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We use newspaper coverage of climate change to examine the factors that shape local attention to this issue and how such attention influences economic and environmental outcomes. We construct a comprehensive dataset of climate change newspaper coverage from 2000 through 2022, with over 5000 newspapers, including 510 major broadsheets, from across the United States. Local newspaper attention to climate change is correlated with national attention, but is also influenced by local education attainment levels, Democratic politics, and occurrences of extreme weather events. In contrast, local coverage does not show a significant association with greenhouse gas emissions or toxic chemical releases from local production facilities. Exploring exogenous variation in local newspapers’ coverage of climate change, we find that climate coverage is associated with more local investment in ESG-focused exchange-traded funds and improved environmental scores of locally-headquartered firms. Finally, we show that local climate coverage propagates to other areas of the country through social networks. Our findings suggest that news coverage plays a vital role in shaping climate-related sentiment, investment decisions and corporate policies.