This year will be remembered as a watershed year for the escalating climate crisis. Dozens of countries have been hit by extreme weather so far in 2022. Millions have been driven from their homes by flood, fire or drought, while food and energy shortages are becoming acute in many regions.
Increasingly, extreme weather events are being caused by climate breakdown. The Guardian’s global team of environmental reporters have covered the events – and their impact – around the world, around the clock. In the past year, we published almost 4,000 articles on the climate crisis, read by more than 65 million people, not to mention podcasts, live events and masterclasses.
This is all part of our ongoing pledge to prioritize the climate emergency, and give it the sustained attention and prominence it needs. This journalism changes minds and policies and keeps the foremost crisis of our times in the public eye.
Here are some of the highlights.
The ‘carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown
A Guardian investigation discovered that there are scores of vast oil and gas projects planned which, if fully developed, would each unleash more than a billion tonnes of CO2 issue. As a result, the phrase “carbon bomb” has now passed into common parlance, and a coalition of environmental lawyers, investigative journalists and campaigners has now launched to challenge the carbon bomb projects.
“It ranks as one of the landmark climate investigations in years,” said Mark Hertsgaard, executive director of Covering Climate Now, a network of more than 500 news outlets.
The climate disaster is here – this is what the future looks like.
A slick interactive that maps out various scenarios of temperature rises, and what they would imply for rainfall, heatwaves, drought, crop failures and wildfires. “The story was raised repeatedly by delegates at Cop26 as a full, clear illustration of what was at stake as the world continues to heat up,” said Oliver Milman, one of the journalists behind the work. The piece was listed as a finalist in the 2022 Online Journalism Awards.
Phoenix is becoming unbearable in the summer. What can be done?
Reporter Nina Lakhani spent five weeks in America’s hottest city, Phoenix, investigating just how unliveable it’s becoming and what might be done to mitigate scorching temperatures.
Nina said: “The massive interest in this story led to me spending several weeks in Phoenix over the summer to report on the impact of the city’s deadly extreme heat on residents, workers and services – bringing the Guardian’s resources and outsider’s perspective to an unfolding climate disaster disproportionately impacting the city’s most vulnerable people, as well as the efforts to tackle it.”
Is this our last chance to act on the climate crisis?
An epic from environment correspondent Fiona Harvey, who is something of an expert on last chances. Pieces like this concentrate the minds of negotiators at vital global summits. Fiona won the outstanding beat reporting award for coverage of Cop26 at the International Society of Environmental Journalists annual awards. “The Guardian’s Fiona Harvey managed to cover Cop26 like no one else in the media,” the judges said, adding that her work “is testament to the importance of having dedicated reporters covering the environmental beat”.
Capitalism is killing the planet
Instead of fiddling with the small stuff like ditching our plastic coffee cups, we must challenge the pursuit of wealth and level down, not up, George Monbiot argued in an explosive comment piece. Monbiot has been writing passionately about neglected environmental issues for almost 40 years. In July, he was awarded the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2022.
Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse
A startling piece foregrounding new research, which warned that the Atlantic ocean system, so vital for weather patterns in Europe, the Americas, West Africa and even India, was becoming unstable, with currents weakening. A total shutdown would be devastating.
This was one of our most-read environmental pieces ever, demonstrating reader interest in the risks of tipping points and their importance.
Revealed: how climate breakdown is supercharging the toll of extreme weather
A comprehensive analysis by environment editor Damian Carrington showed that human-caused global heating is driving more frequent and deadly disasters across the planet. By combining scientific attribution studies with the voices of people on the frontline, he made relatable how fast the world’s climate is already changing and the devastating impact it is having on lives and livelihoods.
Scientists praised the exercise as a clear and comprehensive assessment of the damage the climate crisis is already causing.
