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Telling the Truth, Uniting Behind the Science – Climate Coalitions and Science’s Place in Society

extinction rebellion activists protest with a pink boat in the city

by Simone Rödder

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.

“Unite behind the Science!” and “Tell the Truth!” are among the familiar slogans of the school-striking young activists inspired by Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion. The new climate movements’ call to listen to science has become almost emblematic; it was printed, for example, on the sailboat Greta Thunberg used to cross the Atlantic in September 2019. But what do they actually mean by “science”? Continue reading Telling the Truth, Uniting Behind the Science – Climate Coalitions and Science’s Place in Society

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Why Don’t We Act Now? The discrepancy between climate change awareness and action

By Marina Falke

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

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#ATOMS4CLIMATE: The Nuclear Lobby at COP26

by Christopher Pavenstädt 

An energy source that, at least from a German viewpoint, has had its days numbered for quite some time finds new life at climate conferences: nuclear energy.

Pro-nuclear ‘activists’ at COP26, photo source:

Not only countries that still count on nuclear energy like Japan and France covered the use of nuclear energy in their pavilions, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was also there to promote nuclear energy as the green energy source of the future. The nuclear interest groups and agencies were granted quite some space to advocate at COP26, despite them fearing exclusion from the conference beforehand. One could imagine that an agency like the IAEA, equipped with considerable access to economic and political networks would focus on direct lobbying efforts, and while they did this in previous years, they were beginning to think of a different strategy for this year. Continue reading #ATOMS4CLIMATE: The Nuclear Lobby at COP26

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Unseen Scenes From COP26: E-Racing Cars And Youthwashing Events

By Christopher Pavenstädt

COP has now become a Global North Greenwashing Festival”, summarized Greta Thunberg as she closed the rally of the Youth Climate Strike in Glasgow.

COP26, Glasgow, November 2021. Photo by Christopher Pavenstädt

Greta has come a long way. In 2018, COP24 elevated her voice onto the global consciousness. The young, then 15-year-old girl talking in an accusing, emotional tone, to the distant, very formal process of the COP. Now, she doesn’t need the plenary hall anymore. Here, she was outside, missing no opportunity to distance herself from the inside of COP. My personal view of COP26 comes from my week-long experience in Glasgow, observing the unseen scenes — those which did not catch the media audience’s eye. Continue reading Unseen Scenes From COP26: E-Racing Cars And Youthwashing Events

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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

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Klima vor 8 statt Börse vor 8

von Joana Kollert

Entwicklung des Klimas statt Entwicklung der Aktienkurse?       Quelle: Pixabay/NASA

Das Format “Börse vor 8” dürfte den Meisten bekannt sein – in meinem Fall handelt es sich hierbei um die fünf Minuten vor der Tagesschau, in denen ich mir etwas zu Naschen hole, bevor ich es mir auf dem Sofa bequem mache. So dürfte es vielen gehen; weniger als 6 Prozent der Deutschen besitzen direkte Aktien. Dennoch nutzen die öffentlich-rechtlichen Medien ihre beste Sendezeit, um über genau dieses Thema zu berichten.

Eine Petition von fordert jetzt, dass die öffentlich-rechtlichen Medien in den fünf Minuten vor der Tagesschau eine Sendung zu den Themen Umwelt-, Klimaschutz und Nachhaltigkeit ausstrahlen soll. Diese Themen betreffen uns alle und werden gesamtgesellschaftlich als eine der größten Herausforderungen der heutigen Zeit gesehen. Da die ARD ihrem Auftrag nach wirtschaftlich und politisch unabhängig und lediglich dem Gemeinwohl verpflichtet ist, sollte die Sendezeit dementsprechend mit lokalen Lösungsansätzen für eine nachhaltige Gesellschaft gefüllt werden, anstatt mit der Börse.

Der Petition wird auch auf Twitter mit dem Hashtag #klimavor8 eine Stimme verliehen.

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“The Kids Are All Right – Adults Are the Climate Change Problem” by Max Boykoff

Logo CSTPR Blog

There is an interesting new comment by Prof. Max Boykoff on our partner blog from the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research in Boulder, Colorado/USA. He describes how older adults try to diminish climate engagement promoted by young activists – and calls for more support: “Trust in this next generation of leaders”.

Read the comment here.

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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.

Continue reading Exxon vs The People

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Paris rises after attacks while some pacific islands are going under


Elisabeth Eide
Blog by Elisabeth Eide

The Paris climate protests on Sunday 30 November were largely silent. After the 13 November terror attacks and the state of emergency introduced by President Hollande, demonstrations are banned.

At Place de la République, where the monument is still surrounded by messages of grief and the scent of roses, activists gathered in the morning. Several thousand pairs of shoes were placed to draw attention to the ban on demonstrations. A few hours later, some people tried to march, but were stopped by a massive contingent of police who barred all the roads exiting the place.

Continue reading Paris rises after attacks while some pacific islands are going under