Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • 'Breathing tax' fiasco highlights importance of media accuracy

Shares

China's press needs to work hard to better report on climate change issues, says science journalist Li Taige.

Recently, China's online media branded Jiang Youxu — a scientist at the Chinese Academy of Forestry and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences — a villain for proposing a voluntary environmental tax to plant urban forests and offset carbon emissions.

The confusion, says Li, arose from sloppy reporting and a lack of in-depth knowledge on climate change among Chinese media.

"Shouldn't we further consider the idea of an environmental tax?… [Since] every city-dweller is putting out carbon, we could give 10 or 20 yuan to a fund," said Jiang.

Reporters interpreted this as his calling for an obligatory "breathing tax" on all citizens. Jiang is a member of the climate think tank National Climate Change Expert Committee, which, says Li, proves his innocence.

Li argues that public faith in scientists in China is falling and urges reporters to help close the gap between scientists, media and the public.

Link to full article in China Dialogue

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.