During this year’s climate conference in Katowice (Poland), we are going to rerun our Down to Earth quantitative survey from December 2015. By surveying another national German quota sample three years after our initial study, we want to examine long-term effects: Did the Germans’ knowledge or attitudes towards climate politics change in the meantime? How is the summit in Poland received via the media, especially in comparison to the “milestone” conference of Paris?
Interestingly, the upcoming COP24 – taking place from December 3rd to 14th – is expected to be another important conference by international climate politicians. UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa explained the relevance of this year’s climate conference as follows: “COP21 saw the birth of the Agreement. In Poland, as I call it Paris 2.0, we will put together the pieces, directions and guidelines in order to make the framework really operate.” (UNFCCC 2017)
We will see if the conference stands up to these high expectations and if the German public experiences it as a relevant media event. Current news about the conference will be provided on its official twitter channel.
In his column “On the subject” for the Deutsche Klima Konsortium (DKK), Prof. Dr. Michael Brüggemann presents six theses for a constructive climate communication. You can find the complete editorial here (in German only).
The six theses for constructive climate communication are in short:
1. We must continuously explain the fundamentals and backgrounds of climate change and climate policy.
2. We must not provide a forum for the denial of climate change.
3. Disaster scenarios can be supplemented by positive visions of a possible future.
4. We should treat people as subjects capable of acting and making decisions rather than as victims and sinners.
5. We can respect people’s values, beliefs and needs and show how climate protection aligns with these values.
6. We should link the big picture with short-term and day-to-day goals.
Sechs Thesen für eine konstruktive Klimakommunikation
In einem Editorial für das Deutsche Klima Konsortium (DKK) hat Prof. Dr. Michael Brüggemann sechs Empfehlungen formuliert, wie eine bessere Klima-Kommunikation mehr Menschen in ihrem Alltag erreichen und den Klimaschutz voranbringen kann.
The Food Project is a multidisciplinary endeavor at Hamburg University, funded by KNU with seed money, bringing together collaborating researchers from various disciplines to examine the relay and utilization of a critical issue like sustainable food practices in the public sphere.
At the University of Hamburg, researchers from the disciplines of Journalism and Communication Studies, Sociology, Economics and Linguistics are engaged in conducting pilot experiments. They are joined by a researcher from the University of Graz, Austria to examine the topic within the area of Social Geography.
The project is supported by a team of external, international advisors, hailing from universities in Ireland, France, Denmark, and UK. In order to foster a discussion that facilitates the development of the pilot studies, a workshop was organized at Hamburg University between September 19 -21. The main aim was to update all participants on the state of each sub-project and garner inputs from the advisors for a way forward.
On the first day of the workshop, the external advisors presented their own work in the realm of food and sustainability. Presentations ranged from carbon footprints of grocery shopping and the value and growth of building sustainable food sharing practices across cities to examining how people adapt their food consumption to budgetary pressures. These fed into theoretical and practical discussions that set the tone for the following day.
The sessions of the second day were filled with current updates from the multi-disciplinary research projects from economics, sociology, linguistics, social geography and communication studies. The topics were diverse in examining experiment designs to study attitudes and norms, the effectiveness of frames in reducing meat consumption, identity and sustainability arguments on social media, framing and metaphors in global newspapers, among others. Future plans to take forward these projects were discussed, partially with external advisors and partially through an internal meeting with all research participants.
Dorothee Arlt, Imke Hoppe, Josephine B. Schmitt, Fenja De Silva-Schmidt & Michael Brüggemann (2018). Climate Engagement in a Digital Age: Exploring the Drivers of Participation in Climate Discourse Online in the Context of COP21. Environmental Communication, 12:1, 84-98, DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2017.1394892 –> manuscript
Michael Brüggemann, Fenja De Silva-Schmidt, Imke Hoppe, Dorothee Arlt, Josephine B. Schmitt (2017). The Appeasement Effect of a United Nations Climate Summit on the German Public. Nature Climate Change,7, 783–787, DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3409 –> manuscript
Schmitt, Josephine B., Arlt, Dorothee, Hoppe, Imke, Schmidt, Fenja & Brüggemann, Michael (2015). UN-Klimakonferenz 2015 – Wissen, Einstellungen und Zweifel der Deutschen zum Thema Klimapolitik. CliSAP Working Paper.
