How do we think about climate futures ahead of us? Different actors tend to use different tools for that. The stream of weather catastrophes in the news media suggests a rather gloomy future. Some recent novels try to paint a more optimistic picture of the decades ahead (see our post on this).
International climate politics, for its part, has mainly based visions of the future on IPCC scenarios and model projections. For example, integrated assessment models (IAMs) played an important role in highlighting the feasibility of limiting global warming to 2 or even 1.5 degrees, and thereby led the way to the Paris Agreement. At the same time, this policy ambition came at the expense of modelling huge quantities of negative emission technologies, which again had a strong influence on the climate policy discourse.
Clearly, model-based climate futures are important for climate politics, but it is far from obvious what goes into them and based on which premises they are devised. Lisette van Beek tried to shine some light on fundamental questions about IAMs by teaming up with artists Ekaterina Volkova and Julien Thomas and writing an IAM manual.
There is a growing demand for public engagement with science. However, many scientists lack training and experience in this form of science communication. Find out more about how and why public engagement may benefit you and your research.
In his book ‘The Engaged Scholar – Expanding the Impact of Academic Research in Today’s World’ (2021, Stanford University Press), Andrew J. Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, challenges academics to answer this question: Why did you choose to become a researcher?
In recent years, a new wave of climate activist groups, such as Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future and the Sunrise Movement have reshaped public debates on climate action. In so doing they refer to scientific evidence. But, how exactly do they understand science’s relationship to society? Drawing on documentary evidence, our recent study argues that the use of evidence by these groups, especially the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reflects an effective form of science communication, albeit one that leaves hierarchies of scientific knowledge largely intact.
Die aktuelle Ausgabe der Zeitschrift Communicatio Socialis versammelt diverse interessante Beiträge zum Thema Nachhaltigkeitskommunikation. Das Plädoyer darin: Nachhaltigkeit geht alle an, und auch Journalismus und Wissenschaft können sich nicht länger auf einen distanzierten Beobachterstatus zurückziehen.
Die Zeitschrift ist leider nicht frei lesbar. Für alle, die keinen Zugang zum Journal haben, sind hier drei Beiträge verfügbar – siehe hinterlegte Links:
RCP-8.5 is not only the arguably most popular climate change scenario, it is also often framed in a very specific manner: as the business-as-usual trajectory that humanity is on if no climate change policies are adopted.
For an academic discipline that actively tries to be policy-relevant, climate science in the context of the IPCC is often weirdly inaccessible. An example of this is the rather cryptic naming of climate scenarios that form the backbone of IPCC reports and many climate modelling studies: names range from SSP1-1.9 to SSP5-8.5. A specific element of these mysterious scenarios – the so-called RCP-8.5 – has been the focus of a rather fierce academic debate.
The 6th IPCC Report of Working Group 3 was published just about two months ago, on April 4, and stated once more and in further detail the urgency to mitigate climate change. As known, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consists of politicians and scientist of the United Nation, grouped in three working groups focusing on different aspects of climate change. The third working group specializes in climate change mitigation and presents sources of global emissions as well as developments in emission reduction and mitigation efforts. Despite the great importance of the report’s findings, neither sufficient media coverage nor meaningful political reaction have yet materialized. Why is the gap between climate change’s urgency and action on it still so wide? Continue reading Why Don’t We Act Now? The discrepancy between climate change awareness and action
Still very much in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2021 saw climate change continue its fight for public attention. Although still not quite able to match 2019’s daily average tweet count of 1429, with an average of only 1237 daily tweets, 2021 did see the top 3 highest peak days yet.
Next year, in 2022, the IPCC will finalize its sixth assessment report. A report that is unarguably one of the most cited, far-reaching sources for trying to understand and argue policies that can mitigate the climate crisis and its impacts. It is exactly this type of imperative research that showcases the importance of transparent and reliable data. And just as much as countries need to be held accountable for providing accurate, up-to-date reporting on their CO2 emissions for policymaking, we need researchers and journalists worldwide to have access to this information as well.