Paris Climate Summit-Media Summary- Chinese Media Coverage

Post by Zi Zhang

Zi is a Chinese journalist currently working towards her master’s in journalism and globalisation in Hamburg. 


On 11 December, CCTV posted 2 stories relating to the conference. One story titled ‘China denies rejection by ambition coalition at climate change conference’ emphasized China’s efforts on fighting against climate change by covering Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying’s speech at the climate change conference. The other one focused on US-China relations, titled ‘Chinese, U.S. presidents exchange views on climate conference, bilateral ties over phone’. This piece stressed the successful communication between China and the U.S. over climate change issues and called for strengthening coordination to reach agreement.

Screenshot from CCTV website

China Daily

Compared to other mainstream media outlets, China Daily posted many more news stories about climate change. There were 18 articles related to Paris talks published on China Daily main site and China Daily USA, China Daily Europe.  Nevertheless, they all focus on China’s positive attitude towards coming up with effective global solutions to climate change.  In addition, most articles talked about US-China relations, pointing out that conflict should be avoided for the interests of the two countries and international community. Overall, all stories try to promote China’s positive image and emphasis China’s ‘encouraging progress’.

People’s Daily

Since CCTV, China Daily and People’s Daily are all state-run media, they often publish the same or very similar articles.  Four news stories published on 11 December are also published on China Daily.

Other main media outlets in Chinese language mainly report the fact that the Paris climate conference was extended by one day.  Besides that, China being excluded from the high ambition coalition was a topic many of the articles focused on.

Civil Society Actors in the #Climatechange Debate

Blog by Stefanie Walter

During the past two weeks of the UN summit, we have read about the problems that civil society actors have faced in making their voices heard.

Following on from the November 13 Paris terror attacks protests and other public events were banned in the city. Under these circumstances, social media represent a means through which civil society organisations can stand up for what they believe in and receive public attention.

In this blog post, I want to take a look at the climate change debate taking place on twitter, and the actors participating in it. During the conference, I have collected tweets using Google Tags based on the hashtag #climatechange. The following preliminary analyses are based on tweets collected between 30th of November and 8th of December 2015.

The ten most active twitter users in the sample were: MercianRockyRex, BLUEdotRegister, ClimateWise2015, Denovo777, PlantsLoveCO2, NiliMajumder, ArBolivia1, neils_rt, EcoFashion2015, CircularEco. Among the most active users, the traditional big NGOs are not to be found. They nevertheless play an important role, when it comes to online conversations, i.e. being directly addressed, mentioned, and re-tweeted by other users. For the visual analyses below, I have taken a random sample of 10,000 tweets.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 1 visualises the actor network of the #climatechange debate, highlighting the most central actors in the network. As can be seen, civil society actors have indeed been very central in the online climate change debate. Among the most central actors are UNICEF, Greenpeace, and the World Economic Forum. But it also evident there are many isolated users expressing themselves without engaging into discussions with any of the central actors.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 2 shows the most popular hashtags used by the users in the network above. Of course, since the data was collected based on the #climatechange, it is the predominant hashtag. Yet, hashtags calling for action, such as #climateaction, #actionday, and #climatemarch also play an important role in the debate.

Of course, it remains to be seen to what extent the social media activity of civil society actors has an impact on the outcome of the UN summit. However, during these last days of the conference, it has been civil society organisations, voicing the view, that the current options are insufficient.

As of last night Paris time, a deal was struck by nearly all nations represented at COP21 to limit warming to under 2C from preindustrial levels.

Paris Climate Summit – Media Coverage – 11.12.15 – Spain and Portugal

Post by Júlia Mandil

As the COP 21 comes to an end, the main focus of the coverage of Spanish and Portuguese newspapers on Friday (Dec 11) was the announcement that the release of the final agreement had been postponed.

Prominent newspapers from each country El País, El Mundo (Spain) and Público (Portugal) had correspondents at the Summit, while others used texts from news agencies.