As a kick-off for a new research project, the research team of Prof. Michael Brüggemann organized a workshop at the University of Hamburg from June 21 to 23. The team discussed the changing roles of science and politics in times of post-normal science communication with national and international guests.
After an introduction into the debate of post-normal climate science by Hans von Storch, Stefanie Walter and Michael Brüggemann presented the planned research project. As external experts on their respective countries, Lance Bennett (University of Washington, Seattle, USA), Maxwell Boykoff (University of Colorado-Boulder, USA), Risto Kunelius (University of Tampere, Finnland), Saffron O’Neill (University of Exeter, UK), Hartmut Wessler (University of Mannheim) and Radhika Mittal (National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, Indien) provided their feedback.
The last day of the workshop was open to the academic public. The program included a diverse mixture of presentations on different aspects of climate communication – e.g. climate change and humour, the focus on economics in the climate debate and audience perceptions of climate change around the world – and attracted many interested guests; some international participants also followed the event via Skype.
At the International Communication Associations’ annual conference, which took place in San Diego/USA this year, researchers from our team presented first results from the Down to Earth project (“Climate Engagement in a Digital Age: Exploring the Drivers of Participation in Climate Discourse Online in the Context of COP21”) as well as research on how the COP21 was reported on Twitter (“Opportunity Makes Opinion Leaders: Analyzing the Role of First-Hand Information for Opinion Leadership in Social Media Networks”).
Besides, Michael Brüggemann was invited to a spontaneous interview with the online video literary magazine GuerillaReads, who “invited ICA presenters to share their work guerrilla-style. ”
More information and all other interviews can be found on their site.
Der amtierende US-Präsident ist nicht der einzige, aber einer der lautesten Vertreter einer “postfaktischen” Sichtweise, die sich durch die Leugnung von Verantwortung und einen Rückzug in Subjektivität auszeichnet und in der wissenschaftliche Fakten nach Belieben zur Kenntnis genommen oder ignoriert werden können.
Zu der Frage, wie sich Wissenschaft und Medien auf diese veränderten gesellschaftlichen Rahmenbedingungen einstellen und ein “Trump-o-zän” verhindern können, hat Michael Brüggemann einen Vortrag bei der Jahrestagung 2017 des Deutschen Klima-Konsortiums (DKK) gehalten.
Eine erweiterte und aktualisierte Fassung dieses Vortrags ist nun bei klimafakten.de und auf der Seite des DKK zu lesen.
Science Communication in the “Trumpocene” – How we can prevent the post-factual age
The recent political and medial changes labeled as the dawning of “the Trumpocene, a new epoch where climate change is just a big scary conspiracy” (Graham Readfern / The Guardian) challenge science and the media to find new ways in science communication. In a presentation for the annual meeting of the German Climate Consortium (Deutsches Klima-Konsortium), Michael Brüggemann has collected suggestions how to prevent the takeover of post-factual views.
Our Online Media Monitor has been collecting tweets for roughly a year now – time for a little retrospection.
The tool provides ongoing monitoring of the transnational online media debate on climate change by searching for related tweets. Tweets are collected if they contain the following hashtags or key words: #climatechange OR “climate change” OR “global warming” OR “Klimawandel”. Additional criteria are that the tweets got at least 5 retweets and contain at least one link.
In 2016, we see a slight increase in the general Twitter activity related to climate change – but, even more interesting, also some prominent spikes in the debate. We did some research to find out about which issues the climate change debate revolved on the relevant dates. Four of the five events that sparked the most activity took place in the last quarter of 2016 and had to do with Donald Trump.
