Culture

Why News Corp Has Done A U-turn On Climate Action

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News Corp Australia has announced that it’s going to run a national campaign to promote action against climate change.

The media giant will start pushing for the world’s leading economies to meet net zero emissions by 2050, and promote the benefits of a carbon-neutral economy.

Sounds weird, right? One of the world’s biggest media and publishing conglomerates that’s spent years spewing out climate change misinformation suddenly doing a complete U-turn.

Well, it’s a pivot that should definitely be taken with a grain of salt, because the campaign is supposedly only going to run for two weeks.

There haven’t been too many details about it released yet.

It’s supposedly going to start from the middle of October, and there have been reports that one of News Corp’s columnists – Joe Hildebrand – is going to be fronting it.

The editorial focus of the campaign is expected to be on jobs in the post-fossil fuel world, but it’s not going to feature in The Australian at all.

And it’s still unclear whether News Corp Australia’s other mastheads and Sky News will stick to their usual stance on climate change after the campaign has finished.

Insiders who spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about the campaign did say that their executives and editors have changed based on what the readers believe and want.

And apparently a plan has been made to limit some of News Corp’s more conservative voices.

But the timing of the campaign is pretty suspicious, and a lot of people aren’t really buying it.

The UN is holding a climate change conference in November later this year.

It’s taking place in the UK, and it’s expected to be an incredibly significant event in the climate change space.

The Paris Agreement was signed back in 2015. Its key focus was trying to restrict the global temperature rising this century to ‘well above’ two degrees Celsius. And all the countries who signed it had until 2020 to implement their policies on how they were going to do that.

The November conference this year will be the first time the annual summit has happened since that deadline, which is why it’s likely going to be so significant.

And the timing of News Corp’s new campaign, just a couple of weeks before that conference, has raised some eyebrows.

Ketan Joshi is an analyst and reporter, and he wrote that the company’s campaign will be a centrist, pro-business approach to climate action.

He doesn’t think it’ll argue in favour of any new policies, or at least none that might reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Others have pointed out the fact that News Corp is pushing the 2050 net zero goal, which they argue is a pretty unambitious goal, and is actually the bare minimum Australia needs to be doing to make any real change.

The global media giant has faced all sorts of criticism for years, particularly over its blatant spreading of climate change denialism.

It has been called out for harming the efforts of multiple federal governments to act on climate change since 2007.

And a report from last year found that after Australia’s Black Summer bushfires, nearly half of all climate coverage across News Corp publications had cast doubt on – or completely rejected – climate science.

One of Rupert Murdoch’s own sons ended up leaving NewsCorp’s board last year after he’d accused his family’s empire of promoting climate denialism.

And just last month, over 20 scientists signed an open letter about News Corp, urging its publications to stop its inaccurate and misleading reports about the environment and climate change.