The coverage of the developments of the agreement did not differ greatly from one newspaper to another. However, outlets did provide different perspectives on the discussion of climate change in general:

Screenshot from Spanish newspaper El Pais

In Spain, El Pais had an exclusive section of its online edition dedicated to the coverage of the Climate Conference, while El Mundo featured articles under a tag “Climate Change”. Both outlets portrayed headlines highlighting the pressure for a final draft of the agreement to be achieved soon, as well as more analytical and opinion articles about climate change.

El Mundo shared stories raising the opinion of experts and journalists specialized in the field, while El País gave space to people and organizations to write stories on the matter. An example is a piece published by the UN Development Program focusing on Latin America and the challenges posed by climate change.

ABC (Spanish version) focuses primarily on the agreement that is about to be released. A characteristic that could be identified in ABC’s coverage is a prominent European perspective. This can be seen in articles relating to European standards of carbon emissions and interview with EU Commissioner for climate action on the expectations for the final agreement.

20 minutos (Spain) also portrays the climate conference as a special section of its online version. The newspaper does not have analytical or opinion articles, focusing mainly on the events happening in Paris, both inside the meeting rooms and outside, for example it published stories on protests taking place in front of the Conference’s building. A distinctive factor in regard to Spanish coverage is that both outlets featured stories with scientists and experts point of view in relation to the agreement, also adopting a more critical view of the goals established by the document.


In Portugal, daily coverage of the Conference can be found in newspapers Público and Diário de Notícias. Público had an editorial questioning the goals set by the countries, and Diário de Notícias published an article where scientists defining as “inconsistent” the first draft of the agreement stating that it does not establish proper goals that would be able to tackle climate change.

Lost on the Road to Paris? The Framing of a 2 degree warming limit 2009-2014

Markus Rhomberg
Blog by Prof. Markus Rhomberg

As the climate negotiations in Paris near their final rounds, some might be surprised by rather contradictory developments, which relate to the much discussed 2 degree threshold.

This limit aims to keep warming within 2°C of the pre-industrial average.While the emissions reduction pledges put forward by the countries ahead of COP 21 in Paris were not sufficiently ambitious to keep within this limit, in the final phase of the negotiations many countries wish for an even lower limit: below 1.5 degrees.

This comes at a time when two separate new studies in Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change challenge the 2 degree threshold. Reto Knutti (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) and his colleagues argue, that “no scientific assessment has clearly justified or defended the 2 degree target as a safe level of warming, and indeed, this is not a problem that science alone can address.” The authors have in fact said, that 2 degrees was a “value judgement”.
Credit: Mark Dixon CC

The term value judgement indicates that the scientific evidence is not the only factor at play when deciding a warming limit. With this in mind, it might be interesting to look at some findings of a recent study conducted by our Centre for Political Communication at Zeppelin University on the Framing of 2 degree in German Media during and after the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 until 2014 .

Expectations to reach a global 2 degree agreement were very high in the run-up to Copenhagen. That made perceived failure of this summit even higher.

With a content analysis of the coverage of 10 German news outlets from 2009 until 2014, we detected almost a third of all 1189 articles were published during the 2009 Copenhagen summit. After this peak, coverage steadily declines, except for some small peaks during the following summits. After Copenhagen these conferences are no longer seen as effective instruments to deal with 2 degree limit. We also could detect that the original positive assessment of 2 degrees in the media vanishes. Negative ratings are stable, but indifference and climate fatigué spread.  Politicians backed away from the 2 degree debate after the failure of Copenhagen. German political factions in the Bundestag rarely speak about the issue. A real German debate is missing, except for some advances by the Federal Ministry of Environment and the German Chancellor.
Many nations have pushed for 1.5 degree warming limit. Credit: Mark Dixon CC

By looking at the framing of the debate we could spot that 2 degree is primarily interpreted as an issue of achievability. Other prominent frames deal with the definition of the 2 degree limit and climate diplomacy. Achievability is defined by measures to achieve, by the possibility to achieve and by the necessity to achieve. It is also being used most frequently over the time and is combined with the demand that in order to stay within the limit emission reductions are needed. The achievability frame is being used most frequently over the time and rises when the coverage on 2 degree increases. There’s also no hierarchical change within the frame usage over the time; both politicians and scientists address the achievability. While politicians refer to the issue, its necessity and the measures that must been taken, scientists assess the possibility and evaluate it is as hardly achievable given the current policies we have in place.