Among the five most active Twitter users in the climate change debate are three non-profit organizations and two private users (from Australia and the US).
The most retweeted tweet was sent by BuzzFeed News, following the first US Presidential election debate. When Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of denying the existence of climate change and he rejected the statement, BuzzFeed cited Trump’s original tweet.
To sum up, 2016 was the year when the climate change debate got increasingly connected to the new US President Donald Trump. By now, his name also ranks highly in Google’s search suggestions related to climate change.
If and how the discussion will also center on Trump in 2017 is still to be seen – the OMM will monitor the debate as attentively as before.
Finally, the article „Beyond false balance: How interpretive journalism shapes media coverage of climate change” is available online. The article is an outcome of our project “Framing Climate Change” and was published by the journal Global Environmental Change.
The article explores the framing of climate change as a harmful, human-induced risk and the way that reporting handles contrarian voices in the climate debate. The analysis shows how journalists, and their interpretations and professional norms, shape media debates about climate change. The study links an analysis of media content to a survey of the authors of the respective articles. It covers leading print and online news outlets in Germany, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland and finds that climate journalism has moved beyond the norm of balance towards a more interpretive pattern of journalism. Quoting contrarian voices still is part of transnational climate coverage, but these quotes are contextualized with a dismissal of climate change denial. Yet niches of denial persist in certain contexts, and much journalistic attention is focused on the narrative of ‘warners vs. deniers,’ and overlooks the more relevant debates about climate change.
Free access to the article is available until February 18th 2017 via this link. Afterwards, the article will be available here.
Eine Zusammenfassung des Artikels auf Deutsch gibt es auf klimafakten.de
Auf der European Communication Conference in Prag haben wir erste Ergebnisse aus der Tagebuchstudie des Projekts “Down to Earth” präsentiert. Für den Vortrag wurden die Angaben zu den Gesprächen der 41 Teilnehmer über den Klimawandel analysiert, die sie im Zeitraum der Klimakonferenz in Paris 2015 geführt hatten.
Es hat sich gezeigt, dass – verglichen mit den wenigen bisherigen empirischen Untersuchungen zu Gesprächen über Klimawandel – die Teilnehmer überraschend häufig über das Thema sprachen. Dabei unterschieden sich die Unterhaltungen deutlich je nach der Beziehung zum Gesprächspartner: Mit engen sozialen Kontakten wie Lebenspartnern und Familie sprachen die Befragten vor allem über die Folgen des Klimawandels und mögliche Gegenmaßnahmen, mit Arbeitskollegen und Bekannten unterhielten sie sich eher über die Ursachen und den Klimawandel allgemein. Die Gespräche mit engen Bezugspartnern wurden oft als „gegenseitiger Informationsaustausch“ beschrieben und verliefen konfliktfrei, während in Unterhaltungen mit Bekannten auch gegensätzliche Ansichten aufeinander trafen.
Hier zeigt sich, dass persönliche Gespräche eine wichtige Rolle für die Information der Menschen zum Thema Klimawandel zu spielen scheint – einerseits zur Festigung und Wiederholung von Wissen (etwa mit dem Partner), andererseits auch als Quelle für neue Informationen außerhalb der eigenen Mediennutzung.
Die European Communication Conference ist eine große internationale Konferenz, die alle zwei Jahre stattfindet.
Recently, we have presented first results from our Down to Earthdiary study at the European Communication Conference in Prague. The presentation analyzed data about the 41 participants’ personal conversations about climate change that they noted during the time of the climate conference in Paris 2015.
The results show that the participants talked about the subject more often than expected from previous studies. The conversation topics differed depending on the communication partner: With their partner and family, the respondents talked mostly about climate change effects and their fears and perspectives for the future; the conversations were described as mutual, complementary exchanges. With acquaintances and colleagues, more diverse points of view tended to collide.
This shows that interpersonal communication is an important source for information on climate change – the respondents deepened their knowledge, e.g. with their partner, but also got in contact with different viewpoints than those presented in their own media use.