Climaps.eu is an online atlas providing data, visualizations and commentaries about the debate on climate change adaptation. It contains 33 issue-maps. Each of the maps focuses on one issue raised in the climate change adaptation debate and provides:
- an interactive visualization;
- a discussion of the map and the findings that it discloses;
- a description of the protocol through which the map has been created;
- the raw and the cleaned data on which the map is based, and the code employed to cleanse them.
Climaps.eu also contains 5 issue-stories providing a guide to reading several maps in combination.
The atlas is aimed at climate experts (negotiators, NGOs and companies concerned by global warming, journalists, etc.) and to citizens willing to engage with the issues raised by climate adaptation.
It employs advanced digital methods to highlight the complexity of the issues related to climate change adaptation and information design to make this complexity legible.
Controversy Mapping and the ‘Sprint’ Workshops
Climaps.eu has been produced by the EU-funded project(EMAPS and is the largest experiment using the method of ‘controversy mapping’ so far.
Controversy mapping is a research technique developed in the field of the Sciences and Technology Studies (STS) to deal with the growing intricacy of socio-technical debates. Instead of cowering from such complexity, it aims to equip engaged citizens with tools to navigate through expert disagreement. Instead of lamenting the fragmentation of society, it aims to facilitate the emergence of more heterogeneous discussion forums (cfr: http://climaps.eu/#/controversy-mapping.
Such objectives are pursued
- by collaborating with experts from different camps in the debate,
- by exploiting digital data and computation to follow the weaving of techno-scientific discourses,
- and by using design and visualization practices to make such complexity readable for a larger public.
Because of the necessity to organize a trans-disciplinary collaboration between controversy mappers, issue-experts, data scientists and designers, EMAPS invented a new research format: the ‘sprint’.
Inspired by open-source hackathons and digital humanities barcamps, sprints are hybrid forums where30-40 people with different backgrounds gather to work intensively for a full week to map a given socio-technical issue. Unlike its antecedents, sprints are extensively prepared in advance (by defining the research questions, collecting and cleaning the data, forming the groups), to make sure the workshops can succeed in delivering usable results in one week’s time (cfr: http://climaps.eu/#/sprints.
Findings and Issue-stories
Adaptation and Mitigation in the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Analysing the Earth Negotiation Bulletin, we identified the main discussions in the UN Convention on Climate Change, traced their visibility over time and the countries engaged with them.
Discussions on climate change adaptation and mitigation take place in areas in the UNFCCC. Mitigation constitutes the main object of the convention, and it is present everywhere in its conversation and hence structures the articulation of the debate. Adaptation, on the contrary, appears as a group of specific discussions, and has a limited, but central, place in the negotiations.
Although adaptation is present from the beginning in UN conferences (in particular the question of its funding), an ‘adaptation turn’ is visible from 2004 with the rise of the questions of vulnerability and of climate change impacts.
Mitigation and adaptation in the UNFCCC debates
The 'Place' of Adaptation
The Geopolitics of Adaptation Expenditure
Using RioMarkers coding, we extracted from the OECDOfficial Development Assistance the bilateral adaptation funding and visualized it in a way that allows us to compare how the distribution of aid varies between these countries.
We compared not only the amounts committed by donor countries, but also their preferred policy areas, the concentration of their aid, their favoured recipient countries and closest UNFCCC recipient groupings, and the distribution of the aid according to the development level of the recipient country.
Some donor countries appear to specialize in particular policy areas: for example, Japan is best at funding disaster reduction; France at water management; Spain at government and civil society; UK at biodiversity, and Germany at agriculture. Some countries concentrate their aid more among policy areas and recipient countries and the EU than others (Spain, Italy, Ireland), which could suggest a more planned approach to adaptation aid.
Read more:The geo politics of adaptation expenditure"
Concentration: How many areas and countries to the donor countries fund?
Who Deserves to be Funded
We have compared the priorities of bilateral and multilateral adaptation funders with different ways of assessing vulnerability. Using Germanwatch, DARA and Gain vulnerability indices, as well as the Human Development Index, we explored possible correlations between the amount of money allocated to a country and the degree to which it could be said to be climate vulnerable. We found both positive and negative correlations, indicating that some funds and some countries prioritize in close alignment with the ways in which some indices assess vulnerability, while others do not. In general, development-oriented indices correlate more with climate adaptation funding, providing evidence that adaptation and development are closely connected policy issuesd.
We have also tried to find out where vulnerability indices are mentioned in climate-related contexts. In general we found that climate-specific vulnerability indices are rarely used by actors in the UNFCCC process, but widely cited in the news media.
Read more:Who deserves to be funded?
Who is vulnerable according to who?
Reading the State of Climate Change from Digital Media
Using a variety of digital methods, we monitored the state of online discussion about climate change. In particular, we investigated how users share ideas (Twitter), search for information (Google) and buy books related to climate issues (Amazon).
On Twitter, adaptation is more visible than mitigation, with human and animal victims capturing users’ attention and NGOs most effectively using the platform for their messages. Querying Google for ‘climate change’ OR ‘global warming’ adaptation-related results are more abundant (than mitigation or skepticism) and more visible in institutional sources. NGOs websites put food, water and extreme weather events at the top of their agendas. Looking at Amazon, different ‘selling points’ of the climate change debate are noted. New terminologies appear to brand the climate conflicts (i.e. ‘cold wars’ for conflicts over the melting Arctic), while skepticism appears to be overtaken, as best-selling topic.
Reading the state of climate change from digital media