Recent years have seen a particularly intense increase in the degree of emphasis on climate issues as a whole and in the level of attention paid to climate change in particular. Finding practical, workable and cost-efficient solutions to the problems posed by climate change is now a global priority, and one which links government and non-government organisations as well as the general public in a way not seen before.
But even though climate change is a matter of great scientific relevance and broad general interest, there are many problems related to its communication. Climate change is often regarded as too broad in scope, too abstract in respect of its implementation, too complex and therefore too difficult to understand. Yet much could be gained by ensuring that matters related to climate change are better understood and that people are motivated to engage in the global efforts to address the challenges it poses.
There is thus a perceived need for concrete action to address the problems inherent to the communication of climate change and to undertake a set of information, communication, education and awareness-raising initiatives which will allow it to better understood. It is on the basis of this need that the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme (ICCIRP) has been created.
The need for the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme was identified during Climate 2008, the world's first scientific conference on climate change, which was held online from 3 to 7 November 2008. Climate 2008, which was followed by Climate 2009 to Climate 2013, was an initiative led by HAW Hamburg in partnership with a wide range of national and international organisations such as UNEP, UNESCO, WMO, IPCC, FAO and many other agencies.
In the context of Climate 2008, a meeting which was virtual in nature but nonetheless attended by over 2,000 participants from 162 countries, it became clear that there is a global demand for information on climate change and a need for mechanisms which allow for a broader understanding of what it means and how it affects people's lives. Due to its scope, it is necessary to consider climate change as a process influenced by various factors. The search for solutions to the problems caused by climate change cannot be unidimensional. Instead, the issue needs to be pursued in an integrated way, from the following perspectives:
The creation of the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme is a concrete step towards the goal of 'climate change understanding for all' and supports ongoing efforts in the search for solutions to the problems associated with climate change.
The aims of the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme are as follows:
- To disseminate the latest findings from scientific research on climate change, including elements related to its environmental, social, economic and policy aspects in a way that allows them to be understood by non-specialist audiences. This will take place via books, book chapters, journal articles and the media.
- To undertake education, communication and awareness-raising projects on matters related to climate change in both industrialised and developing countries in cooperation with UN agencies, universities, scientific institutions, government bodies, NGOs and other stakeholders.
- To bring together people and organisations to discuss the problems, barriers, challenges, opportunities and potential related to communication on climate change.
Because current Internet technologies can contribute substantially to the rapid and efficient dissemination of information and the latest scientific findings from climate change research, the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme alsos strive to help to meet the demand for climate-friendly and climate-neutral events. Online events such as Climate 2009 and the European Climate Teach-In Days have therefore been organised as a complement to conventional events.
Last but not least, the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme encourages increased networking and information exchange and promotes new cooperation initiatives and projects.
The ICCIRP aims to reach a broad audience consisting of
- decision makers,
- local communities and
- interested individuals.
All these groups will benefit from the activities undertaken as part of the ICCIRP.
Some of the most common misconceptions related to climate change are:
- Climate change is too abstract an issue
- Climate change is too broad a topic
- Climate change is mostly a technical matter where calculations and forecasts are made
- There are no trained people to handle the approach of climate change topics in an understandable way
- The amount of resources needed to communicate climate change do not justify it
- Climate change has too wide a scientific basis
If one carefully examines them, the above outlined misconceptions have quite deep roots. It is thus important to understand them so as to allow misconceptions to be overcome. The following activities will thus be performed by the "International Climate Change Information and Research Programme":
- Organization of information events on different aspects of climate change, including environmental, social, economic and policy aspects;
- Production of books, book chapters, journal articles and information which may be disseminated via the media. The newly-created "International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management" is an example of the type of work planned;
- Execution of education, communication and awareness-raising projects on matters related to climate change in both industrialised and developing countries;
- Organisation of joint activities in cooperation with UN agencies, universities, scientific institutions, government bodies, NGOs and other stakeholders.
The "International Climate Change Information and Research Programme" will also network people and organisations ways to discuss the problems, barriers, challenges and chances and potentials related to communication on climate change.
Ultimately, the "International Climate Change Information and Research Programme" will break the barriers seen when one tries to communicate climate change and suggest measures to address the existing deficiencies.
Communication, information and training on matters related to climate change are perceived as important in mobilising people and catalysing action. Over the years, the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme has organised a range of events across all continents, reaching a wide range of stakeholders. It has also spearheaded the world's leading peer-reviewed book series on climate change:https://www.springer.com/series/8740 as part of a large outreach exercise. Since 2008, over 50,000 climate scientists, members of NGOs, government officials and and practitioners from over 100 countries have taken part in or benefitted from ICCIRP´s activities.
