Journalists Gain New Perspective on Climate Change and Energy

As the U.S. power sector does its part to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2100, a goal set in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, more than 40 journalists have new tools to help them cover these emerging stories.

The journalists, from all over the country, participated in Metcalf Institute’s daylong seminar, Power Sector in the Hot Seat: Challenges, Opportunities & Goals, held in partnership with the Society of Environmental Journalists’ (SEJ) Annual Conference in Sacramento, California, in September. The seminar explored new business models, technologies, and policies to cap carbon emissions, expand renewable energy, and increase efficiency.

Featured speakers shared a variety of perspectives including behavioral approaches to limiting emissions, financial incentives, and the impact of climate change mitigation on the developing world. Catherine Wolfram, University of California, Berkley, told reporters that it’s important to consider the impact of climate change mitigation in developing countries, which are expected to account for most of the growth in energy use and carbon emissions over the next 30 to 40 years.

Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, now director of the Center for New Energy Economy, talked about innovations underway in government and the private sector that could serve as a model for advancing clean energy. He told the group that cities and states have surpassed the Federal government in driving the energy revolution, in some cases with bipartisan collaboration. Ritter’s team developed a State Policy Opportunity Tracker that provides a snapshot of clean energy use in all 50 states.

One participant described the session as “jam-packed with useful information, including tools and frames to understand and better report on

complex issues related to the power sector and its relationship to climate change.” Many participants said the seminar helped them make the most of the SEJ conference, a common experience when Metcalf collaborates with organizations holding conferences.