‘Events’ Category

climaps.eu, a global issue atlas of adaptation to climate change, is online

November 21st, 2014

Climate change is happening; we have no choice but to adapt. Yet how are we going to live with a changing climate? How are we going to share the burden of adaptation among countries, regions and communities? How to be fair to all human and non-human beings affected by such a planetary transition? Since our collective life depends on these questions, they deserve discussion, debate and even controversy.

To provide some help to navigate in the uncharted territories that lead to our future, the three-year EMAPS project has produced an electronic atlas called Climaps.

The atlas offers 33 data visualizations. They deal with topics ranging from the funding of adaptation, the calculations of vulnerability to climate change, to the scenarios of the future in the cli-fi literature. The atlas also proposes 5 issue stories that bind together visualizations to produce novel narratives about climate change adaptation.

Digital data have been harvested, processed and visualized through a unique methodology created by the teams involved in EMAPS, which the médialab coordinated until its end on October 31st. This methodology involves working right from the start with the communities of experts that the maps are addressing. In the future, it could be applied to other issues of societal and political relevance.

EMAPS (Electronic Maps to Assist Public Science) was funded under the EU FP7 Science in Society Programme.

For more information write us at info@climaps.eu.

Mapping Climate Change Vulnerability together with its Indexes

May 10th, 2014

Post by Sophie Waterloo and Richard Rogers

The Amsterdam EMAPS sprint (March 24th-28th 2014), entitled ‘Coping with Vulnerability to Climate Change: Adaptation, its Limits and Post-adaptation Mechanisms’, was dedicated to the mapping of climate change vulnerabilities, vulnerability indexes and adaptation across a variety of relevant information, media and policy spaces. We are happy to share some of the findings that resulted from the 6 mapping projects that were developed, in two formats. First, below please find links to detailed project pages, with the research questions, methods, findings as well as the visualization output. Second we have created a pdf walk-through — a slide show to view the main findings at a glance (download document here). We would like to thank all the participants and the climate change experts who were able to join us in Amsterdam and whose input helped make this sprint productive.

The mapping projects were inspired by the climate change experts invited to present the current state of the art in the field as well as their analytical needs with respect to the topics of climate change adaptation, public policy, risk and vulnerability monitoring. Hans-Martin Füssel of the European Environment Agency provided insights into the opportunities and pitfalls of vulnerability mapping, explaining the differences in interpreting vulnerability and the varied outcomes each type of mapping produces. The work inspired questions concerning the extent to which adaptation and mitigation policies, as a way to manage vulnerability within Europe, compete and compliment, and how different ethical perspectives on vulnerability would influence the allocation of funding for European countries. Richard Klein, Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute and Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Climate Science and Policy followed with a discussion on the difficulties associated with the assessment of vulnerability on an academic as well as a political level, encouraging critical thought about the purposes of vulnerability indices, and their use cases. Matthew McKinnon from the United Nations Developed Programme (UNDP) and Editor of DARA’s Climate Vulnerability Monitor talked about the approaches, applications and actions of measuring the impact of climate change on a global scale. He introduced thinking about the emerging issues of food security, human mobility and the militarization of the Arctic, all as a result of vulnerability to climate change. Lastly, Sönke Kreft, Team Leader of International Climate Policy at Germanwatch, provided methodological considerations, key messages and limitations from Germanwatch’s Climate Risk Index, which initiated the idea of examining the users and uses of vulnerability indexes.


Maps on climate change adaptation / Part one : international negotiations

March 20th, 2014

Dear all,

We are very proud to introduce the results of the EMAPS first data Sprint (Paris January 6th to 10th 2014) and share them with you.