Keeping these results in mind, it is quite remarkable, that some politicians came up with a goal that is even more ambitious. We are very interested to see not only the results from Paris but also from the findings of our Framing study on the coverage of the Paris summit.

Note: I’d like to thank my colleague Jonas Kaiser with whom I conducted this study.

Momentum for carbon pricing is growing (and the private sector is fueling it)

Blog by Cristina Belda Font

Cristina is a Spanish journalist working towards her master’s in journalism and globalisation at City University, London. You can follow her twitter on: @belda_font

From the beginning of the Paris Climate Summit, the world has expected a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. Carbon pricing is seen as part of the solution.

Carbon pricing is the cost applied to carbon pollution to encourage polluters to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas they emit into the atmosphere. While no global carbon pricing policy has yet been broadly agreed to, the private sector is doing their homework. The scene has so far been dominated by negotiations about government commitments to reduce their carbon emissions. But there are other actors that are seeking to play a bigger role in the green economy transition: multinationals.

Business, the game changers

Countries and companies are more and more aware of the fact that polluting is not (or it should not be) free. The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition at COP1 is evidence of that. In fact, according to the World Bank, around 40 national jurisdictions and over 20 cities, states and regions, have adopted carbon prices, covering about 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These carbon prices, which come mostly as taxes, have increased three-fold over the past decade. Now, even crucial actors like China are expected to launch a national carbon market within four years.

In this context, even it is yet unclear whether an agreement in a global carbon pricing will be agreed upon soon, preparations are already underway in several companies. What’s more, corporations are incentivizing action on carbon reductions. Last June, six leading oil and gas companies called energetically for a framework that encourages global carbon pricing, saying this would be the most effective way of cutting the emission of greenhouse gases.

From Creative Commons:
Credit: Nubrig

Additionally, the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change, signed by more than 360 investors with more than $24 trillion in assets, also included a call for “stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing.”

The Carbon Disclosure Project, a not-for-profit organization that works with 822 institutional investors with assets of US$95 trillion, has been witnessing this trend for years. According to Kate Levick, director of policy and regulation, “An agreement in Paris which sets out a long term decarbonisation goal will inevitably lead to a greater interest in carbon pricing”.  For her, the willingness is already there.

“Expectations of disclosure and transparency for companies have been growing steadily for more than a decade. This accountability and ability to measure/manage is one of the underlying trends which has led to the real paradigm shift – that we now see a tipping point of companies prepared to take ambitious action on climate change in preparation for the transition to a 2 degree world”.

The 2015 report on carbon pricing from CDP, showed that 437 companies reporting using internal carbon pricing to gauge their risks and costs. The number increased from 150 companies in 2014.  Moreover, 638 companies report that they recognize that carbon regulation presents business opportunities.

The internal carbon price is voluntary but is used mostly as a financial planning tool. They can range from $20 per ton in the US to $150 per ton in Sweden. In some cases corporations use a much higher price than the one they currently have to pay in places with a government-mandated carbon pricing scheme, such as the EU’s emissions trading system, the world’s largest carbon market.

The benefits of environmental responsibility

There is no secret that more and more CEOs are buying the idea that pro-active disclosure of impacts and steps to address them would raise the recognition and stature of companies in the eyes of consumers, governments and shareholders. As the Huffington Post article Carbon Pricing and Investor Momentum: Game Changing Convergence and a New International Financial Language recalled “as investors become more attuned to minimizing environmental risks, and put together more environmentally favourable portfolios and funds, carbon pricing will concomitantly become a new factor to help decision-making”.

