Mapping Climate Communication, new posters July 2014

Mapping Climate Communication: Timeline

This series of three posters maps climate communication by means of a timeline, a network visualization and a strategy map. The work illustrates
relationships between climate discourses, prominent actors and major organizations participating in climate communication including science institutions, academic institutions, media organizations, think tanks and government agencies – along with the interests and funders linked to these organizations. Various discourses are mapped including climate science; counter-movements (contrarianism); ecological modernization, neoliberalism and corporate capture; and social movements (climate justice). The timeline visualizes the historical processes that have lead to the growth of various ways of communicating climate change. The network visualization illustrates relationships between actors and prominent discourses. The strategy map displays methods used within four discursive realms.

The posters are still work in process. They will be presented at the ‘Changing Climate Communication’ conference in July 2014. Feedback from this presentation will inform a final stage of the visualizations, to be completed in September 2014.

No.2 Network of Actors, USA and UK Based Organizations and Individuals.  Version 1. July 2014

The poster illustrates relationships between prominent actors and major organizations participating in climate communication. These include: science institutions, media organizations, think tanks, government departments, non-governmental organization (NGOs) and individuals – along with some of the more significant funders. Actors are situated within four discursive realms: climate science; counter-movements (contrarianism); ecological modernization (often neoliberalism); and social movements (climate justice). These four discourses are mapped on a framework wherein actors are colour-coded according to where they are situated. In this first version the colour, the size of the circles and their positions are all speculative. Subsequent versions will use different methods for plotting the actors and linking the nodes.


Climate Communication. No.3

No.3 Strategies in Four Discursive Areas: Contrarian, Modernization, Science and Justice Version 1. July 2014

This poster maps the ways that climate change is communicated in fourdiscursive areas: climate science; counter-movements (contrarianism); modernization (often neoliberalism) and social movements (climate justice). Strategies in this poster are placed within four discursive streams and are colourcoded according to how they work to communicate climate change. Here strategies include actions (not just deliberate tactics) that have consequences in regard to how climate change is communicated and understood in the public realm. Thus some actions, especially those in the modernization / neoliberalism discursive area, are not necessarily intended to impact climate communication. Nevertheless, the conditions created by policies and actions reflected in these discourses have consequences that contribute to the corporate capture of the climate change debate. These often facilitate the contrarian agenda and influence how climate change is communicated.

13 thoughts on “Mapping Climate Communication, new posters July 2014

  1. perhaps a chat with Dr Warren Pearce and Dr B Nerlich (Nottingham) would help

    and Amelia Shaman – LSE, as it seems that some of the most prominent sceptical actors have been left out. I assume you have heard of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts at least?

    Amelia’s research: Mapping the climate sceptic blogosphere
    “A network of 171 individual blogs is identified, with three blogs in particular found to be the most central: Climate Audit, JoNova and Watts Up With That. These blogs predominantly focus on the scientific element of the climate debate, providing either a direct scientifically-based challenge to mainstream climate science, or a critique of the conduct of the climate science system, and appear to be less preoccupied with other types of scepticism that are prevalent in the wider public debate such as ideologically or values-motivated scepticism.”
    Skeptical Science and Realclimate are listed in the poster.. Realclimate was created to counter Steve McIntyre work ( Steve then launched Climate Audit, after Realclimate) and Skeptical Science exists to counter sceptic blogs of which WUWT is John Cook’s opponent, with an order of magnitude higher traffic..

    John Cook interviewed at Yale:
    “The kind of people who visit my site regularly are not the same people who look at the skeptic sites,” Cook said. As for skeptic sites that he sees as his competition, “the closest thing to mine in Australia” is, which he said gets about the same level of monthly traffic as his own site. He identified Anthony Watts’ WUWT site as a counterpart American skeptics blog, “though he gets an order of magnitude more traffic than my site gets.” – Cook

    Amelia’s top ten list of sceptical blogs (or a look at the 171 she describes) might be worth looking at and including some.