The UNFCCC negotiations was the topic we selected as an important arena for global governance of climate change & adaptation. This arena produces a lot of data which we collected and used to build the visualisatons. Here is the total list of “raw” data visualized in the 4 mapping projects we are sharing now:

  • All UNFCCC available documents, in particular : COP proceding reports, SBSTA & SBI meeting reports, side events list, adaptation committee documents,  NAPA Project Database available, National Adaptation Programmes of Action: Index of NAPA Projects by Sector
  • Scientific literature on adaptation
  • IPCC reports
  • Earth Negotiations Bulletins
  • Climate Funds Update database
  • OECD DAC ODA (Official Development Aid) database from 2010 to 2012
  • Data on Adaptation Funds board members (Global Environment Facility, Adaptation Fund, Green Climate Fund and of the World Bank PPCR)
  • World Bank database

Browse the results of the Sprint below:
(or click here to download all the visualizations in a single pdf)


Amsterdam Sprint: Coping with Vulnerability to Climate Change

January 30th, 2014

The University of Amsterdam is pleased to announce the second in its series of four EMAPS sprints dedicated to mapping climate change controversies, entitled “Coping with Vulnerability to Climate Change: Adaptation, its Limits and Post-adaptation Mechanisms.” The sprint will take place between 24 and 28 March 2014 at the University of Amsterdam. The sprint is five days, with the first day dedicated to presentations by issue experts, followed by three days of project work and a last day devoted to presenting the outcomes and discussing the next steps to follow.

The 19th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which took place in November 2013, culminated in the establishment of an “international mechanism for loss and damage”. According to the UNFCCC Decision CP.19, “such an international mechanism include[s] functions and modalities to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.” Some of the adverse effects prompting this arrangement include extreme weather events and sea level rise. Crucially, the same document acknowledges that “loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change includes, and in some cases involves more than, that which can be reduced by adaptation”. This recognition of the limits of adaptation marks the opening up of the climate change debates to a new phase that deals with loss and damage as a consequence of the failure to adapt and to mitigate. The sprint “Coping with Vulnerability to Climate Change: Adaptation, its Limits and Post-adaptation Mechanisms” addresses national and urban adaptation mechanisms, as well as mechanisms to cope with vulnerability post-adaptation, such as the increasingly prominent “loss and damage” arrangement. Building on a Digital Methods Initiative workshop from October 2013, this sprint also explores other prominent scenarios resulting from the limits or failure to adapt, such as risk management, regional tensions and conflict.


Vulnerability, Resilience and Conflict: Mapping Climate Change, Reading Cli-fi.

December 11th, 2013

We dedicated this year’s Digital Methods Fall data sprint (25-21 October, 2013) to mapping climate change conflicts, climate refugees, water wars and other future risk scenarios. The interest in studying the intersection between climate change and conflict derives not only from the growing attention given to the topic (with more articles, studies and radio shows addressing this issue), but also an analytical question. Are we indeed able to identify a fourth ‘phase (after scepticism, mitigation and adaptation) in the climate change issue evolution organised around ‘conflict’?

The presentations on the first day of the data sprint set the tone. Sabine Niederer, who studies climate skepticism on the Web, gave an overview of scholarly work that focuses on the climate change debate and its coverage in mass media. Afterwards, Sophie Waterloo together with Richard Rogers presented the topic of climate change as an indirect cause of human conflict, discussing how this issue is approached in relevant literature and ways of mapping climate conflict scenarios online. Natalia Sanchez-Querubin introduced the genre of climate fiction (or cli-fi) and the underlying question: what does fiction add to the ongoing discourses around climate change? In order to be used as source material we acquired nearly twenty printed cli-fi books. The day came to an end with group formation, the formulation of specific research questions and preliminary strategies to address them, such as the treatment of cli-fi as offering alternative narratives about how to cope with climate change.


Sprint / International negotiations on climate change adaptation

November 18th, 2013

Dear all, here is a short outline on the preparation of the Paris Sprint.

  • Dates & Venue

Jan 6th to 10th, at Sciences Po, Paris. We have pre-booked rooms in a nearby hotel.

  • Programme

Under deverlopment.

The first morning will be dedicated to presentations by alpha-users. Then, we will form interdisciplinary teams of 5/6 people constituted of EMAPS members + friends.

