Mapping the Contours of Climate Change

Monday 09 March 2009 19:30 GMT

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


With formal negotiations on the new international climate change treaty due to open in three weeks time, Independent readers are starting to work with the Debategraph community to develop a comprehensive map of the issues around climate change that are confronting the negotiators.

The map (above) is part of a wider online collective intelligence project, ESSENCE 2009 – being run in conjunction with the Open University and MIT and supported by the World Federation of UN Associations – that is building towards the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The map is still in the early stages of development; however, it has already benefited from significant input from, among others, Mark Klein at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, and the excellent debates at the IQ2 Green Festival on Climate Change held at the Royal Geographical Society at the end of January.

As before, the whole structure of the map is like a wiki – every aspect is mutable provisional, and open to further refinement – and anyone can add new issues, positions, arguments, events and evidence to the map.

The aim is to weave together the key scientific and political arguments – from all perspectives on the subject – into a rich, transparent structure that anyone can explore and gain a relatively deep understanding of the complex considerations and choices quickly; confident in the knowledge that, as the map matures, all views are being represented fairly, succinctly and in full.

So where you spot gaps, or incorrect and/or unchallenged arguments on the map, please help us to fill the gaps and correct and challenge the arguments.

Each element on the map can be cross-related to any other element on the map; so any point can be seen in the context of any other point. And each element is described not only via the heading and roll-over text shown in the visualization above, but also via an expanded text that can be up to 50,000 characters and include images and other media. You can begin to access and explore this deeper content via the buttons displayed below the graph.

As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with developments on the Climate Change map via the Independent Minds blog and @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And if you would like to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a YouTube video) for your own readers, you can do so using the code shown below:

<iframe src='' frameborder='0' width='490' height='650' scrolling='no'></iframe>

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