Climate Change Story Under – Reported By: W. Omecee Johnson Freelance

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Liberia is currently suffering from the catastrophic impacts of climate change both in rural and urban communities. This is evidence by the wiping away of Coastal Communities due to sea level rise, forced migration or displacement of people caused by flooding destruction of homes as a result of violent storms and poor or low agriculture yields which is attributed to unpredictable rainfall and droughts posing serious threats to food security. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change that is caused by human-made activities has become the biggest global threat to human life in the 21st century. It can be recalled on January 22, 2024, 79th years old President Joseph Nyumah Boakia, nearly died when he was struck by heart waves, while delivering his inaugurate speech. A Liberian was also hit by the blazing tropical sun and was pronounce death later at the hospital.  On one hand, Scientists are predicting that an extra 4.9 billion people will die each year in the coming decades should global temperatures rise above 1.50C On the other hand, the United Nations is urging member states to take urgent action towards climate change mitigation and adaptation in response to Goal #13 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGS) Despite these prevailing extreme weather conditions, there is low public understanding at all levels about the root causes of climate change least to mention about mitigation or adaptation.  To worsen this knowledge gap amount the populations, journalists and editors whose professional career is to inform and educate the public lack basic concepts about this global crisis. In fact, climate change is the biggest underreported story by the Liberian Media. The media consider climate change as “event-based” and not “issued-based”. In most newsroom surveyed by the Liberia Climate Change Journalists Network (LCCJN), there is no policy focused on climate change and environmental reporting. The LCCJN’s survey also discovered the lack of meteorological infrastructure or technology as a major contributing factor to the low coverage of climate change among journalists in Liberia. The Liberian media heavily rely on foreign news agencies for climate news stores. At the national level, there is no a sustained educational program or discourse on some of the international legal framework about climate change. There is also no sustained debate generated at the policy level in regards to commitments made by wealthy nations to reduce their level of greenhouse gas emissions, or fulfillment of promises to finance the first against climate change in Africa.

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