Greta Thunberg Talks to CCNow, Plus Our Pre-COP26 Plans

We have lots in the works for journalists ahead of the COP26 summit, including an interview with the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who talks about what’s at stake.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a large climate strike march by Fridays for Future in front of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany in September 2021. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Yesterday, we recorded our interview with Thunberg. On behalf of CCNow partners, colleagues from Reuters, NBC News, and The Nation interviewed Thunberg about COP26, the obstacles to real climate action, and the future of the youth climate movement. Their resulting news stories, as well as video excerpts from the interview, will be available for all CCNow partners to run. As we often say, activists are newsmakers just like politicians and CEOs are, and Thunberg, a contender for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, whose winner will be revealed on Friday, is a prime example.

Next, we’re hosting a press conference with COP26 president Alok Sharma on Tuesday, October 19, at 11 am Eastern Time. This session is for CCNow partners only. Sharma will answer questions, via Zoom, for an hour about COP26; attending journalists will be able to question him directly. We’re encouraging journalists to register early.

The following week, we’ll have a CCNow newsmaker interview with United Nations Secretary–General António Guterres, available for partners to run on Monday, October 25. Three CCNow partners will question the Secretary–General about what world leaders must bring to the table to make COP26 a success, and how civil society can help. We’ll share more details about the interview soon.

During the week of October 25, we’re also holding our second press briefing on COP26 and the urgency of the 1.5 degrees Celsius target. With a panel of experts, in an event co-hosted with our friends at Climate Central, we’ll unpack why 1.5 is the most important number at the Glasgow summit and explain what needs to happen if the world is going to meet it. We’ll let you know the exact date and time of the training webinar in the coming days. The webinar is the follow-up to our September press briefing on COP26 basics. A recording, transcript, and notes from that briefing can be found here.

All of these events culminate in our next CCNow joint coverage week, October 31 to November 6, during which we’re encouraging partners to help audiences understand that COP26 is not just one more international meeting: Decisions that world leaders make there will shape the future of life on earth. We’ll have dispatches from Glasgow by CCNow executive director Mark Hertsgaard, available throughout the summit for partners to publish.


We’re proud to be sharing the 2021 Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards with the world this week—check out our full page ad in Friday’s print edition of The New York Times. Following yesterday’s sneak preview of the special revealing the award winners, the video continues to be available here on our website, as well as on Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, The Guardian, and NowThis. The special premieres on NBC News NOW on Friday, October 8 at 11 PM Eastern Time, and repeats on Sunday, October 10 at 7 AM Eastern Time. WNET’s nightly news program MetroFocus, airing at 6 pm ET, is devoting its full program to the awards on Wednesday, October 13. Early reviews of this fast-paced, inspiring video are stellar; don’t miss its interviews with winners, judges, and climate change leaders, and the resulting portrait of the climate emergency.


COP and Covid. At the end of the month, 20,000 world leaders, activists, and executives will meet in Glasgow for the crucial COP26 climate summit, as coronavirus cases continue to rise. Despite calls to postpone, or to host it virtually, particularly from those in the Global South who face Covid vaccine-related challenges, the UN insists the summit must be held in person. But some are questioning whether it’s really necessary for tens of thousands of people to gather in person in order to tackle climate change. From The New York Times… 

Higher power. Pope Francis, Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, and dozens of other religious leaders from around the globe are urging world leaders to commit to ambitious climate targets at the COP26 summit. They see progress on climate as part of a moral imperative to preserve the planet for future generations and to support those most vulnerable to climate change. From Al Jazeera…

Climate costs. The US Treasury Department is taking steps to assess and address the financial costs of climate change on Americans. It’s not just extreme weather events, which can lead to the loss of a home, income, or both, that are being evaluated. Climate change can impact people’s overall financial wellbeing, affecting prices on everything from food to utilities to insurance, hitting those in low-income and historically disadvantaged communities especially hard. From CNBC…

Hypocrites. Disney, Apple, Amazon, and other major corporations are backing lobby groups that oppose the $3.5 trillion spending plan—which contains unprecedented measures to cut carbon emissions—according to the watchdog group Accountable.US. Many of these corporations claim to be concerned about the climate crisis and have pledged to cut greenhouse gases, but behind the scenes they’re fighting against legislation that is crucial to solving the climate crisis. From The Guardian…

Big Oil ad blitz. The oil and gas industry is spending millions of dollars to block the Democrats’ landmark spending plan that is set to contain robust climate provisions. On Facebook, the ad campaigns target vulnerable Democratic congresspeople by name, claiming the legislation threatens the US economy. In particular, the oil and gas industry’s biggest tradegroup, American Petroleum Institute, is racking up millions of views on the social media platform as part of its effort to keep subsidies that benefit Big Oil. From the New York Times…


Reporting Opportunities: The UN Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP15, officially kicks off on Monday in China; sessions will be held online. Although not as well known as COP26, the summit is also of critical importance. There, the attending countries hope to agree on a new treaty to protect plants, animals, and ecosystems.

There is a general strike on October 15 planned in the US to protest, among other things, climate inaction.

Jobs. The Seattle Times is looking for a climate change reporter. The New York Times is recruiting a senior climate editor. Gimlet needs a science and climate journalist for their weekly audio show, “How to Save a Planet.” Inside Climate News is looking for a senior editor of justice. The Pulitzer Center is seeking a great rainforest journalism fund manager.