Mohan Kumar, lead researcher of Price Carbon Now!, a Canadian organization said: “Being socially responsible would lead to cost savings, innovation, brand differentiation, and customer and employee engagement”.  Also, it’s estimated that, on average, companies that voluntarily report their carbon emissions can save $1.5 million every year in interest repayments. In contrast, non-disclosure may result in penalties, loss of revenue and a tarnished reputation.

Companies generally tackle climate change in three ways: firstly, make emission reductions. Secondly, publicly disclose emissions reduction targets and finally invest in emissions reduction projects with positive returns. As Kumar remarks, many industries have already supported and/or adopted a shadow carbon price, which is the voluntary use of a notional market price for carbon in internal corporate financial analysis and decision-making processes.

Others are calling for system of tradeable permits, known as cap and trade, this has had echos in Paris.

There is still a long way to progres in this field but the experts agree that the next step is governments providing a clear, stable, and long-term policy framework to encourage companies to keep reducing carbon emissions.

Exxon vs The People

Adrienne Russell (below left) and Risto Kunelius (below right) are part of the MediaClimate research team studying coverage of UN climate summits. Risto is a professor at University of Tampere, Finland and Adrienne is an associate professor at University of Denver.

Adrienne Russell






On Saturday in Montreuil, the site of the “alternative village” set up at COP21, Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein took ExxonMobil to court at what they called “The People’s Climate Summit.” It was a mock trial that was also a significant public event.


The “trial” was organized by climate change activist organization in a community center and occasional concert hall packed with a crowd of few hundred. For two hours, witnesses from around the world testified to the havoc already wrought by carbon-based energy economies dominated by Exxon and other fossil fuel companies. They spoke of the deleterious effects on the climate that oil and gas produce and the great success such companies have enjoyed in pushing climate-change-denial science.

The trial was based on recent blockbuster news reports that internal research conducted by Exxon scientists decades ago confirmed the role played by fossil fuels in speeding up global warming.

The mock trial with Naomi Klein

Witnesses at the trial gave moving testimony, and prosecutors Klein and McKibben introduced a raft of evidence to make their case. They weaved together arguments about the ways climate change is impacting communities around the world, how it is linked to terrorism and mass migration, and the ways corporate disinformation campaigns and political corruption have exacerbated those effects and future threats.

As has been widely reported, climate activists are not being permitted to march or assemble in large numbers in a Paris still reeling from last month’s terror attacks. Even attempts to speak out against green washing have not ended well. It’s through media events like the trial — events that levy serious messages with formal irony — that the messages of activists are reaching leaders in the exclusive “blue zone” of the summits and concerned publics around the world. Similar seriousness and irony fueled the spectacle of the shoes that did not march at the Place de la Republique as well as the “ad-busting” displays that have appeared strategically around the city.

Many activists have told me that it’s hard not to see the security measures as a muzzle on free speech and as a dam blocking the flow of data and analysis we’ve become accustomed to in the networked information age. French government efforts to ban public wifi and the use of tools that ensure online privacy suggest that encroachments on civility liberties in France may yet intensify.

Follow the story on Twitter #ExxonKnew.

Risto Kunelius and Adrienne Russell are part of the MediaClimate research team ( studying coverage of UN climate summits. Risto is a professor at University of Tampere, Finland and Adrienne is an associate professor at University of Denver.

A climate of change in media coverage?

luedecke, gesa
Blog by Dr. Gesa Luedecke

My twitter account has slowed down during the second week of COP21. Was it because no one had new stories to tell from Paris? Did my contacts all leave the conference? If so, with what feelings?

As person that hasn’t been to the summit and therefore was unable to directly pick up the notion of the conference, I am going to write down my thoughts gathered from reading the news coverage and features during COP21. I have been overwhelmed with all the information coming from Le Bourget, through seemingly endless media channels – news, features, background stories, blogs, tweets and so on.

