Mapping With OthersWorking with climate change experts.DIGITAL METHODS INITIATIVEUNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM4th EMAPS MEETING16 APRIL, 2013AMSTERDAM
1. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE ISSUE EXPERTS.Climate Change Skepticism-- Sabine Niederer (researcher). Climate Change Mitigation -- Walle Oppedijk van Veen (carbon trader)& Joanna Cabello (Carbon Trade Watch).Climate Change Adaptation --- Simon Rogers (Guardian Datablog).2. HOW WE ESTABLISHED A DIALOGUE WITH ISSUE EXPERTS: LOGISTICS &LESSONS LEARNED.3. NEXT STEPS: HOW GET THE MAPS INTO THE CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE.
CLIMATE CHANGE SKEPTICISMResearcher, Sabine Niederer.She is...Researcher at the University of Amsterdam studying climate skepticismacross spheres: web, news, blogs, Wikipedia.What we learned...She is interested in: What is the place and status of climate change skepti-cism? Is it mainstream or fringe? How do skeptics resonate in scientific liter-ature, on the web and on Wikipedia?Skeptics are mainstream in the academic community but in the web spherethere is a distance between the skeptics and the top of search engine results.Climate change skeptics are skeptical of other issues as well (professionalskeptics).Climate change skepticism can be country specific.
CLIMATE CHANGE SKEPTICISM :MEETING THE NEEDSResearcher, Sabine Niederer.How does climate change skepticism compare across countries? -> “Presence of skeptics on theRussian, German and Swedish webs”Is the “twist” generalizable (across countries and across other media spaces where skeptics arepresent)? --> “Reviewing the reviewers of climate change skepticism books on Amazon”
The eight major Russian climate change skeptics were queried using both Google and Yandex. The resultsshow that Google returns a relevant number of entretaiment urls, while Yandex outputs academic or edu-cational results.
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.Carbon trader, Walle Oppedijk vanVeen.He is...Consultant at Oil & Gas. Worked at a carbon trading desk.Co-funded two companies to invest in sustainable projects with a car-bon trading component and to develop rainforest conservation proj-ects.What we learned...The carbon market is controversial and it is part of a debate. His pre-senation title was: “The curious case of carbon trading. Simple and/orcomplicated?”The failure of carbon trading can be blamed on an ineffective market.With a good economic incentive and stabler prices the market wouldwork: “The ‘where’ does not matter”.Scandals: stolen carbon credits, VAT fraud, recycled CERs, from car-bon as the ‘new thing’ to carbon ‘cowboys’.
Key terms of the controversy: over-allocation, localized power markets, failingagreements post-Tokyo.Analytical needs...He was not aware of critiques of carbon trading that point towards social injustice.CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.Carbon trader, Walle Oppedijk vanVeen.
What went wrong True Scandals: • Registry breaches and security issues – stolen carbon credits • VAT fraud: tradi:onal ‘VAT carrousel’ in a new market with instant delivery • Boiler rooms; exploi:ng the knowledge gap in the investor community • ‘Recycled CERs’ ; CERs handed over to the government by companies for compliance were resold by governments into the system All this received lots of bad press (FT, NYT, WSJ). From carbon as the ‘new new thing’ to ‘carbon cowboys’ Misﬁts and Structural ﬂaws CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.Carbon trader, Walle Oppedijk vanVeen.
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.Carbon Trade Watch, Joanna Cabelloand Belen Balanya, Corporate EuropeObservatory.She is...Joanna works with Carbon Trade Watch.What we learned...The “where” does matter.Corporate lobbying is an negative issue --- carbon trading is a subsidy for polluters.Green energy is only produced by industries not communities. Local communitiesare negativly affected, the damage goes beyond pollution.“The carbon market is talked about as if it was the only option in town, this is the dis-course they want to make you to believe. Why not reduce emission at the source? Nooffset. Making companies reduce their own emission and not outsourcing it some-where else. The solution is to make companies change their ways. Even more, theresources needed to import green materials are sometimes more pricey than what issaved.”