Pakistan: ground zero of the climate crisis
Pakistan’s floods were so devastating that some have taken to calling the country the ground zero of the climate emergency. Shah Meer Baloch and Matthew Taylor combined reportage, analysis, the stories of those affected and the science behind it all to produce one of the definitive pieces of the past 12 months.
Exposing attacks on the net zero agenda
Our environment reporters Helena Horton and Matthew Taylor used their extensive contacts and rigorous reporting to get to the bottom of how the climate-sceptic Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Conservative politicians was set up in the UK, and who was behind it.
Similarly, in Australia, an exclusive from Graham Readfearn revealed the Morrison government was attempting to block a UN recommendation that countries should try to keep global heating to 1.5C
Australia faces up to its role in the climate disaster
A six-part podcast series scrutinized Australia’s role in the climate crisis over more than two decades. Featuring exclusive interviews with former prime ministers, high-ranking politicians and climate experts, the series attracted more than 240,000 downloads. Guardian Australia also won best podcast series at the Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards for its podcast series An Impossible Choice.
Down to Earth: a newsletter for the age
Down to Earth takes a fresh approach to the newsletter format. Each week one of our team of climate journalists from around the world writes an exclusive article to bring readers the latest news and reaction on the climate crisis. Alongside this, composted reads has a digest of the biggest, best (and worst) climate news from theguardian.com – and our subscribers have got involved by nominating a weekly climate hero.
There are now over 300,000 subscribers – many of whom keep us informed of the latest developments from wherever they are in the world.
You can sign up here.
What you said
More than 3,000 readers around the world told us why they value the Guardian’s urgent climate reporting. Here are some of your messages…
“Thank you for being a real guardian of liberal values, for your great style and your wit. Keep on doing what you do.”
“Far and away the best of any media I know of – honest, aware, concerned and not overdramatic, whilst not under-stating anything at the same time. I’ve been aware of and interested in climate and environmental change since the 80s and can only give you 10/10. Keep up the essential good work.”
“Your coverage can be relied upon. Although I’m often left feeling worried for the future of our children and grandchildren, I feel it is my duty to be well informed so that I can take part in discussions whenever and wherever they crop up.”
“Your articles provide greater insight than that usually encountered in climate reporting. In-depth reporting on issues such as climate migration reveals a much better appreciation of what the world faces. Your coverage is invaluable in conveying the seriousness of climate change.”
“I read a lot about the environment and the climate in Guardian articles. I like the honesty and the no-BS attitude of the reports. I do think that the Guardian is one of the most important leading sources of presenting the real situation. Relentless, fearless and you don’t offer hope if there is none.”
“The Guardian’s reporting on climate issues is superlative. I read many newspapers in several languages and few can boast of the comprehensive approach found here. The in-depth reports are fantastic; the frequency of stories is also appreciated. Impact on daily life may be a good way to reach more people.”
“I like everything about your reporting on the climate. How it’s looking, what we can do, how different countries tackle or don’t tackle things, what experts say. Good, positive news and stories are important so we don’t give up. Explain again and again to us how it’s all connected. So many people can’t think beyond their nose or their bank account.”
Anne Sophie, Sweden
“I applaud your commitment to bringing climate issues to the forefront, explaining what the biggest problems are and naming the culprits. I do get a bit depressed reading too much of it, but still support your approach. We need you to call it what it is, a major emergency.”
Per, Hong Kong
“I try to read all the Guardian reporting on the environment, economy and sciences, which are often linked to each other. I like your objectivity and accuracy. Taking a side, human kindness, is the Guardian’s own signature.”
“I read all the climate reporting I can find. I believe in situational awareness, and the situation of the human race is critically endangered by the climate emergency. Governments still pander to fossil fuel entities, and the media is manipulated to downplay the imminent risk.”
“The Guardian is doing a good job representing my concerns about the climate crisis, the furious decline of the natural world, the droughts, the quickly mounting energy monetary gains earned by big business. The depth of some of your reports is breathtakingly clear. I read them with pleasure.”