Climate change stays above stormy British politics

As one of the first cohort of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network, I was struck by how politically uncontentious climate change is in the UK compared with many other countries. For example, May saw Labor’s Anthony Albanese win power in Australia’s elections partly by promising to “end the climate wars” and accelerate action to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading “Climate change stays above stormy British politics”

Adding climate to the journalistic environment

I am one of the first cohort of journalists in the Oxford Climate Journalism Network, run by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute. This involves taking part in a series of online seminars and discussions with journalists from around the world.

Our first seminar was by the Reuters Institute’s Wolfgang Blau, former chief operating officer of Condé Nast and co-founder of the network. (He has since delivered a public lecture covering the same ground, which you can read here.) Blau pointed out how badly climate change fits with journalistic (and perhaps human attention) values: it’s not new, it’s not local, it’s not simple, it’s not usually personal, it’s a long-term process rather than a specific event and it’s hard to get an exclusive out of it. Continue reading “Adding climate to the journalistic environment”

Companies are key in reaching net zero emissions

It’s common to look at which countries produce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but it can be more interesting to look at why rather than where. This chart by Our World in Data using World Resources Institute data shows how much comes from corporate activities, with nearly a quarter from industrial energy use alone. Continue reading “Companies are key in reaching net zero emissions”

Time to drop digital booking barriers for visitors

I have been visiting museums and galleries over the summer, partly to write a Geek’s Guide for the Register on Oxford University’s history of medical science leading to its ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, partly for the joy of it. But some visits are marred by unnecessary digital barriers put up during the pandemic that should now be scrapped.

One museum (not in Oxford) required separate timed online tickets to enter and for each special exhibition, which meant guessing how long you would spend in one exhibition to meet the 30-minute time-slot for the next one. One gallery was asking visitors at its door to book a free online ticket before entering, although it looks like it has since changed its policy. Continue reading “Time to drop digital booking barriers for visitors”

Editing what’s on and off the graph

The government’s Halloween press conference was an obvious example to use in my article for Computer Weekly on the good, bad and ugly of data visualisation during the pandemic. Before one slide headed ‘England new SPI-M combined projection bed usage’, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance actually said “this is a complicated slide”. No argument there (see below). Professor Chris Whitty charged through 10 slides in under seven minutes.

Continue reading “Editing what’s on and off the graph”