At this conference, the pressure on countries to act has increased. This time the media convey more than ever, that climate change is an issue and Paris an opportunity that requires more attention than in the past years. Almost a decade ago, I did an internship at the German Greenpeace headquarter. At the time some colleagues had started working on a climate refugee report, which back then, sounded like science fiction to me.
Photo from the streets surrounding COP21 in Paris. Credit: Mark Dixon

Unfortunately our world has changed a lot and we are now facing multiple major crises: climate change, refugee and terrorism intertwining into a perfect storm. For the first time at a COP, all countries seem to be ready to have a conversation about how to shape the future’s energy production and consumption.

Rather than relying on national leaders however, civic engagement appears to be providing the more promising momentum among all international efforts to reach binding pledges below the 2 degrees Celsius warming limit. Earlier last week on this media watch blog, Professor Hans von Storch wrote, “Six years after Copenhagen we continue on our high-speed train into the abyss.” I like this metaphor but have to add, if it only was a train and not an SUV running on fossil fuel, we would definitively be moving closer towards our climate pledges.

A lot has been written about media coverage of climate change during the conference on this blog and elsewhere in countless forums, tweets and opinion pages. I read some personal experiences from COP21 attendees that brought tears to my eyes because the way those people wrote about the urgency of what is at stake with climate change, how it will affect us, and in which way we as individuals have to start changing our behaviors toward more sustainable energy consumption really touched my heart.

Looking at the counts of our Media and Climate Change Obsevatory (MeCCO) project here at University of Colorado Boulder, we can clearly see that the attention for climate change has gone up and down over time but never came to a halt.

Some of the biggest events connected with climate change (such as the Stern report and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in 2006/2007, the COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, the US-China agreement on climate change in 2014, etc.) show the largest spikes in coverage. We will be excited to see if the spike will be continuing throughout the month of December (our next update will be in early January 2016). MeCCO and other climate change communication observatories are a good start to monitor how much we actually communicate about the biggest challenge of our time. However, this only tells us the amount of media coverage of climate change, but not how or if media pursue a certain goal in their communication in terms of meaningful communication that speaks to people’s values. This is something I would be really excited about to systematically investigate in the future.


All of us that professionally deal with climate change on a daily basis (as scientist, politician, representative of civil society, etc.) cannot imagine the difficulty for laypeople to start with the big picture of climate change and zoom in to see how they can translate this knowledge into action. I have been researching psychological motivations behind individual climate engagement connected with media use for quite a while now. What I learned is that we need to see more than just information in the message (even though we all know about the text between the lines, we haven’t internalized this knowledge enough). It’s highly important that aspects such as emotions, rational arguments, social norms and directives for engagement are bought into media coverage. The latter two are especially important as aspects that influence our opinion-forming and decision-making.

This is why we need communication that is meaningful to people through accessible, emotional, reliable, informative, inspiring, creative and individually sense-making coverage. We therefore need to focus more closely on qualitative analyses of media communication of climate change to learn how information can make a difference on every level.

Bridging the gap: Under-representation and communication between groups at COP21

Blog by Rebecca Froese

I’ve never considered myself a radical youth, a hard-core feminist or any other kind of fundamental advocate. However, being at COP in Paris, I recognized power dynamics that I had for a long time considered things of the past.

I recognized people struggling with antiquated roles that are not visible or formulated but resonated everywhere. I saw women, youth and people from developing countries being marginalized (perhaps inadvertently) by the black-and white masses of the “middle-aged-white-men wearing black”. I am sorry to dig out stereotypes, and my expressions might be a little exaggerated, but my point is, at COP, not all voices are equally heard and considered. Let me describe some of my observations that brought me to these conclusions:

A group holds signs at COP21. Credit: ZME Science.

