Staying Up-To-Date on Climate News: Publications to Follow
The amount of climate news that environmental journalists may need to stay abreast of is vast, and new developments are breaking every day. The best way to stay current is to keep an eye on some of the many major online climate news sources. Here are nearly three dozen of the best. In choosing them, we have limited the selection for the most part to sources that are reliably accurate and reality-based.
GENERAL DAILY CLIMATE NEWS
The following sources offer "news" on climate in the conventional sense -- whether as aggregated links to news stories from a variety of sources or as original reporting. The sources in this section generally adhere to traditional news standards of accuracy, fairness, and objectivity -- though some of the sources they link to may not.
The Daily Climate is a news aggregator that also includes some original reporting. It is published online seven mornings a week, by Environmental Health Sciences (grant-funded), which also publishes Environmental Health News. TDC covers a broad range of general, political, science, features, and opinion related to climate and is generally objective.
ClimateWire publishes climate news and features five mornings a week for most of the year. It carries mostly original reporting, although it also picks up on stories that may have been broken by other outlets. Its thoughtful, informed, and contextual coverage distinguishes it from many non-specialized media outlets. It is published by E&E News, the for-profit publishers of Greenwire. Although the full text of most articles is available only on a subscription basis, enough material is left outside the paywall that you can get the gist of major stories. ClimateWire covers a broad range of general, science, policy, and political news related to climate and is generally objective.
Reuters is a long-trusted news service used by many U.S. news outlets. It is especially strong in international and business-related coverage (including green business and alt-energy). It puts substantial effort into covering climate science, politics, and treaty talks. You may find selected Reuters stories related to climate here or here or here.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) is an objective international news agency especially strong in cimate coverage. You can see a collection of their recent stories related to climate here.
The Guardian does more environmental coverage than almost any newspaper on the planet, and they send reporters to international climate events even when most other newspapers stay home. They have a boisterous and popular tone, a bit of a liberal tilt, and a predilection for cute puppy stories, but their reporters are serious and break stories others don't have the grit for. Being Brits, they do not suck up to the U.S. government.
New York Times
Still the best newspaper in the U.S. (despite shortcomings), the New York Times covers most of the major climate news with breadth of context and depth of reporting. Its coverage of the environmental side of climate is so good partly because of the quality of its coverage of energy. While the Times climate coverage is a reminder that journalism matters, its online presentation makes it easer to get there. Try scanning their Environment and Energy page or zooming in on climate coverage more narrowly. And don't miss Andy Revkin's Dot Earth blog.
A decade ago you wouldn't have seen anything like Climate Desk -- a collaboration of unlike (but solid) media to pool coverage and distribution of climate stories. The result is more reporters reaching more audience -- and a lot of good climate stories that might not otherwise be reported. The collaborators are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Slate, Wired, and PBS's Need To Know.
Ever since Gannett invented USA TODAY in 1982 (after TV but before the Web), the once-most-widely-circulated daily has had a special romance not merely with the national weather map but with weather and climate (and the wisdom to know the difference). This strength still shows up in their daily coverage and online explainer library.
It may be wrong to think of Climate Central as a news organization -- but news is a big part of what it does. As befits a climate information source, its vision goes well beyond the day-to-day. It has scientists on staff, as well as writers (some of the very best). It makes stories as often as it breaks them. It originated at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (during the era of Gus Speth) and is foundation-funded. Its self-declared mission: "Communicate the science and effects of climate change to the public and decision-makers, and inspire Americans to support action to stabilize the climate and prepare for a hotter world."
Say what you will about Accuweather as a company or about meteorologists' opinions on climate (and we won't say any of it here) -- Accuweather maintains a surprisingly thorough and unbiased collection of news on climate change topics, although it seldom breaks much new ground.
Well, yes, these ARE the folks who brought you Shark Week. But who else owns a whole TV channel
The Climate Ark website has a variety of good links and sources on climate, including a pretty good climate news feed. This aggregation of links to news stories about climate is updated daily, but is really an archive of some 11 years of climate news, tagged and searchable. It is one of several sites run by environmental internet pioneer Glen Barry, via his donation-funded nonprofit Ecological Internet.
