We analyzed over 2,300 news and opinion articles from 2018 related to renewable energy. Articles came from Google News and Feedly and from publications including national and state outlets, and online and trade publications.
The purpose of the research was to understand how the media covers renewable energy, in particular to determine if funding gaps in climate philanthropy are also leading to a gap in media coverage of local leaders and innovations. To what extent would articles quote women as spokespeople, reference issues of equity, or talk about communities of color?
- Study found that 65% of the articles sampled were solutions focused or positive about renewable energy.
- Only 21% of the articles quoted a woman as a spokesperson.
- Communities of color, despite being disproportionately impacted by climate change and fossil fuels, were referenced in only 7% of articles.
- 10% of the articles referenced issues related to equity and justice.
- Local leaders and their organizations are having outsized impact in the renewable energy space, especially relative to the funding they receive.
This analysis was developed by The Solutions Project, a philanthropic organization, and Conspire for Good, a strategy and communications firm.
Over the past decade, the dream of 100% renewable energy in the United States has gone from abstract policy proposals to concrete commitments and achievements. Cities, states, and companies across the country have responded to public demand for clean energy and taken advantage of its decreasing cost. As the industry grows, news coverage of the sector has grown along with it—reporting on everything from new solar arrays and technology developments to 100% commitments and clean energy investment.
Since 2014, The Solutions Project has been investing in frontline organizations that are working to make 100% renewable energy a reality in their communities, in such a way that everyone benefits. Our grants and media support have helped elevate local leaders, particularly women and people of color, taking their solutions to scale so other communities can benefit.
While the media has shown interest in these leaders, coverage of their work represents just a drop in the bucket. Missing from coverage of the sector is a representative collection of voices and stories from the communities most impacted by climate change and fossil fuels, which disproportionately affect poor and low-income communities and communities of color. Those communities understandably feel a sense of urgency and are therefore often the source of the greatest innovations and strongest drives toward 100% renewable energy policies.
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