  • Topic

Adaptation is a latecomer on the scene of climate negotiations and is, to a large extent, unfit to such arena. Rooted in the tradition of United Nations diplomacy, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was originally instituted to address the eminently global challenge of greenhouse gases reduction through mitigation.

Local in its actions and effects, adaptation definitely entered the UNFCCC arena in 2000, when the inevitability of climate change impacts became evident and with it the need of developing countries to find international support for adaptation policies. In this framework, adaptation has largely become a question of financial flows.

Since mid-2000, however, the place of adaptation in the international negotiations has grown incessantly and actors have been struggling to put new issues on the negotiation agenda. The traditional boundaries of the UNFCCC are thus under pressure.

The controversies relating to the international negotiations on climate change adaptation tend to fall into two categories:

1. The controversies that take place within the UNFCCC itself and concern the rationales governing the transactions of adaptation money and the arguments and issues mobilized to support them:

a. What is adaptation money? A help from rich to poor countries to prepare for future climate change impacts (according to the development paradigm) VS a compensation from polluting to polluted countries to repair the current climate impacts (according to the “loss and damage” paradigm) VS a contribution to anticipate current extreme events (according to “disaster risk reduction” paradigm) ?
b. How should adaptation money be transferred? Which countries and institutions should govern the ‘adaptation funds’? How should the use of the money be monitored and accounted for? Which type of institutions should this funds be and how they should be organized?
c. Which objectives should drive financial aid for adaptation? decrease vulnerability to climate impacts (e.g. sea level, extreme events, droughts, environmental migrations, etc.)? increase adaptive capacity (e.g. poverty reduction, water security, food security, land use change, economic compensation, security, etc.)?
d. For all the previous questions, we can also ask who defended which position and when a given position or controversy was more discussed.

2. The controversies that take place outside the UNFCCC, or on the sideline of it, and concern the representativeness and the weight of the Convention’s negotiations in the larger debate on adaptation.

a. To what extent an essentially local problem such as adaptation can be managed effectively through an international forum?
b. When and to what extent issues discussed outside the UNFCCC in relation to adaptation have (or have not) become the subject of international negotiations?
c. Are the discourses of the actors in the negotiation coherent with their discourses and actions outside the UNFCCC?
d. How do non-national actors (NGOs, industrial lobbies) engage in and influence the negotiations ?

  •  Datasets

ENB reports
Climate Funds Update
Web corpus
Scientific literature
IPCC reports
UNFCCC documents (included COP country submissions, side events and SBSTA reports)
(if we have time) adaptation projects from different project collections
(The NY Times articles)

  • Alpha-users

We have contacted experts potentially interested in co-producing the maps with us, whom we adress as “alpha-users”. We want 5/6 of them. The contacted persons might of course redirect us to other experts. We will discuss the content of their presentation beforehand.
We are in discussion with Neil Adger & Richard Klein (academics), Alix Mazounie (NGO), Troels Dam Christensen (NGO/negotiator), the Green Climate Fund…
  • Other participants

EMAPS members : I already got some answers. Here is the form which you are invited to fill in to confirm your participation ASAP (and before the end of the week) :


EMAPS members are encouraged to stay the whole duration of the Sprint.

Advisors : we have sent an invitation to Pelle Ehn and David Chavalarias.

Students : we plan to have 3 Density Design former students.

Issue experts : we want to have experts of the climate controversy (apart from Mark who will be there as well) like Amy Dahan & Christophe Buffet (Centre Alexandre Koyré), Clive Hamilton, Alice Caravani of Climate Funds Update (Overseas Development Institute). François Gemenne will moderate the presentations by alpha-users on the first morning.

  • Expenses

All expenses including transportation will be borne by Sciences Po. We will book hotel rooms, but we ask EMAPS participants to take care of their own travel, which will be reimbursed after the sprint.


