As noted yesterday, the Guardian persuaded 56 newspapers around the world to run its Copenhagen climate summit editorial, but no major titles from the US and Australia.
Australian media blogger Margaret Simons commented that Melbourne-based The Age’s explanation for not running the editorial was rather different from the Guardian’s. Contrast and compare:
The Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz:
“Another Kyoto holdout is also unrepresented: both the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age dropped out of the project after climate change convulsed Australian politics, demanding, they felt, a more localised editorial position.”
The Age was invited to take part in the global editorial but declined. Editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge said yesterday: “We applaud The Guardian’s global initiative. At The Age we decided it was important to put our own views – to be consistent and partly because of the nuances of the debate in Australia.”
Answering a letter from one its readers today, the Age (owned by Fairfax) argues it did not ‘pull out’:
The Guardian reports that two Australian newspapers, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, pulled out of this historic initiative because the election of Tony Abbott as Opposition Leader has recast the debate about climate change in this country. Fairfax Media, please explain.
Peter Stroud, Keilor East
■ EDITOR’S NOTE
The Age did not pull out of an agreement to publish the editorial written by The Guardian. We expressed support in principle for the project but decided it was important to put our own views in a page 1 editorial.
“Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency,” opened the editorial in newspapers across the world this morning.
It was an effort co-ordinated by the Guardian marking the beginning of the climate summit in Copenhagen. Participating titles include two Chinese papers, India’s The Hindu, Le Monde, El Pais, Russia’s Novaya Gazeta and the Toronto Star.
“Newspapers have never done anything like this before but they have never had to cover a story like this before,” said Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian. “No individual newspaper editorial could hope to influence the outcome of Copenhagen but I hope the combined voice of 56 major papers speaking in 20 languages will remind the politicians and negotiators gathering there what is at stake – and persuade them to rise above the rivalries and inflexibility that have stood in the way of a deal.”
The editorial states:
“Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.”