the impact of a range of non-CO2 pollutants is needed ahead of the climate convention in Copenhagen if real and meaningful action is to be taken against global warming.

In September last year, the Liberal Democrats attacked the BBC over its transport spending and claimed that the organisation should look to improve its green travel credentials.

The BBC should look to use rail alternatives and invest in new communication technologies, the Liberal Democrats argued at the time. "Swapping flights for rail and investing in videoconferencing to reduce the need for travel is not only good for the environment, it is also good for the budget," said Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary Norman Baker.

The BBC launched an environmental action plan in 2008 which set corporate-wide target reductions for the organisation's main environmental impacts and a target of reducing CO2 from transport sources by 20 per cent per person over five years.

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