Apr 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Think tank launches climate news outlet powered by former Greentech Media staff

Illustration of a reporter's notebook with a thermometer in the spiral

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The clean energy think tank RMI just launched a nonprofit journalism arm called Canary Media that's staffed by well-known names in energy and climate reporting.

The big picture: Canary will be "at the forefront of the clean energy transition" with a mission to cover global efforts to fight climate change, per RMI, formerly the Rocky Mountain Institute.

The intrigue: Top staff are veterans of Greentech Media, a highly respected but now-defunct site that began in 2007.

  • The consultancy Wood Mackenzie, which bought Greentech in 2016, shuttered it last month (though WoodMac provides its own public-facing content).
  • Canary's editor-in-chief is Jeff St. John, who was managing editor at Greentech. Eric Wesoff, who was Greentech's first employee, is managing editor.
  • Also on board are former Greentech reporters Julian Spector and Emma Foehringer Merchant.

David Roberts, who recently left Vox to launch a Substack newsletter, is the editor at large.

Why it matters: They won't lack material as they cover business, tech and policy in a newsroom they call independent from RMI.

  • Clean tech — in power, mobility, industry and more — is shaking up legacy systems, attracting new investment and policy support.
  • But changes thus far have not started bringing the kinds of steep emissions cuts needed to meet the goals of the Paris climate deal.

What's next: Canary's site went live today and they're also launching a free subscription newsletter.

  • Wesoff tells Axios they have no immediate plans for paywalled products but didn't rule it out. 
  • The site will leverage analyses and data from RMI, but also use research from a range of analysts, Wesoff said.
  • The "launch partners" include Amazon Web Services, Black & Veatch and other companies.
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