While not everyone wants a climate blog devoted to Texas, you have to admit Texas is today one of the driest, hottest, and most anti-science places in the nation (albeit also home to great scientists). Veteran reporter Bill Dawson is accurate, reliable, fair, and ethical. TCN is sponsored by the Houston Advanced Research Center and funded by Houston-based foundations. TCN aggregates news and does some original reporting.
NEWS FROM THE CLIMATE WARS
There is a war going on over manmade global climate change, and journalists are at the very front. Scientists who actually study climate largely agree on the basic findings that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing rises in global mean surface temperature and other climate changes. As greenhouse gas concentrations rise, climate change will intensify, threatening the stability of food supply, ecosystems, and human security. There are many proposed solutions for reducing emissions and adapting -- but many of those solutions are opposed by corporations who make profits from greenhouse emissions and nations who see their economic growth as requiring more emissions. Fossil-fuel industries have spent millions in disinformation efforts to convince people not to "believe" in the science. These propagandists vilify both scientists and journalists -- and rush forward to urge journalists to be "objective" by balancing truth with untruth. The following sources offer some help in sifting through the heaps of false, distorted, and misleading stories about climate change.
RealClimate is a robust climate science blog written by real scientists. It is generally objective, open-minded, evidence-based, and scientifically sound. In a mediasphere where disinformation often dominates, it serves as an antidote to inaccurate and distorted representations of what is actually being learned by legitimate peer-reviewed science. It responds fairly quickly to whatever climate-science misconception is current. Deniers hate it. Gavin Schmidt of GISS and Michael Mann of Penn State lead a team of roughly a dozen contributors.
InsideClimate News is somewhat unique. It describes itself as "a non-profit, non-partisan news organization that covers energy and climate change — plus the territory in between where law, policy and public opinion are shaped." It is solution-oriented, which may give it a bit of progressive bias (it is a rebranding of the former SolveClimate.org). Also diagnostic is that it covers energy (the solution) as much as climate itself (the problem). The emphasis is on quality, meaningful journalism -- as may be evidenced by the fact that InsideClimate News material is republished by Reuters, AP, The Guardian, Alternet, New America Media, and High Country News.
DeSmogBlog describes its mission as "clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science." It is funded by Canadian PR magnate James Hoggan and others. Truth-based but fully engaged in the climate wars, it devotes itself to debunking the deceptions and untruths of the deniers and exposing their clay feet and corporate funding. Edited by Brendan DeMelle, it draws on an array of high-quality contributors such as Ross Gelbspan, Richard Littlemore, and Chris Mooney.
Skeptical Science is a blog that aims to reclaim the true principal of scientific skepticism from the climate-change deniers who have misappropriated the term. It systematically examines and rebuts the myths commonly circulated by the deniers. It is published by physicist John Cook, Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland -- along with more than a dozen contributors from across the globe. It is translated into many languages. It is unaffiliated and runs on volunteer labor and donations.
Climate Science Watch is a thoughtful blog that focuses on the broad realm of climate science policy. It is run by Rick Piltz, the whistleblower who exposed how the George W. Bush administration had oil lobbyist Phil Cooney rewriting the findings of climate scientists
Watts Up With That is one of the more civil and well-read of the denier blogs. It is not reliable as a source of factual information. It does not disclose its funding sources. Anthony Watts, its proprietor, has worked as a broadcast weatherman for years but has no degree.
This blog is a department of the "Think Progress" blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which is an unabashed advocate of progressive positions. Blogger-in-chief Joe Romm is one of the most passionate participants in the climate wars, often leading the attack on the latest perceived fossil-lobby outrage. Romm has been known to over-do it, but the blog is worth reading for its hair-trigger newsiness alone. And when Romm makes a case, he often goes deep.