  2. Reblogged this on patricktsudlow and commented:
    Dr. Boehnert has produced 3 intersting charts on Climate Change and as stated, they are still a work in progress. The top chart does show how the USA has tried to discredit the science behnd climate change. And more recently how the UK Government scrapped the Sustainable Development Commission: and has made large cuts to the Environment Agency.

  3. Fascinating map of communication actors, and I like the idea of mapping,it but it is strangely one sided. It gives a lot of space (far too much in my view) to the professional denial lobby, but far too little to the huge membership of the environment organisations and grassroots groups. They are currently mobilising hudreds of thousands of people to march on the streets of NYC in September- Heartland Institute could only get a hundred or two for an annual conference! And then there the even larger networks, the green faith, and labor networks who are, in various ways, reaching out to their audiences. I have to wary of my own bias, but as a clinate comms specialist I think this seriously overestimates those opposing action.

    • Thanks for this useful feedback George. Yes you are right and I knew I needed to do this but ran out of time for this particular version of the poster. This happened after I spent too much time investigating contrarian groups. My apologies, I will make sure the next version is more representative of the massive social movement supporting climate justice.

  4. For “Climate Positive” communication you include “need for radical emissions reductions”. Is there any specific number associated with “radical emissions reductions”? for example is it a PPM limit or a limit of gigatons of global annual emissions over a certain time frame?

    Also I wonder how you handle someone like James Hansen who is “Climate Positive” in addressing the science but often “contrarian on political/practical solutions that directly disagrees with several environmental groups. An example would be that Dr. Hansen supports rapid deployment of nuclear energy, is against cap and trade, is against carbon taxes and instead supports a fee and dividend approach with 100% of fee revenue returned to the public and 0% going to any government entity. Thanks

    • The framework in No.2 puts organizations and people who support stronger emission reductions closer to the bottom right.

      James Hansen is somewhat typical of many of those within the climate science discursive stream who advocate radical reductions, but not necessarily with the climate justice focus of more politicized green groups.

  5. I would be interested in the answer to Barry Woods’s question – are you aware of the existence of Anthony Watts (WattsUpWithThat blog) and Steve McIntyre (Climate Audit blog)?

  6. JJB:
    I, too, find the communications graph fascinating. I posted the following on Bill Hooke’s LOTRW:

    “If the circles were sized according to the amount each spent on climate change, I suspect Exxon Mobil would end up only slightly bigger than the AMS. Frankly, I think Big Oil isn’t as worked up as the Alarmist cultists usually portray it to be. Interested – sure. Spending money to lobby against measures that could harm their business – sure. But beyond that, we have BP investing in several science ventures that aim toward an alternative energy future. Even Exxon Mobil – the cultists’ “Monster in the Closet” – has had a flourishing (multi-million dollar) biofuels program.

    I look forward to a revised diagram based on more objective criteria. For example, let’s use contextual analysis to determine who’s communicating what semi-quantitatively. Or look at budgets and balance sheets to determine who’s spending what on what.”

    The suggestion above of looking at numbers of “members” is also a good one. However, none of us should ever forget that “consensus” is not equal to truth, nor vehemence equal to evidence. For the record, while I conclude that the climate has changed, I don’t think we yet have sufficient conclusive evidence to damn either CO2 or Man for the observed changes.

  7. Pingback: Mapping Climate Communication | ecoAffect

  8. Bishop Hill is a UK blog (not USA)
    Climate Audit is Canadian,( not USA)..

    actually both are just people, Andrew Montford, and Steve McIntyre. why did you list them as blogs..

    similarly, Judith Curry, Judith Curry is an individual.
    As is WattsUp With That blog, which is Anthony Watts (and individual)

    Tamsin Edwards is described an individual, but she is known for her blog – All Models are Wrong…

    my point is what is the distinction between individuals and blogs.. Shown differently, when blogs are often individuals..

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