Mapping with Others: How to Work with Climate Change Issue Experts

May 17th, 2013

Since February of this year we have been running the second version of the Issue Mapping for Politics course where students have engaged in climate change controversy mapping through three periods of the controversy: (1) the very existence of climate change, skepticism and causes, (2) mitigation (quantified self approach and carbon market approach), and (3) adaptation. Climate change issue experts have been involved in each of these stages. More precisely, they were invited to describe and present the state of affairs of their fields and tell us about their analytical needs. Based on these presentations students were asked to produce maps. Afterwards, we will organise a follow up with the issue experts to present them with the maps, and engage with them concerning the extent to which they meet their needs, including any new needs that arise from reading the maps.

During the EMAPS meeting last month, the University of Amsterdam presented field notes from our work with these climate change issue experts. Below is a summary of some of the most relevant things we learned from them, which we consider could be useful to other project members working with issue experts. The slides from our talk can be found here:


A few things we learned thanks to the Issue Safari

December 21st, 2012

On December 12 2012, the EMAPS project organized its first Issue Safari.
Such workshop was an improved version of the seminar we organized in June 2012. In both cases the objective was to submit some of a set of maps we had prepared on the theme of aging in UK to the evaluation of a selected group of potential users.
The first workshop had been very interesting, but had also revealed the great difficulty of finding a common ground between mappers and users. Users were very critical on several aspects: from the choice of the research questions, to the datased employed, from the visualisations employed to the legibility of the maps (see emapsproject.com/blog/archives/1329).
In order to overcome this difficulty, we started a new process of interaction with the users (described here emapsproject.com/blog/archives/1701, here emapsproject.com/blog/archives/1728 and here emapsproject.com/blog/archives/1754). This process helped us to produce a more effective set of maps and to identify a groups of users potentially more interested in our visualisations. The December Issue Safari was the result of this process.

I think it is fair to say that the Issue Safari has been a success in the sense that we have greatly improved the adaptation between users and maps. Most users found most maps relevant and engaged with them in interesting ways. This allowed us to collect a richer user-feedback that we will now be able to re-invest in the case study of climate change adaptation.

Drawing on a very detailed set of notes collected during the Safari by the facilitator of the Young Foundation and compiled by Lucy Kimbell, I have prepared the following synthesis of the lessons we learnt during this workshop


Studying factions of users in Wikipedia

December 11th, 2012

In a recent study, we analysed the interactions between self-proclaimed Democrats and Repubblicans in Wikipedia.

We started from the identification of users having in their personal page a userbox indicating support for one of the two major US parties. In this way, we were able to identify about 800 Democrats and 600 Republicans.

This allowed us to study representation practices, activity and interactions of these two sets of users according to several dimensions, such as the kind of the other userboxes they had in their profile, the articles most edited by each party, the presence of conflict in the threads in which they were involved, and the emotional content of their messages.


A speculative blog post about changing how we engage with issue professionals in the design and production of issue maps within EMAPS

December 10th, 2012

Ahead of our two-day workshop in London later this week, I present some suggestions that follow on from our discussions in the project team about we can engage productively with people who might use the issue maps we are creating in the project. As I understand it, the role of The Young Foundation in the EMAPS project is primarily about helping to engage with people beyond the project team, specifically with the communities of issue professionals working on the two topics.

This post builds on recent emails and skype meetings between us; our small workshop in Oxford in October (see posts by Michele and Benedetta in Milano and by me afterwards, with comments by other EMAPS team members), as well as our June meeting in London (see posts by Tommaso) and discussions about the design process by Milano and Paris.

I will cover

  • a narrative about the project’s trajectory to date in terms of engaging with issue professionals, written from a personal perspective as someone working within YF on EMAPs since March 2012 (when I was employed there, and now freelance);
  • a brief introduction to some concepts and methods from the fields of Participatory Design and Design Research, which offer some approaches that could move EMAPS towards a more participatory mode of designing/using maps in the context of a research project;
  • a speculative description of what these concepts and methods might look like in practice, if the EMAPS team decided to use them.