Walking around the venue – on the surface there seemed to be both men and women and a diversity of races, cultures and ages represented. However, at the side events (speeches, presentations and panels) the uniformity in gender, age and cultural context among speakers was remarkable. Just for fun, at some of the side events I started taking statistics on the speakers’ diversity. The result were as surprising as they were alarming. Bearing in mind the importance of diverse people from around the world having their unique voices and perspectives heard on climate change, the effect is has on communities and possible actions that could be taken, the lack of representation for many minority groups was very concerning.  From all the panels I attended; of the usual seven to eight speakers on a typical panel, the most diversity I observed were two women and two non “white” people (oh, how I hate this categorization).

Sometimes, these seemingly quota-filling  individuals were merged into one person. When it came to youth – the seeming lack of representation was even more serious. While I didn’t ask everyone their age, from what I saw, I believe not a single speaker was under 40. The only exceptions to these statistics that I observed were the side events about:

  • “Gender issues”: going to the other extreme, having very few men on the panel
  • “Young innovators”: having a good mixture of youth and middle-aged men. Yes only men – which made it again, very one-sided
  • “Africa Day”: Had only non-white people on the panel and fitting into the statistic of having two women from seven panelists
  • “Human rights”: Had the best gender balance of any panel I saw with four women (with two none-white people among them) and three men

It seems to me, that everyone is doing his or her own thing, trying to rebel against existing preconceptions and always accusing “the other side”. Women ally with women to “fight” the male “predominance.” Why they should ally with men to address the issue seriously? Youth ally themselves with youth at special youth events or in activists groups celebrating their creative and innovative ideas. Why should they speak up in the official meetings? You get the idea..

Please don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with forming alliances with people that share the same thoughts and opinions as you- but the actions move in the wrong direction when the alliances start to form blocks instead of broad coalitions. Without communicating these limitations (which is what this blog entry tries to do), a dialogue between the different positions cannot be facilitated and instead front lines harden further.

The conflict arising through the under-representation of women, youth, indigenous people and others further continues. It is not only about having faces be seen, but about having voices be heard. Voices, that do not accuse, blame or beg, but voices that tell the truth in an understandable and just way. When facing under-representation and marginalization, I have the feeling that these voices (with women being by far the largest minority in society, you know) feel the need to team up – which is good in the first place. However, in the way these groups communicate, they expose themselves to a situation of weakness and inability which is not needed. They feel the need to fight against prejudices and preconceptions that they assume exist in their audiences’ heads. Let me give you some examples to illustrate what I mean:

  • Each and every speaker at the “Africa Day” emphasized at least two times that they “are not here to beg” – assuming that everybody was expecting developing countries to be begging in Paris
  • The youth speakers emphasized their need for more and better education, especially in situations like this – assuming that youth do not have any chance of making their point facing the high-level experiences of the older people
  • Women speaking up and reinforcing the work and the efforts of many other women – assuming that the women’s good work will otherwise not be recognized

We should be far beyond the point of having to justify what we do and why we do it. These issues have been recognized for a long time in the Declaration of Human Rights.

What is missing now is the implementation of these points in a way so no one feels underrepresented, marginalized and consequently feels the need to justify themselves. Establishing an equal and just way of communicating our thoughts and opinions, in an environment that enables a fair dialogue would relax communication and allow us to focus on the things that are actually important: like including human rights issues into the Paris agreement.

Paris Climate Summit – Media Summary – 9.12.15 – Canadian Coverage

Summary by Feilidh O’Dwyer

Three publications’ coverage relating to COP212 were examined from yesterday: CBC, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail.


On the main page of Canada’s national public broadcaster’s website, several climate stories featured prominently. One article wrote hopefully of an impending climate deal as the conference draws to a close. Some of the apparent 10-15 sticking points on such a deal are:

  • Whether a fund should be established to help compensate low-lying countries for loss and damage related to climate change.
  • What temperature should be included as the maximum warming the world should reach: 1.5 C or 2 C or somewhere in between.
  • How to review and improve national goals for reducing emissions in the future.

An analytic piece on the site writes of the “heroes and villains of the summit.”

Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia was as one of the countries seen as obstructing a broad climate agreement. The article states Saudi have actively pushed against any mention in the deal of a more ambitious 1.5 Celsius limit to the rise in global average temperatures. There are still 10 countries in the world, including North Korea, Syria and Venuezuela who have declared no emissions reduction target.

Screenshot from CBC website featuring Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna

The Toronto Star:

The online edition of The Star featured four stories relating to climate yesterday.

In one story Canadian comedian Scott Vrooman was shown in a video Q & A about how to make a climate pact that matters. Vrooman makes some great points, such as how signing onto Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement could undermine commitments made to reducing carbon limits, as it allows corporations to sue governments if new environmentally laws cost them money. He also criticises the revolving door hiring policies of Canadian governments, where former oil executives are appointment to high level positions.

Another story summarised the climate negotiations to date. It included that:

Canada and New Zealand had been criticised by environmental groups for backing a U.S. request to have language in the agreement that protected rich countries from having to compensate those that can’t adapt, such as island nations that end up completely submerged under water from rising sea levels.

The Globe and Mail

9 stories were in Globe and Mail’s online edition yesterday.

The G & M also wrote about island nations who may seek compensation from richer nations, should they be submerged due to man-made global warming.

Another article from the conference wrote about how rich nations were being upstaged by small developing countries. Norway was given a “fossil of the day” award by environmental groups for its alleged blocking manoeuvres in drafting a global agreement to send carbon dioxide emissions plummeting. The article quotes Leehi Yona, a senior fellow at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College who is studying renewable energy.

The standouts in the climate fights from different continents were Morocco in Africa, Portugal in Europe, and in South America, the star is little Uruguay.

“These countries are definitely a sign that renewable energy is well on its way,” he said.

A change in mind (Photo journalism project as a support for #EarthToParis)

Blog by Anne Schmitz

“How can contemporary image makers promote new thinking and make a difference in the world?” (Fred Ritchin, Bending the frame)

Since the first day in my photo journalism class, taught by Sarah Schorr at Aarhus University, Ritchin’s quote has not lost its grip on me. How can a single photo in today’s digital media flow, still contribute towards making a change? How can one create meaningful content through a photo project?

Questions, which constantly floated in my head. Thoughts permanently popped up and disappeared again.

As the United Nations climate conference in Paris came closer, and the related viral campaign #EarthToParis grew, the idea arose in class to contribute with a photo project which would raise awareness of climate issues. The results of the conference will set the course for our future and how we are going to live life on earth for the coming decades, but COP21 leaders don’t pull the strings with their hands alone. My hope is, that everyone can play their part and that even a single photo can become a catalyst for a shift in people’s mentality.

“Your favorite spot, your earth to Paris”

The final aim of my project was to make people think about their individual connection to the environment, as well as their personal association to the transience of nature. Therefore, I called for a blended picture, which combines a favorite spot or a momentous landscape with a self-portrait. Two elements of the planet – humans and nature – melted together to form a photograph in the style of a “double exposure”.

After spreading the word through an international network, the photo collection now consists of more than 40 pictures from 15 different countries, including landscapes from Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Denmark, France, Iran, Norway and Sweden. People from various nations participated with individual motives, but a united message: They don’t want to lose their favorite spots on earth.

The selection shown here, presents the variety of natural elements and their irreplaceable value, literally seen through the eyes of the participants. They all give us insight into their individual perception of nature, as well as shedding light onto what might inspire others to sharpen their view and turn their gaze to Paris.

