Protesters march through Durban during the UN Climate Talks.

Protesters march through Durban during the UN Climate Talks.

Image by Adam Groves

The Event
The COP17 United Nations Climate Talks were held in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011. Many observers saw the summit as a potential tipping point in the negotiations: would governments build on the limited progress achieved at COP16, or would the talks lock us on a path towards 3°-4°C warming?  

2010 was described as ‘the year climate coverage fell off the map'.  Major US TV networks all but ignored the issue and the number of print media stories dropped by a stunning 30 percent in just 12 months.  In 2011, despite bouts of extreme weather across the globe, famine in the Horn of Africa and flashes of political frenzy including the approval of Australia’s carbon tax and controversy over the failed US solar startup Solyndra, print and broadcast media coverage tumbled still further.  Between them, NBC, CBS and ABC news mustered just 32 minutes of stories on climate change throughout the entire year.

The Vanderbilt Television Archive and the Tyndall Report, which independently monitor US nightly newscasts, reveal that the major networks offered a single one minute report on COP17 throughout the duration of the conference.   

Yet despite the reduced attention given to climate change in mainstream media, US and European public opinion saw a slight increase in agreement as to the severity of the crisis. Polling reveals that people are making the connection between extreme weather events and climate change  – demonstrating that while major media outlets are undoubtedly a significant cue for concern, they are not the only source relied upon by publics when forming opinion.  

It is against this backdrop that OneWorld is working to reach US and international audiences with engaging live and interactive coverage of the global climate negotiations.  The aim is to highlight the severity of the climate crisis; identify win-win solutions; to demystify climate politics and, most importantly, to inspire action.

OneWorld's coverage of COP17
For the first time at the UN Climate Talks, the OneWorld team enhanced our live video coverage with a range of additional multimedia offerings – centered on a new live blog. This enabled editors to provide a clearer narrative for the two week event, drawing together the best articles, audio, photos and video emerging from the summit.  

  • OneWorld's video coverage included: 231 hours of live and as-live video broadcast via and 113 interviews and features uploaded to the OneWorld TV YouTube channel, spotlighted on and distributed via our social media networks.  
  • The live video coverage received 837,544 views during the conference while the recorded YouTube videos were watched an additional 34,078 times. As a result, the OneWorldTV Youtube Channel was the most viewed non-profit channel globally during the second week of the talks, surpassing the likes of TEDTalks.  
  • Interviews were recorded with a range of guests including medical professionals, politicians, negotiators, military personal, religious leaders, and youth and community activists.
  • 616 multimedia updates were made to the live blog, which received more than 67,000 views during the conference. It was maintained 24/7 by teams in South Africa and the UK and remained live until the final hours of the event.  
  • Google Analytics reveals that the average user on remained on the live blog for more than 4 minutes, with the majority of visitors coming from South Africa, the UK, US, Canada and India.  
  • To ensure that we could provide up-to-the-minute coverage during periods when limited internet bandwidth restricted video work, we utilized to record and upload interviews. More than 1000 users around the world tuned in to hear commentary from politicians, diplomats and civil society experts during the final two days of the summit.
  • A number of organizations utilized and benefitted from OneWorld’s coverage (including the live webcast, live blog and recorded youtube videos) by embedding it in their own websites. These included: ThinkProgress, The Climate Group, The US Department of State, Grist, Climate Action Network, WWF, LinkTV,, and Treehugger.

Africa Roars - Local Schoolchildren make a bold statement - COP17 Durban, South Africa            

Video by OneWorldTV


OneWorld’s coverage received over 1,900 recommendations on facebook and twitter, as well as more than 350 links from other websites and forums. Feedback from users included:  

  • “I just came across another useful source of information on the talks in Durban – oneclimate has a great live blog of what’s happening in Durban.” (Chris Lang, REDD Monitor)  
  • “I think we will be adding the live blog to our website, it's brilliant! Thank you from all here who can't be there”. (Clare Saxon, ClimateGroup)  
  • “Thanks for good coverage and interesting viewpoints! Be well home!” (Nele Marien, Bolivia)  
  • “Amazing to read the live blog from last night's negotiations at climate talks from OneClimate” (SustainableFrome)  
  • “Keep up with the COP17 talks in Durban via @oneclimate and their great live-streaming coverage” (Treehugger)  
  • “Just like being there, except no carbon-emissions. Check out @OneClimate's live coverage of the #COP17 UN Climate Talks” (sesethewonder)

Supported by: The GCCA and Artists Project Earth




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