There is a front of the climate wars being fought in Canada, and the main value of the Deep Climate blog is that it covers the Canadian front more deeply than any other source we know. It is a shame that its author stays anonymous, but he or she receives no funding -- which may at least be a sign of good faith. The blog has been going since 2008, and the posts are pretty frequent and consistent for a volunteer effort. We deem it reliable.
Judith Curry's blog, Climate Etc., is an exception to the stereotype of denier blogs. Curry is a real climate scientist with strong credentials. Among other things, she is chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Committed to reason, evidence, and open inquiry, she is willing to examine legitimate points the climate skeptics may be making -- as well as the evidence and arguments from mainstream climate science.
JUST THE SCIENCE
Real science is published in science journals, within a culture of open-mindedness, honest curiosity, skeptical questioning, constant revision, and collegial civility. The institution of peer review is part of this, and peer-reviewed journals are the primary outlet for legitimate science. While usually reliable on the science, many are way too technical for a general audience (or even many journalists). Fortunately, there are still many good science writers to render science findings more understandable and put them in broader context. Following is a list of a few of the major science journals dealing with climate.
The journal Science, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), publishes the cream of U.S. research -- especially the studies likely to make news. The dry technical articles (and other newsy developments) are "translated" and put in context for an educated general audience by Science's news staff. Much of this material is fresh daily and available free online -- more so as Science evolves beyond print and contends for a leading role in the U.S. science conversation. Science has lots of climate news -- but you may be too fascinated by the stories about magnetic tornadoes and fairy rings to get to it. Look for stuff by climate science superstars like Richard A. Kerr and Eli Kintisch, among others.
Scientific American has been translating the most interesting parts of serious science for a general audience for a long time, and has been reporting on climate science for decades. Their reputation for fairness and accuracy is impeccable. They have evolved beyond print to be more multimedia/new-media, but still have many of the best writers/editors in the business. You can find their material on climate change here.
You will find a lot of fresh climate stories in Science Daily. The dailiness of Science Daily is both its strength and its limitation. Few if any other science outlets try to cover so broad a science waterfront with such immediacy. But it does not originate so many of its own in-depth and enterprise projects, and tends to rely more on standard journal articles and research press releases (although it reworks them and adds value). You can find most of its climate coverage here or here.
Peer-Reviewed Science Journals
There are several world-class, interdisciplinary, weekly journals that specialize in publishing science articles that are often likely to make real news. While peer-reviewed, these journals publish on a faster schedule, and typically come out weekly. Many science writers scan them routinely. Many include news sections that translate research into English, or round up science news from elsewhere. In most cases, at least headlines and abstracts are accessible online. These journals often carry accounts of breakthroughs or major studies in climate science. They include Nature, Science, The Lancet (for climate-related medical research), New Scientist, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
While Nature was once a British science journal (a great one), it has today grown into an international fleet of top science journals, the Nature Publishing Group. Nature Climate Change is one spin-off, and it carries authoritative articles on climate that go well beyond physical science alone. Sadly, full texts of many articles will cost you unless you have access to a good library -- but many other texts are free, as are abstracts and headlines. Published monthly.
Abstracts, but not full texts, available free online.
Full text not available free online.
Full text and abstracts available free online.
Open access options available for some material.
Open access options available for some material.
Abstracts, but not full texts, available free online.
POLICY, POLITICS, AND TREATY TALKS
Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) is a reliable, authoritative, and indispensable source of news and information about international climate negotiations and matters related thereto. It is a project of the Canada-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). IISD runs reporting services on a gamut of sustainability-related international activities (not just climate) under the rubric "Linkages". ENB typically is only active on climate talks when sessions are going on, or immediately before and after. Their strength is in things like negotiating texts and procedural minutiae rather than general-audience news.
For journalists concerned about the special problems of doing good journalism on a science topic (climate) where conventional rules of factuality are under assault, the Yale Forum is a key resource. Veteran environmental journalist educator Bud Ward offers a reality-based online community that helps articulate the many stark challenges faced by writers on climate change. The site draws from a wide range of respected contributors. A project of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, (which is itself often a source of climate news) and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the Forum is funded by the Grantham Foundation and other donors.