Met Eireann to increase coverage of climate change in farming forecast

Met Eireann’s Evelyn Cusack. Picture: Frank McGrath
Met Eireann’s Evelyn Cusack. Picture: Frank McGrath
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Met Eireann has plans to expand its coverage of Climate Change in its popular farming forecast which broadcasts on Sundays.

Ms Evelyn Cusack, head of the Met Eireann's forecasting division told Oireachtais Climate Action Committee that the farming forecast on RTÉ is of great importance.

"We concentrate on the weather forecast, warnings and advisories for the safety of the public during that slot.

"Very occasionally, we mention climate change," she said.

However, she added that Met Eireann has plans to bring it in in a more organised way.

"Perhaps at the end of each season - and to bring in more WMR and IPCC reports," she said.

At the same committee hearing, Ms Dee Forbes, director general of RTÉ said coverage of climate change and environmental issues has been regularly reflected in both news and current affairs coverage and across many other different types of programming.

However, she said efforts are being made to make the topic relevant, accessible, and in regular focus in relevant sectoral debates on programmes such as "Countrywide" or "Ear to the Ground".

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Committee member Martin Heydon TD asked whether RTE would be updating its editorial policy for journalists on how to report climate change after the BBC has indicated that since the science is now clearer and climate change is accepted as happening, climate change deniers are not required on panels for balance, as they would have been.

However, Mr. Jon Williams, managing director of RTÉ news and current affairs said the reporting of climate change is no different from the reporting of homelessness, Brexit, health or criminal justice.

"We are not obliged to provide balance and we do not balance different perspectives, but we are obliged to be fair and impartial," he said.

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