In December 2015, representatives of 195 nations meeting in Paris for the Conference of the Parties (COP21) set an ambitious goal to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the mid-century. During the talks climate activists took to social media to get out their message on climate justice. Before the official summit kicked off, activists held more than 2,300 events in over 175 countries in a Global Climate March, rallying around the shared goal, “Keep fossil fuels in the ground and finance a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.” Global activism was impressive in scale, but did activists reach people on social media who are not already supporters of action on climate change? My analysis of social media during the climate summit shows little interaction between climate activists and the industry most closely associated with carbon emissions: oil and gas. In this talk I’ll explore what this might mean for future climate action and our collective ability to live up to the goals set at COP21.
The fossil fuel divestment part of this research project is in conjunction with my colleague Luis Hestres, of the University of Texas at San Antonio (http://www.luishestres.com).
Climate Activists Take to Social Media but Who are They Reaching? And why it matters.