World first as The Economist devotes latest issue to climate change

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

For the first time in its 176-year history, The Economist is dedicating its weekly edition to one subject: climate change. 

In addition to the cover, lead article and briefing, every section of the September 21, 2019 edition of the newspaper will include an article on climate change. 

Marketing activities

To complement the issue, The Economist Group is running a range of marketing and commercial activities related to climate change. 

The Economist’s climate issue and the Group’s activities coincide with Climate Week in New York and the United Nations Climate Action Summit and General Assembly. 

Critical issue of climate change

The Economist’s September 21st 2019 cover states that climate is one of the most all-embracing  issues in modern  times. 

By including a climate article in every section of the paper, the editors are emphasising how climate affects every aspect of the world in which we live. 

Cover leader

The cover leader and briefing explains how the world got to this point, how dangerous current levels of carbon dioxide are and the challenges of curtailing it. 

Readers can then read a range of climate articles throughout the newspaper including: what America’s Green New Deal is and what it should be; how Britain advanced offshore wind energy and what industrial policy lessons can be learned from it; how the threat of extinction makes small-island states a power in climate diplomacy; what rainfall changes mean for the Panama canal, and for farmers in Malawi; and how business seeks to respond to the crisis. 

Multimedia coverage

The Economist Films and Radio teams have also produced video and audio on climate topics covered in the September 21st issue.

The red and blue stripes appearing on “the climate issue” cover are a data visualisation representing the world’s average temperature for every year from 1850 to 2018 compared with the average in 1971-2000. 

Blue years are cooler; red ones are warmer.

“Climate change is sometimes portrayed as something capitalism cannot deal with--or worse, does not want to deal with. That is not our view”, said Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist. 

“Our reporting clearly shows the scale and scope of the problem; we accept that it cannot be solved simply; but we think free markets, smart regulation and liberal values are the key to an effective response.” 

Commercial activities

The Economist Group is supporting this week’s Economist climate issue by initiating a range of eco-friendly commercial activities including: 

Moving from plastic wrap to a 100% home compostable starch-based Bio-Plast film for UK subscribers 

Offering New Yorkers a free coffee in an edible cup, from a pop up cart made of repurposed plastic bottle cap art, in exchange for plastic trash

Running a new reader offer across all on-the-ground experiential activity; for every new subscription, a tree will be planted in The Economist Forest

Participating in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Lion’s Share event at the United Nations during UNGA/Climate Week. (An initiative aimed at transforming the lives of animals across the world by asking advertisers to contribute a percentage of their media spend to conservation and animal welfare projects) 

Announcing our second Climate Risk Summit within the issue. Taking place in London on 1 July 2020, just four months ahead of the UK hosting COP26, our summit will ask how climate risk can be better assessed and managed 

“The Economist has always served as a trusted filter on the world for its readers and we are pleased to support the editorial positions of the newspaper by ensuring our commercial activities align with the newspaper,” said Mark Cripps, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, The Economist. 

“By engaging with our content, The Economist provides utility to its readers by preparing them for the most pressing issues of today and the future - issues such as climate change.”

The entire issue will be available read online from 4pm today, The Economist said.

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