Today Covering Climate Now brings climate-related news and activity on countless fronts all around the world.
Much of the press will focus on the White House, where President Joe Biden’s global climate summit is unfolding now. Biden aims both to spur urgent climate action and assert US leadership in the climate space. And in case you missed it, the president made it official: by 2030, the US pledges to cut carbon pollution by 50 percent compared with 2005 levels. During the summit, other world leaders are releasing their own statements. Covering Climate Now urges our fellow journalists to scrutinize all these statements carefully—and measure them against what science says is necessary.
Meanwhile, if recent years have taught us anything, it’s that ordinary people taking to the streets are just as important as government officials in driving change—and today, activists young and old will encourage climate awareness and action. Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, a leader of the Fridays for Future campaign, will testify before the US Congress this afternoon on the need to eliminate government subsidies for continued production of fossil fuels—production that is incompatible with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. And activists with Earth Uprising International will live stream their “Youth Speaks Summit 2021” here.
One tried and true tool for raising awareness is film, and today brings a slew of them focusing on climate. Among the most notable are a NowThis and discovery+ special, featuring Vice President Kamala Harris and a host of other top Biden administration officials; the BBC’s and PBS’s in-depth profile of Thunberg and her activism; and the documentary The Race To Save The World, just reviewed in The Guardian and available digitally.
For journalists, today is an opportunity for recommitment to the climate story. After so many years when the media as a whole took a pass on the climate story, today virtually all of the biggest names in news clearly understand the importance of what Covering Climate Now calls the defining story of our time. News organizations are hiring climate teams, launching important new projects, and beginning to tell climate stories with real energy and enthusiasm. Gauging by coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s still room for growth if journalists mean to treat climate change as an emergency. Today, many of our fellow journalists will cover heads of state and activist heroes. Tomorrow, and every day, we must commit ourselves to all the other climate stories, on every beat in the newsroom, about how the climate is affecting people’s lives everywhere and the challenge of preserving a livable planet for all.