“Industrial lobbyists representing the largest polluters were highly reward-ed during the process, as they got their pollution permits for free and largelyoverallocated, while at the same time they could also use offset credits ac-cording to lax restrictions decided by governments.”Analytical needs...They focus on awareness. They prepared a slide for us.CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.Carbon Trade Watch, Joanna Cabelloand Belen Balanya, Corporate EuropeObservatory.
Slide extracted from Joanna Cabello’s presentation.CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.Carbon Trade Watch, Joanna Cabelloand Belen Balanya, Corporate Europe Observatory.
They wanted their messaging built into the map / reinforce their points.Amateurish.Different understandings of the web between the researchers and the stakeholders.Render their interesting datasets on a mpa (may be externally sourced).They had mapping needs not analytical needs.Carbon trader has a blind spot (Southern issues). Carbon Trade Watch feels that the Southernissues are so well known that there is no need to have them mapped.CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION.Carbon Trade Watch, Joanna Cabelloand Belen Balanya, Corporate Europe Observatory.
CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATIONThe Guardian Datablog, Simon Rogers.He is...The founder and editor of the Guardian Datablog. Not a climatechange expert but the media is an important actor in the climatechange debate.He is a mapper.What we learned...The Datablog obtains, edits and publishes datasets related to on-going new stories, often accompanied by commentary and/orgraphical representations.The Datablog’s main mission is to make datasets available to thepublic.
On reading maps...“Flat visualisations do well because they can be shared and downloaded and because people readthe news on their mobile devices.”People spend on average 6 minutes on a Datablog graphic while Guardian articles get on average 1minute of people’s attention.“Most people won’t do anything with [the data]. The data that does best is the data that can becompared and people can compare themselves to other people and make it personal.”Bar charts and pie charts are a recommended graphical format in the media (although not in theacademic community).CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATIONThe Guardian Datablog, Simon Rogers.
On newsworthiness...Timeliness: most often stories respond to breaking news and need to be produced reallyquickly (the data needs to be published within a few hours from the release of the news)Focus on a story: “The most important thing is that we tell stories”Projects are reacting to an official claim or a rumour: fact-checking (also in long-terminvestigative projects)On types of data used...“There is enough public data out there to answer most of our questions”CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATIONThe Guardian Datablog, Simon Rogers.
2. WAYS OF ESTABLISHING A DIALOGUE WITH ISSUE EXPERTS.LOGISTICS & LESSONS LEARNED.
Logistics...Invite issue experts to make a presentation about the state of affairs in their field. We ask them totalk to us as if we were experts ourselves.During the presentation we do careful notetaking. We make sure to capture the issue in their ownwords and avoid translating them to our own. We want to capture the fine grain of how they de-scribe their field.We identify a set of analytical needs based on or inspired by their presentations and design a strate-gy in order to meet them.We invite the issue expert back, present our maps to them and receive feedback.
Lessons learned...Maps have a specific function (e.g.: vizualize relations and make findings, create awareness andmake statements, be newsworthy).Good maps can be shared easily (flat visualizations do better than interactives).Maps have audiences. What is relevant to map depends on the audience.For maps directed at a general audience (non-experts) a good strategy is to make them relatable andpersonal.The carbon trader has a blind spot (Southern issues). Carbon Trade Watch feels that the Southernissues are so well known that there is no need to have them mapped.It is important we understand what the issues experts think are issues. For example, for thecarbon trader issues are the scandals.Researchers and stakeholders have different views of the web: for Carbon Trade Watchit was a “click and see” web [amateurish]. They wanted their message built into and theirdatasets rendered on a map.
3. NEXT STEPS.Book sprint (in progress) - write up the projects into a book(let) about using the Web to map cli-mate change existence and skepticism, mitigation and adaptation.Guide students to form a communication team and reach out to academics and issue professionalsto find opportunities to present their work.