Many newsrooms are stepping up their efforts to cover climate. But despite it being a global story, voices from the global north dominate the discourse, while countries from the global south are the most affected by the effects of the climate crisis.
Not so long ago, even climate experts from the global north were largely unknown to the journalist community. The task was made somehow simpler by Reuters which compiled a database of 1,000 "most influential" climate scientists, ranking them by their publication record and social media influence.
But scientists from the global south are largely missing from the list - only five African scientists are ranked. As far as diversity goes, women scientists also do not fare that well - only 122 are listed.
Ignoring voices in the global south and women could lead to blind spots in reporting, especially when covering the most vulnerable communities.
To balance journalistic coverage and bring in a much-needed global perspective, a new database of more than 400 climate science experts from 80 countries was created by Carbon Brief, a UK-based website covering climate science, and the Reuters Institute’s Oxford Climate Journalism Network.
The Global South Climate Database is searchable by expert's name, job title, nationality or research area. Experts from the global south can submit their details and entries are then verified by the two organisations. Individual profiles list other useful information like pronouns, languages spoken (other than English) or media experience.
Mitali Mukherjee, director of Journalist Programmes at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which runs the Oxford Climate Journalism Network, said: "For the global south, there is a twin bias in terms of limited access to climate-related information and that most of the expert opinion available is often concentrated in the global north. We are extremely proud to have partnered with Carbon Brief in creating a valuable list of climate-related experts from the global south."
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