ICCIRP is presently running a major, long-term study which analyses how climate change communication takes place across various audiences. The focus of the research is on the developing countries which are part of the DAC list: http://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/daclist.htm. The study is being performed over a five-year period (from 1 June 2018 to 30 May 2023), and will involve a wide range of stakeholders across the developing world,where there is a chronic paucity of research and data on climate change information and communication.
The study is structured in various stages and will entail the organisation of specialist events and the collection of data across a variety of audiences. These include
- media professionals,
- policy- and decision makers,
- members of NGOs,
- workers at international aid agencies,
- industry representatives.
To systematise the data collection process, simple and straightforward instruments will be deployed, containing a set of very specific questions which were developed by a panel of experts. These will be sent to each group, in a step-by-step approach, for completion.The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679, approved by the European Union (EU), applies. This means that ICCIRP treats all data with very strict data protection procedures to ensure they are only used for the purpose of each survey. ICCIRP will also seek respondents' explicit consent regarding participation in each survey and the processing of the data provided in an anonymised manner. The results of each study will be published in peer-reviewed journals via open access, so that they are readily available to a wide audience. Further information about how to take part in the study will be released by means of specific calls for contributions.
Additional details can be obtained by contacting the ICCIRP team at: info (@) iccip.net
Created in 2008, the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme (ICCIRP) is a world leader in information, communication and training on matters related to climate change.
In addition to a robust publications strategy which has been documenting and promoting experiences, projects and field-based work on climate change adaptation by means of the Climate Change Management Series over the past decade, ICCIRP is the leading provider of training on climate change issues, organising a variety of events on various themes and catering to the information needs of a diversity of stakeholders and social groups round the world.
As part of its mandate and strategy, ICCIRP is now leading a long-term research initiative titled Climate Change Responses and Societies (CCRS). As the title implies, this new initiative intends to investigate, analyse, test and support the deployment of appropriate responses to the many challenges a changing climate poses to societies. It will consider, among other things, poverty alleviation, gainful employment and income generation, social inclusion, health, gender issues, sustainable development, and the livelihoods of communities and societies.
The primary focus of the CCRS initiative is developing countries. However, this does not preclude it from engaging in initiatives in industrialised nations, since they too suffer from a wide range of climate change impacts and also need to pursue adequate responses.
CCRS will run from March 2019 to February 2030 and will directly support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) while at the same time contributing to the other SDGs. In addition to contract-based work, it will perform a variety of commissioned studies and will document and disseminate experiences deriving from case studies and pilot projects. A group of 50 leading climate experts working at institutions in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific region are affiliated with CCRS, offering a formidable body of knowledge and expertise covering all releant areas in the field of climate change adaptation.
CCRS will operate hand in hand with universities and research centres, UN bodies, international development and donor agencies, development banks and national governments, which can benefit from in-depth knowledge and expertise in the design, monitoring and implementation of technically adequate, scientifically valid, socially just and ethically acceptable climate change adaptation responses. Further details on CCRS can be obtained by contacting the ICCIRP office in Hamburg. We welcome the opportunity to explore cooperation and joint initiatives with organisations working in the field of adaptation responses that share our interests.
The International Climate Change Information and Research Programme is an initiative led by the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany, working in cooperation with a wide number of organisations:
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- European Space Agency (ESA)
- European Environment Agency (EEA)
- Europäische Kommission: Gemeinsame Forschungsstelle, Institut für Umwelt und Nachhaltigkeit
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- Global Environment Facility (GEF)
- Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC)
- Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
- Baltic University Programme (BUP)
- International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
- Sahara and Sahel Observatory
- ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
- Information Board of Climate Change Communication (IOCCC)
In addition, ICCIRP works with various media partners who may report on its activities:
- NDR Info
- TIME Magazine
- The Economist
- European Sustainable Review
- Klima - Das Magazin
- P.M. Magazin
- Baltic Sea Magazine
- Verkehrsrundschau Magazin
The media partners are important in making the programme's activities more visible and communicating them more widely.
The following universities are founding members of ICCIRP:
HAW Hamburg (Coordination)
Denmark Technical University (Denmark)
Technical University of Istanbul (Turkey)
Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)
Cambridge University (UK)
Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Dèveloppement (France)
Polytechnic of Turino (Italy)
University of Latvia (Latvia)
Baltic University Programme (a network of 200 universities in Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Russia and Sweden)
Columbia University (USA)
Yale University (USA)
Cornell University (USA)
University of Ontario (Canada)
University of Regina (Canada)
University of Melbourne (Australia)
BRAC University (Bangladesh)
TERI University (India)
Alexandria University (Egypt)
University of Nairobi (Kenya)
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal)
Bolivia Catholic University (Bolivia)
University of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
University of Chile (Chile)
Prof. Walter Leal (BSc, PhD, DSc, DL, DLitt)
"International Climate Change Information and Research Programme"
Research and Transfer Centre "Sustainable Development and
Climate Change Management"
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
Faculty of Life Sciences
info (@) iccip.net