Unprecedented heat, out-of-control wildfires, deadly floods: these impacts of the climate crisis are already the daily reality of people and communities across the world.
But if you look only at the news headlines, you might be led to believe this global crisis is something that just happened to us. But it’s not that we’re unlucky, or that the climate just decided to warm up one day. Fossil fuels did this. People did this – and got rich and powerful while watching our world burn.
The climate crisis is a crime, and the real culprits – the coal, oil and gas industry – keep getting away with it.
When people see headlines in local news outlets covering wildfires or extreme heat, most of them show absolutely no connection between climate disasters and the fossil fuel industry.
As global greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, international efforts to curb climate change are stalling, and coal, oil and gas companies are reporting record profits. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable people and communities are left to pay the price of extreme weather with their lives and livelihoods.
Climate science is clear – the longer we allow coal, oil, and gas companies to dig and burn, the worse the impacts of the climate crisis will be. With every fraction of a degree of warming, we’ll see and suffer more extreme heat, droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes. Every fraction of a degree of warming we can prevent means lives saved and catastrophes averted.
But the fossil fuel industry continues to ignore these alerts and undermine our chances for a safer future – and they do this with full knowledge of consequences, and with impunity.
While parts of the US and Europe struggle under record breaking heat, and people lose their homes to raging wildfires, the media has a critical role to play in the battle to stop the worst impacts of the climate crisis. It starts with accurately covering the climate crisis and making clear the connection between extreme weather events, climate breakdown, and the actions of the fossil fuel industry.