2023 CCNow Award Special Honors

Congratulations to the journalists at PBS’s Frontline, Bloomberg, VICE News, ProPublica/New York Times, Deutsche Welle, and Al Jazeera English.

For the first time this year, Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards judges looked across the finalists in all media categories to recognize the most rigorous investigative reports, eye-opening exposes of climate injustice, and much-needed analyses of climate solutions. Whether it was produced in print, video, or audio, this outstanding work exemplifies the strength, power, and impact of excellent climate journalism.

Learn more about the other 2023 Covering Climate Now Journalism Award winners.

Investigative Reporting of the Year

Power of Big Oil


Raney Aronson Rath

Contributors: Andrew Metz, Dan Edge, Jane McMullen, Gesbeen Mohammad, Robin Barnwell, James Jacoby, Eamonn Matthews, Sara Obeidat, Emma Supple, Russel Gold, Sarah Waldron, Lauren Ezell, Katerine Griwert

This eye-opening, three-part documentary series helmed by executive producer Raney Aronson Rath reveals how Big Oil companies in the US knew long ago that their products could unleash catastrophic climate change but choose to lie about that to keep the profits coming. Part One charts the fossil fuel industry’s early research on climate change and investigates industry efforts to sow seeds of doubt about the science. Part Two explores the industry’s efforts to stall climate policy, even as evidence about climate change grew more certain in the new millennium. Part Three examines how the industry has worked to delay the transition to renewable energy — including by promoting gas as a supposedly cleaner alternative. Garnering major press coverage, the series reached over 4 million viewers.

BP Paid Rural Mexicans a “Pittance” for Wall Street’s Favorite Climate Solution


Max De Haldevang, with Ben Elgin

In remote Mexican communities without the resources to notice the disparity, BP was getting away with paying well below the global average price for carbon offsets. This report is thorough — reporter Max De Haldevang traveled to more than 10 such villages to build his case — and tackles important questions about climate inequality and greenwashing, all while keeping voices from the communities in question front and center. The truest mark of success for this story is its impact: After it was published, BP raised its payments to villages, the Mexican president called for regulation, legislators introduced a new bill, and the government created an education campaign to help rural communities squelch future exploitation.

Justice Stories of the Year

Barbados Resists Climate Colonialism in an Effort to Survive the Costs of Global Warming

ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine

Abrahm Lustgarten

This deep dive into the harrowing debt crisis faced by many Caribbean countries — a situation fueled by costly climate disasters — blends strong characters with gripping narrative to make a complex, bureaucratic topic utterly compelling. Barbados and its prime minister, Mia Mottley, are well animated in Lustgarten’s prose, highlighting both the exasperation and the resolve of developing countries that suffer worst from climate change while wealthy countries respond with thinly veiled attempts at exploitation. Too much coverage of vulnerable people and nations showcases devastation and disempowerment – this story frames its sources as courageous agents in the fight to save not only themselves but an entire world on the brink.

Inside Somalia’s Nightmare Drought


Alec Luhn, Joe Hill, Mohammed Ibrahim Osman, Daniel Vergara, Robert Cosentino

Somalia is among the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, even as its greenhouse gas emissions are among the lowest. VICE News correspondent Alec Luhn reports on how a record drought driven by climate change brought the country to the brink of famine. Five hundred children had already died in care centers and more than 1 million people had been displaced when the story was produced; tens of thousands more have died subsequently. Luhn’s team filmed the dangerous journey to camps for displaced people and the inadequate medical care that the weakest, most of them children, received there. The piece reframed the drought as a climate justice issue for the Global North, rather than just another humanitarian catastrophe in the Global South. It revealed how wealthy countries, which emit 20 times more CO2 than all of Africa combined, first failed in their promises to tackle postcolonial poverty in Africa and then failed to fund the UN response to the drought in Somalia so vividly documented here.

Solutions Stories of the Year

On the Green Fence

Deutsche Welle

Neil King and Natalie Muller

In this podcast series featuring international guests, Neil King explores complex aspects of the climate crisis one by one. Whether he’s delving into the possibilities of lab-grown meat or the climate impact of reforestation, King always maintains a positive tone as he asks tough questions. He explores solutions that are often-oversimplified and helps the audience come to a fuller understanding of the climate picture. He encourages listeners to consider the climate emergency and its solutions from different angles, featuring interviews with a diverse range of experts as well as people affected by proposed solutions.

earthrise | The Case for the Climate

Al Jazeera English

Amanda Burrell

In this episode of Al Jazeera English’s series earthrise, executive producer and correspondent Amanda Burrell reveals how the law is becoming a powerful tool for climate action as UK activists use their country’s judiciary to override short-term thinking by politicians and businesses. The program brings viewers to the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where three non-governmental organizations bring a case against the government for allegedly violating its Net Zero Strategy. This legal tactic, wielding existing civil and human rights law, was first used in The Hague, where a series of court judgments made legal history by ordering the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell to slash emissions. Now citizens around the world from Germany to Pakistan are taking inspiration, with 70 cases filed to compel governments and corporations to take science-based actions against climate change.