As many countries lay out strategies to navigate away from traditional energy sources toward a carbon-neutral economy in the next few decades, questions of how to mitigate the socioeconomic and cultural impacts remain unanswered. Looking to the future, how nations implement policy changes, allocate funding and ensure participatory decision making will determine their success in reducing carbon emissions in a fair and just way.
In a post-pandemic world, it is even more critical for journalists to monitor how countries are – or aren’t – prioritizing this transition and implementing a green recovery.
EJN’s Pathways to Net Zero project aims to build the capacity of journalists and help equip them with the tools they need to effectively report on these issues in South Africa and India, two countries with some of the most ambitious targets to attain net zero by 2050 and 2070 respectively.
After successful workshops in Kolkata and Johannesburg on the same topic, EJN has now selected 20 journalists for reporting grants.
With support from EJN’s mentors, these journalists will produce compelling and insightful stories on their country’s progress thus far, and the obstacles that will need to be addressed along the way. They will be encouraged to report using a gender lens to highlight the disproportionate impact that a shift to renewable energy would pose, if not carried out correctly.
In South Africa, EJN has awarded grants to:
- Bongani Siziba – The Mail and Guardian
- Govan Albert Whittles – Newzroom Afrika
- Kimberly Mutandiro – GroundUp Media
- Lindi Botha – Farmer’s Weekly
- Lynn Fester – The Daily Vox
- Muhammad Ozayr Sulaiman Patel – The Mail and Guardian
- Munyaradzi Makoni – SciDev.Net
- Sakhile Dube – Top Africa News
- Suzanne Paxton – SABC
- Zandisile Shadrack Luphahla – Greening Afrika Online
In India, EJN has awarded grants to:
- Aishwarya Tripathi – Gaon Connection
- Geetika Mishra – Earshot Digimedia, Mongabay India & 101 Reporters
- Jennifer Kishan - Article-14
- Kavitha Yarlagadda – Article-14
- Nasir Yousufi – Valley Observer
- Pallav Jain – Ground Report
- Purnima Sah – 101Reporters
- Rahul Singh – 101Reporters
- Varsha Singh – Down to Earth
- Vivek Gupta – The Wire
In this round of story grants, several South African journalists will focus on the end of coal mining and what this means for historically marginalized communities and the thousands of informal settlements that are yet to access electricity. Other stories will explore the contradictory reactions elicited by renewable energy developments, from excitement at being a testing ground for new technology to uncertainty about how such developments truly benefit the poor.
“We are looking forward to working with our grantees to develop nuanced and in-depth stories on the country's road to Net Zero,” said Tunicia Phillips, project lead for South Africa. "South Africa's journalists have shown tremendous interest in covering one of the single most important stories of our century.”
In India, the focus will be on what the energy transition means for those working in the coal sector or residing in nearby areas. Other reports will explore solutions, such as skills training for workers to adjust to new economic models, and efforts to convert an abandoned coal mine into an eco-tourism site.
Joydeep Gupta, project lead for India, said: “The move towards net zero needs to be transparent. The best way is through media reports that look at all aspects of the process, as these story grantees will do.”
Look out for these grantees’ stories on the EJN website in the upcoming months as well as more of our ongoing activities here.
Banner image: Journalists covered their faces as they walked around the Eastern Coalfield Limited (ECL) coal mine in West Bengal while participating in EJN’s media workshop / Credit: Aarushi Tanwar.