Posted on

Climate change: the basics | Basisfakten über den Klimawandel

by Ann-Kathrin Krutsch & Millie Peach

Our up-to-date collection of useful information sources in English and in German.

Climate change is a reality that we can no longer run from. It’s here and it’s happening now, threatening our food supplies, our infrastructure, our health, and the fabrics of our societies. The idea of tackling such a large-scale problem can seem overwhelming.

However, as diplomat Christiana Figueres said in 2015, “we can despair and plunge into paralysis, or we can become stubborn optimists with a fierce conviction that no matter how difficult, we must, and we can rise to the challenge.” Without a doubt, our best weapon in this fight against climate change is knowledge. Knowledge is free. It’s transmissible. It liberates us. Knowledge is power. Continue reading Climate change: the basics | Basisfakten über den Klimawandel

Posted on

2020 on Twitter – Was there a topic besides Covid19?

by Fenja De Silva-Schmidt

After the outstanding year 2019, attention for climate change on Twitter in the past year quickly dropped to the level from the years 2018 and before. The harsh decline directly coincides with the rising worldwide attention for the “new” Corona virus later named Covid19, which caused the global pandemic the world is still struggling with. This looks like a prime example for the “Crowding-Out Effect”: Environmental topics tend to be pushed out of media reporting and public attention in times of crisis (Djerf-Pierre 2012).

Nevertheless, climate change punctually received high attention on Twitter. In the first months of 2020, the topic was still as high on the agenda as in the end of 2019, with natural and political events triggering peaks of attention.

graph showing daily number of tweets concerning climate change in 2020

*The Online Media Monitor on Climate Change Coverage (short form: OMM) collects tweets related to climate change if they contain at least one of the search strings #climatechange OR “climate change” OR “global warming” OR Klimawandel and receives at least 5 retweets. Read the OMM Guide to get more details about the methods and take a look at the error log file to get information about server problems. Continue reading 2020 on Twitter – Was there a topic besides Covid19?

Posted on

Negative emissions – a key assumption in limiting temperature rise

by Ella Karnik Hinks

The application of “negative emissions” technology has been widely used by the IPCC and incorporated into models which predict the most modest estimates of limiting the global temperature rise to 2 degrees [2]. Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Storage, commonly known under the acronym BECCS, is one such technology. In principle, it works by using biomass as an energy source, and then capturing and storing the carbon dioxide release associated with this process.

Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Storage infographic
Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Storage – infographic by Ella Karnik Hinks

Using bioenergy as a fuel is not a new concept – for example burning wood or waste agricultural products, such as sugar cane. So far so good.

However, “negative” emissions are only achieved if the amount of carbon dioxide subsequently stored is greater than is emitted during the biomass production, transportation and utilisation [1]. Theoretically, CO2 can be stored by pumping it underground into geological formations. Yet there remains, in practice, a big “if”, when looking at the current existing facilities of carbon capture and storage – the two processes (of BE and CCS) currently only operate in one commercial plant in the United States [3].

Fundamentally, the issue with the inclusion of such technologies into IPCC models is two-fold: Continue reading Negative emissions – a key assumption in limiting temperature rise

Posted on

2019 on Twitter: Climate activism awakening

by Hadas Emma Kedar and Fenja De Silva-Schmidt

Shortly before 2020 is over, we will have a look back at 2019 to map the climate change debate as reflected transnationally on Twitter. Compared with the two years prior, 2019 showed a particular abundance of climate-related tweets: While the total tweets count of 2018 grew by 8% from 2017, the total count of 2019 grew by 70%. Then what triggered the climate discourse so much on Twitter that year? Continue reading 2019 on Twitter: Climate activism awakening

Posted on

What is a Climate Model?

by Felix Schaumann

Last August, our blogger Shorouk Elkobros explained what a climate model is in this video. One year later, climate models are still an essential tool for understanding global warming. In order to remind us how climate models work, Felix Schaumann has put together his own explanatory video.

Continue reading What is a Climate Model?

Posted on

Why we need airtravel for an accurate weather forecast

by Joana Kollert

Flying is bad for the climate – this is an uncontested fact. However, air traffic is necessary for weather forecasts, as airplanes send live data to weather stations. COVID-19 has caused a massive decline in air travel, hereby affecting the quality of weather forecasts.

Density of meteorological airplane data from AMDAR on 23 March 2020 (Stewart Taylor, EUMETNET)
Density of meteorological airplane data from AMDAR on 2 March 2020 (Stewart Taylor, EUMETNET)

Continue reading Why we need airtravel for an accurate weather forecast

Posted on

Let’s focus on the short-term benefits of long-term climate protection!

by Michael Brüggemann

A new study by Samset et al. (2020) in Nature Communcations finds that even under strong and sustained mitigation efforts, it will take the climate system until mid-century to demonstrate a discernible cooling response. Unfortunately, we must accept and live with the frustrating fact that the global climate system is a rather gigantic tanker ship that will change its course only several decades after humanity has decided to pull the emissions steering wheel into another direction. Yet, we should also think about what may motivate immediate action to reduce the risk of climate collapse in the far future. Rather than only fixating on the nebulous, future benefits of present-day climate protection, I would suggest that communicators should focus on highlighting positive short-term side effects of climate protection measures.

Source: Pixabay

Continue reading Let’s focus on the short-term benefits of long-term climate protection!

Posted on

Public opinion at a tipping point – Germany’s path to engaging with climate protection

As a follow-up on our Nature Climate Change study (Brüggemann et al. 2017) called “The appeasement effect of a United Nations climate summit on the German public”, we have now published a working paper tracing changes in public attitudes and behavioral intentions over a longer period of time.

The paper compares data from our 2015, 2018 and 2019 Down to Earth surveys while also linking changes in public opinion to the media coverage on climate change.

Comparing media attention, climate-friendly behaviour, and behavioural intentions

Continue reading Public opinion at a tipping point – Germany’s path to engaging with climate protection

Posted on

Sustainable Lives: stage 2, here we go!

Besides having successfully finished the pilot studies and having initiated the working paper series, the project “Sustainable Lives” has also acquired new funding for the next two years.

Our interdisciplinary work will continue in form of a working group at the Center for Sustainable Society Research (see our project website here). Continue reading Sustainable Lives: stage 2, here we go!

Posted on

Sustainable Lives: Preliminary findings from the first project stage

Frühstück Essen

Since the “Food project” has now brought its first stage to a close, it is time to present some preliminary findings.

With the funding provided by KNU, we have conducted a thorough interdisciplinary literature review and several pilot studies: a representative survey in sociology, experiments in economics, a qualitative and an automated content analysis in journalism studies, an analysis of social media content in communication studies, a metaphor analysis in linguistics, and narrative interviews in geography.

Continue reading Sustainable Lives: Preliminary findings from the first project stage