Editor's note

Politicians are forthright about their views on climate change, but does the public really care what they think? Research has shown that, by and large, the answer is no. We want to hear about climate change from farmers, firefighters, scientists and, critically, weather presenters.

That familiar face on your TV news is not just a trusted source of information, they reach a huge audience. If we want to get the public thinking about climate change and how it affects their daily lives, how better than via the nightly TV weather spot?

A Monash University project is encouraging just that. It has engaged weather presenters to include climate information, such as trend graphs, in more than one-third of Australia’s media markets across three major networks.

Writing in The Conversation today, the project’s leader, David Holmes, says this contribution of weather presenters to public discussion will, hopefully, prompt viewers to think more about the climate crisis and how best to respond.

The piece forms part of our final day of coverage for the Covering Climate Now initiative - an alliance between 250 news outlets around the world to give sustained attention to global warming ahead of a critical UN summit on Monday September 23. This week we brought you powerful writing by renowned scientist Tim Flannery on why he considers his last 20 years of climate activism to be a “colossal failure”. We took stock of Australia’s progress towards international climate goals and identified [which nations are leading the world on emisisons reduction], (https://theconversation.com/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-the-nations-leading-and-failing-on-climate-action-123581) and which are dragging the chain.

Two researchers wrote of their grief, and hope at the Great Barrier Reef’s dire outlook. We explored how rising temperatures [affect our health], (https://theconversation.com/how-rising-temperatures-affect-our-health-123016) how best to move communities threatened by climate change, what schools are teaching kids about the climate emergency, and why we should attend events such as today’s global climate strike.

This week, The Conversation also took a fresh public stand against climate skeptics who derail public debate by spreading misinformation. Editor Misha Ketchell announced we would refocus our efforts on weeding out the misinformation spread by climate science deniers by deleting their comments from our site. The move was widely applauded on social media and elsewhere. But it drew outrage from some, including Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who compared our zero-tolerance approach to the Nazi regime.

However The Conversation will not be deterred. We remain committed to producing free, evidence-based information to help the public understand the world’s most complex issues. This is vital to democracy, and, in the case of the climate emergency, to the health of our planet.

Nicole Hasham

Section Editor: Energy + Environment

Top story

Melbourne’s ABC weather presenter Paul Higgins discussing a trend towards warmer April days. ABC/MCCCRH

We want to learn about climate change from weather presenters, not politicians

David Holmes, Monash University; Stephanie Hall, Monash University

Politicians might get the most airtime when it comes to climate change, but Australians would rather hear about it from weather presenters.

Hanson, who thinks men get a bad deal in the system, will be deputy of the new family law inquiry. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Grattan on Friday: Morrison government solid on industrial relations reform but bootlicks One Nation on family law

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

As the government starts its work on workplace change, it gave Pauline Hanson a win, for past and future favours, making her deputy chair of a joint parliamentary committee into the family law system.

This child and her mother found refuge at a women’s shelter, but many are unable to find the secure housing they need to escape family violence. Dan Peled/AAP

Another stolen generation looms unless Indigenous women fleeing violence can find safe housing

Kyllie Cripps, UNSW; Daphne Habibis, University of Tasmania

Indigenous children are admitted to out-of-home care at 11 times the rate for non-Indigenous children. The lack of safe housing for mothers fleeing family violence is a key factor.

School students took to the streets in Melbourne and other Australian cities back in March as part of a global rally on climate change. Now they’re doing it again. AAP Image/Ellen Smith

Ignoring young people’s climate change fears is a recipe for anxiety

Rachael Sharman, University of the Sunshine Coast; Patrick D. Nunn, University of the Sunshine Coast

Young people have reason to protest today and call for action on climate change. But they risk anxiety if they feel they are not heard and nothing is done.

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