‘highlight’ 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)


Where we are, where we are going

June 9th, 2012

The London workshop will not start until next Wednesday, but I already want to express great satisfaction for process that led to this event. In a handful of months, we identified a number research questions, we collected and analysed the data necessary to provide some answers, we visualised the results of the analysis and we are now ready to share our maps with a real public. On a small scale, we already proved the worth of our consortium.
And there’s more: next week event is only a small test compared to the exhibition we will organise in London in the next fall, which in turn is only a small test of the online/offline platform we will develop on climate adaptation.

During the kick-off meeting, I said that our project is complex because it is experimental. I think we have found the good organisation to tame such complexity. The circle displayed in the image below (courtesy of Axel) describes the iterative process of questions-data-visualisations-tests that characterize EMAPS. What is most remarkable about this circle is that it reaches further every time we go through it. More then to a circle, our project resembles to a spiral where every coil delivers better maps and engages more people.
Accordingly, the success of EMAPS depends crucially on our capacity to multiply the iterations among ourselves and with our publics. To use a slogan borrowed from software development: “release early, release often!”

Acknowledging the spiralling nature of EMAPS transforms slightly but decisively the goal of the second day of our London meeting (see page 7 and 8 of the survival kit sent by Axel). At this stage, the priority is not to decide once and for all the precise focus of our project, but to set the mapping spiral into motion. What we need is to identify a first set of adaptation maps that are both interesting and relatively easy to produce.
To facilitate our work, I drafted a list of potential research questions and maps (see page 10-12 of the kit). Our goal for Thursday is to complete this list (because I certainly forgot something important) and agree on the interest and feasibility of each of the proposed maps.

This assessment will be the basis for the work of following months, which will consist in developing a first set of maps to submit to a first sample of public in order to produce better maps to submit to a larger audience and so on and so forth. So the spiral goes, so the project advances…

Medialab explorations on climate change

February 23rd, 2012

The image below (click on it to download the hi-resolution PDF) show all the digital methods tools that we use at the médialab and the ones that we are currently using for the first exploration of the climate adaptation controversy.

Please be aware that in the image, the green circles correspond to the tools developed by the médialab and the blue circles correspond to tools that we use, but we have not developed ourselves.

I hope I will be able to publish the results of our explorations soon.

What counts as success

November 26th, 2011

In a sense, this is a simple project, perfectly in line with the tradition of scientific popularization, and it has a simple goal:

Deliver a platform to help the public understand one of today’s most vital scientific questions: ‘how could we adapt to climate change’.

It is thus simple to say what counts as a success for this project:

We succeed if our platform help the public understand the debate around the sciences of climate adaptation.

It is truly as simple as this …

… except that, in order to succeed, we will have to redefine completely the meaning of ‘platform’, ‘public’, ‘understand’, debate’, and ‘science’.

And this is where things gets complex, in fact 4 times complex because:

  1. we chose an object that is new, vastly unexplored and changing quickly
  2. we are using a methodology  that is still ‘under construction’
  3. we want to handle all this through techniques that are still in ‘beta version’
  4. there is no clearly identifiable public for the outcomes of our project, building this public is, on the contrary, one of the goal of the project.

These 4 complexities make this project is experimental. Bruno Latour has a nice definition of what is experimental research: a research is experimental if, should things go wrong, it can blow up the laboratory where it takes place.

Experimental science is a risky business and chances are that we fail in this project. Failure is as simple to define: we will fail is our project goes unnoticed, if we make no contribution to the discussion of climate adaptation, if we don’t prove that an academic project can have a significant impact on a major social debate. You all see why failure is not a unlikely outcome …

… and yet, we cannot accept failure. Important resources have been entrusted to this project: not only by the European Union has decided to fund this project for 3 years, but I am happy to announce that the médialab has also obtained an complementary funding from the French Research Agency for a second complementary project on controversy mapping.

The two projects are separated by their different scales: EMAPS considers the adaptation at a global scale, while MEDEA, (this is the name of EMAPS’s twin project) focus on the French debate. And yet strong synergies are clearly possible.

Like it or not, we have a responsibility to succeed and please believe me when I say that I will not accept a failure for this project.

So let’s prepare to work hard for the next 3 years…