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Over the past decade, my reporting has taken me around the globe to chronicle the events happening on the frontlines of climate change. I’ve walked through Pacific Island villages abandoned to sea level rise, seen how oil booms change the landscape of communities, and watched last-minute arm twisting at climate negotiations up close—making for a range of memorable TIME features, columns, and cover stories.
In that time, I’ve seen many big changes in the climate movement first hand. I was in the room as countries adopted the Paris Agreement, interviewed the Trump Administration officials charged with undoing U.S. climate policy, and watched as energy executives navigated the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Over the last decade, few changes I’ve observed have been as enduring as the ever-growing role of the private sector in the fight to tackle climate change.
When I first started writing about our warming planet, most people in the climate space subscribed to a variation of one widely accepted theory of change: governments needed to create new policies to decarbonize the global economy and the primary role of business was to support those efforts and, eventually, fall in line. Today, corporate leaders have increasingly come to see a multi-trillion dollar growth opportunity presented by the energy transition. Financiers now realize that their investments are threatened by climate change—and can actually lead the energy transition. Even the aggressive climate measures enacted by governments in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere rely on the private sector to succeed.
This column grows out of that reality. Every week, I will offer fresh perspective and insight on the most important conversations happening at the intersection of climate and business, finance, and markets. No two columns will be the same. Some weeks I’ll analyze the latest news, other weeks I will include interviews with business leaders or dispatches from the field.
This column is rooted in a recognition that the private sector will play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, but it won’t serve as boosterism for companies or the private sector at large. I’ll be pointing out the successes—but I also won’t hesitate to highlight shortcomings and blindspots, too. My goal in doing this is to illuminate how the private sector is shaping climate—and vice versa.
For some, this will help ease what investor Tom Steyer recently described to me as the “comfort gap” that many corporate leaders feel when it comes to this issue. Week by week, the column will help readers gain facility with the key topics and debates that lie at the center of climate and business—and hopefully give them the comfort to engage.
But this column isn’t just for professionals. This is an increasingly important topic for anyone concerned about global warming, and I hope readers will take away each week a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that come with the private sector’s engagement on climate change.
Finally, I hope that these columns will spark conversations, and so I hope to hear from all of you. Please feel free to write me at email@example.com with your thoughts—about this newsletter or really anything about climate. That’s all for now. I look forward to writing to you all again next week.