New From Us: Reporting on Climate and the 2024 US Elections

We’re rolling out new resources to help you cover climate and the election

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Every Monday, in “Climate on the Ballot,” we pass along a topic to help you integrate climate into your newsroom’s campaign reporting. Consider sharing this newsletter with your colleagues on the politics beat. Vea la versión en español de “El clima en la boleta.”

This Week: Everything You Need to Cover Climate and Politics

When you read this newsletter five months from now, politics will have consumed the American conversation. How can reporters keep climate in mind even as they are covering the campaigns? How can we center climate in political coverage, rather than treating it as something on the sidelines? Covering Climate Now is rolling out new resources to help. For now, they include a reporting guide to help get campaign reporters up to speed on climate and a calendar of climate election events that you can subscribe to. More is on the way, on disinformation and local reporting — all of it aggregated on our Climate Elections landing page.

Reporting Tips From CCNow’s New Guide

  • Engaging candidates. Don’t wait for candidates to bring up climate change. Broach the topic proactively. If a candidate downplays the existence of climate change, ask how they plan to explain that to voters, who overwhelmingly understand that climate change is happening and are eager to hear about solutions.
  • Call out misinformation. The oil and gas industry has for decades intentionally spread climate disinformation to maintain their vested interest in continued fossil fuel use. Politicians, lobbying groups, social media influencers, media organizations, and others with an interest in the status quo do too.
  • Climate is a local story. Addressing extreme weather events, sea-level rise, shifts in agriculture, and more requires proactive local climate action, and many local governments are starting to test solutions to boost community adaptation and resilience.
  • Remember, activists are voters, too. Covering activists, critically and fairly, is part of covering the climate story. Resist the temptation to focus on the drama and the atmospherics. Engage instead in what the activists are saying, and what the people attending the protests are asking for from their representatives.

Take Inspiration

  • In 2022, Summer Lee became the first Black woman ever elected to Congress in western Pennsylvania. She strongly opposes fracking, a “position that is especially rare” in that part of the state. This month she is facing a Democratic primary challenge from a candidate backed by a GOP-funded PAC, reports Inside Climate News.
  • This creative TV segment produced by Next9 News in Colorado, shows how infrastructure resiliency and planning is being impacted by climate change, connecting the dots… with pot holes.
  • Which local officials have the power to affect environmental policies and practices, asks WUWM in this report on local leaders implementing clean energy projects in Milwaukee.
  • This NPR story looks at a dilemma faced by local leaders in a lot of places: “3 cities face a climate dilemma: to build or not to build homes in risky places.”

Spotlight Piece

Former vice president Al Gore visited the TODAY Show to discuss the impact that elections will have on climate change, in the US and globally. While individual action is important, he says, “it’s way more important to change the laws and the policies, because that’s really the solution. And unfortunately the largest polluters are way better at capturing politicians than at capturing emissions.” Watch the segment.