When did you talk about climate change the last time? And when did you do so with family and friends? Results from our surveys show that on the one hand, the amount of people talking about climate change in their daily lives is rising steadily (see Guenther et al. 2020, in German), but on the other hand, a significant share of people never touch the topic in their conversations. For many, it is a somewhat awkward topic, leading to conversations about guilt and depressing visions for our future.
Rising share of conversations about climate change in daily life, source: Down to Earth data 2015/2019.
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.
„Ich bin gewissermaßen gescheitert in der Klimakommunikation“. Mit diesem schwerwiegenden Eingeständnis eröffnete Mojib Latif, Klimaforscher und Vorsitzender des Deutschen Klima-Konsortiums, den Pressebrunch am zweiten Tag des K3 Kongresses zu Klimawandel, Kommunikation und Gesellschaft. Neben Latif standen noch drei weitere ExpertInnen den anwesenden JournalistInnen Rede und Antwort.
Recently I chatted to my neighbor and we happened to stumble upon the topic of climate change. He told me: “I don’t think the earth is really heating up, big changes don’t happen so fast. This so-called warming effect is physically not plausible, even many scientists say so – I learnt about that when I followed the climate conference on YouTube.” I was surprised about many aspects of this statement Continue reading How misinformation persuaded my neighbor, and why I chose not to “educate” him
Today, I went to the streets with my ten-year-old son. It was his first protest march, and my second. We went with his elementary school class, loudly shouting: “don’t steal our future!” And while German politicians claim that they understand the children’s concerns, they also claim, more or less implicitly, that the children do not really get the complexities of politics and should “leave it to the professionals”. Continue reading Public protests “for future” as part of citizenship – children and scientists included
Young people are often criticised as self-centred and politically disinterested. But recently, the next generation has been engaging more and more in climate politics, and their voice is getting heard – at least in media coverage.
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.
Monday morning the climate summit started with scores of state leaders arriving in their black cars, delegates and press mostly in electric shuttle buses. But Espace Générations Climat – the forum for all the non-accredited NGOs and activists, remained closed. They were not allowed to open until Tuesday, evidently for security reasons. The only demonstrators the delegates would see as they entered the accredited grounds of COP21 on Monday morning were seven angels with posters promoting climate justice and scorning fossil energy. Continue reading Degrees and vulnerability – personal account of the start of the summit
The debate about climate change is almost thirty years old. Endless time and energy has already been spent in unproductive ways: discussing whether climate change actually exists, whether humans contribute to global warming, whether the risks that come with global warming are real and then whether we need to cut down on emissions.
These questions are settled, but many important questions remain to be open for discussion in climate science and climate politics. The upcoming summit in Paris draws our attention towards tackling the challenges associated with climate change in the present, rather than repeating discussions from the past. Part of this is to reclaim the attribute of being “skeptical” as an essential feature of good science. Yet, wise scientists will attempt to direct their skepticism to hypotheses which are not properly grounded in empirical evidence. Continuing the old debate is only in the interest of those actors who feel they need to protect their vested interests in oil, coal and gas and the attached industries with the aim of blocking effective limits to our carbon emissions.