This is the year of the climate election. Journalists should cover it that way
(The Guardian, 7 Feb 2024) The press is covering the 2024 campaign as if climate isn’t on the ballot, but 56% of US voters are ‘concerned’ or ‘alarmed’ about the crisis
Fact one: more voters face national elections in 2024 than ever before in recorded history – about 4 billion people, nearly half the human population.
Fact two: last year was the hottest in recorded history – and scientists warn that oil, gas and coal burning must be rapidly phased out if we are to preserve a livable planet.
Fact three: journalists too often don’t connect one fact with the other.
By any reasonable journalistic standard, 2024 should be the year of the climate election. Countries around the world face critical questions about leaving fossil fuels behind, adapting our transportation infrastructure, housing stock and farming practices to increasingly harsh weather, and protecting the people most at risk. Reporters should be asking candidates where they stand on all of this, so voters are equipped with accurate information to hold their elected officials to account at the ballot box.