1_Emily Huse (23), USA - spot Sweden
1. “I chose that photo because I still remember walking to class that day in Sweden and being so amazed at the natural presence of the snails in the early morning, and remembering that we truly do share the earth with so many other creatures. So if we aren’t saving it for ourselves, how about for the snails?” Emily Huse (23), USA – spot: Sweden
2_Mathieu Bonnaric (23), France - spot France
2. “This landscape is one of my first photographs with my dear camera. It was taken from my childhood bedroom in France. Every year when I go back I am disappointed that this ‘ocean of forest’ disappears to reveal more houses and even factories now. This landscape in the sunset represents many things for me, both the disappearance of the environment I grew up with and my childhood memories that are captured forever.” Mathieu Bonnaric (23), France – spot: France
3_Anais Amirifar-Bertschi (23) FranceIran - spot Iran
3. “This picture was taken in Gorgan, Iran while I was traveling there to discover my country. For me it shows the beauty of nature in my home country, which is too often forgotten. When I was on the top of the hill looking at the breath taking landscape I realized how wide the earth is and how small we are. This perfectly shaped desert created by time as well as the rest of the earth is in danger. We have the duty to protect our earth and limit climate changes in order to preserve these unique landscapes for future generations.”Anais Amirifar-Bertschi (23), France/Iran – spot: Iran
4_Biljana Nikolina Celebija (23), Denmark - spot Denmark
4. “My picture is taken in the aftermath of a storm on the Danish west coast. I’d been bugging my family for hours to go outside with me, because I wanted to experience the storm, stand on the dunes and be literally blown away. For me it is ultimate freedom to feel nature in its extreme. With recent weather changes, we see that the shores in Denmark are being slowly eroded by the strong water. People are losing their homes, which are being washed away as the water slowly comes closer. I visited this place again in November – it was completely changed, and the path where we walked before, was now gone.” Biljana Nikolina Celebija (23), Denmark – spot: Denmark
5_Ann-Carolin Obitz (25), Germany - spot Canada
5. „Looking at the sky – the window to nature in a city – I often think about places like this in Nelson (Canada) that make me happy and show me the beauty of nature and the things that are really important. Instead of stones in forms of houses, stone in their natural surroundings.” Ann-Carolin Obitz (25), Germany – spot: Canada
6_Claire Endberg-Bouteille (22), France - spot Bolivia
6. “This picture was taken in the Salt Flat in Uyuni Desert (Bolivia) – an incredible scenery: Silence and a white horizon, that’s all. At this place, you can really see that the earth is a giant globe, that makes you realize how small you are and that you have a great responsibility for this planet. I would like this place to remain the same, as pure as it is now, and this can only happen if we all make some efforts to combat climate changes.” Claire Endberg-Bouteille (22), France – spot: Bolivia
7_Pierre Blaudeau (23), France - spot Norway
7. “’Oxygen and freedom. Finally!’ My own thoughts when we arrived on the top of this mountain. I took this landscape picture on a holiday, that might be the best adventure I have experienced so far – Lapland. Hundreds of kilometers with pure snow, a stunning white desert, coldness full of life, true silence, wild nature at its deepest meaning. Oxygen and freedom. What a paradox, leaving into the remotest corners of the world, running away from our polluted and oppressive society, in order to rediscover the natural senses our earth provides us since the dawn of time.” Pierre Blaudeau (23), France – spot: Norway
8_Lena Schabernack (22), Austria - spot Austria
8. “After a long and exhausting hiking tour we arrived at our destination, the Laserzsee in East Tyrol. The view on this beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by the mountains took my breath away. We should protect such wonderful places and be environmentally aware, because I want that next generations to also have the possibility to enjoy such stunning moments I experienced in the Alps.” Lena Schabernack (22), Austria – spot: Austria
9_Anne Scherrebeck (26) Denmark - spot Denmark
9. “My landscape is taken in the woods of Marselis (Denmark). I have chosen a photo of myself where I am painted according to a Greenlandic myth about the ‘qivitoq’ – a person abandoned by society who seeks the wildness and gains the power of nature. I liked the idea of merging a picture of real nature with a picture of myself painted as a person gaining the power of nature.” Anne Scherrebeck (26), Denmark – spot: Denmark
10_Maria Einfeldt (28), Germany - spot France
10. “The Frioul-Islands of Marseille in its tranquility and beauty. For me a symbol that combines the splendor and beauty of the nature and at the same time a warning, that humans are capable to threaten these places by their behaviour.” Maria Einfeldt (28), German – spot: France