While climate change continues to scratch and claw for mainstream news coverage, many of the field’s best journalists are writing climate newsletters to directly and effectively address the topic.
Climate newsletters are perhaps the best medium for gathering and digesting climate information. And now, there’s a climate newsletter for everyone. Some offer easy-reading climate news, others provide heavy-hitting investigative journalism, and a few focus on giving readers the tools to join the climate movement.
Below is a list climate newsletters that I find especially important, approachable and well-written.
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HEATED is the newsletter “for people who are pissed off about the climate crisis” and perhaps the best example of the potential climate newsletters have to affect change. An experienced climate journalist, founder Emily Atkin is both personal and professional in her writing style as she exposes the forces driving climate change.
HEATED features interviews with notable figures (John Kerry and Tom Steyer come immediately to mind), data and fact driven reporting, a book club and robust discussion threads.
I won’t lie, this newsletter gets heavy. You will get pissed off about climate change, if you’re not already, but you will also have a better understanding of how the world got to the precarious place it’s in.
$75 gets you a one-year subscription with four newsletters per week and access to the book club and discussion threads. It’s worth every penny. Unpaid subscribers receive two newsletters per week.
*A one year subscription is 25% off in December 2020
The Climate Crisis
Written by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, The Climate Crisis is a weekly newsletter that touches on the week’s largest climate topics. McKibben is an excellent writer with a storied history in the climate movement. He succeeds in moving the spotlight away from himself and onto good and bad climate actors. He also makes the unwieldy topic of climate change more easily digestible.
My favorite section is the scoreboard, where McKibben recaps a mix of uplifting and disparaging news.
This is a free newsletter, although readers are encouraged subscribe to and support The New Yorker magazine.
With a similar format but complete opposite approach, The Phoenix is a nice counterbalance HEATED as it focuses on “what we’re for, not just what we’re fighting against.”
For the record, both approaches are important.
Founder Eric Holthaus has degrees in meteorology and climate science and has been covering the climate crisis for nearly a decade. He has already secured big name interviews, including one with Mary Nichols, the presumed frontrunner for Biden’s EPA Administrator. How Holthaus puts out 4-5 quality issues per week is beyond me.
A full subscription to The Phoenix costs $70 per year, or you can give it a shot for $7 a month. Unpaid subscribers receive a portion of each week’s issues.
This climate newsletter is The New York Times weekly roundup of climate change. The email features two shorter stories and a series of links to full-length stories in the NYT.
This is a great newsletter for people just dipping their toe into climate coverage, or those who can only handle so much. (I don’t blame you!)
Coverage includes current climate issues and tips for living more environmentally friendly. It’s really a nice way to approach and digest climate information.
This newsletter is free sign up for, but readers are encouraged to subscribe to the NYT.
Grist Climate Newsletters
Grist is an independent, reader-funded news organization dedicated entirely to climate change and environmental topics. It has a series of newsletters including:
- The Daily — a daily dose of Grists latest stories
- The Weekly — A weekly roundup of Grist reporting
- Ask Umbra — Weekly advice for handling climate issues
- The Beacon — Uplifting news delivered Monday-Friday
- Shift Happens — Stories from Grist founder Chip Giller’s every-other-Saturday
Most of Grist’s content is free, but donations are strongly encouraged!
Yale Climate Connection
Produced by the Yale School of the Environment, the Yale Climate Connection is a light, daily roundup of climate and environment stories. It’s really a nice mix of uplifting and tough-to-swallow news.
The YCC is free to subscribe to and features an even balance of radio stories and feature articles.
A longtime climate journalist for Vox and Grist, David Roberts recently launched to merge his two passions: clean energy and politics. If it’s anything like his Twitter account and reporting for Vox, this will be a wonderful newsletter. Roberts has a gift for making incredibly dry and/or dense topics — like clean energy and politics — easy to follow and understand.
Unpaid subscribers receive one weekly email. For $60 per year or $6 per month, paid subscribers get a second weekly email (with pet pictures, dad jokes and Star Wars references) and access to discussion threads.
Did you think I was going to leave myself off the list? The Burnoff is a free weekly newsletter that uses products and everyday actions to better understand the climate crisis.
Sure, we’re happy to point out products that are truly eco-friendly, share discounts, and identify the little things everybody can do to reduce their environmental impact. But the important part is understanding why people are even faced with these decisions.
The Burnoff also includes “Hopeful Headlines” — a weekly roundup of positive climate news — and “Climate Hero of the Week”… which is exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes we switch to “Bum” of the week.
I would be happy to have you on board!
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