France, December 2015: In a conference center near Paris, politicians, non-governmental organizations, corporate leaders and civil society assemble to negotiate about a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol. The goal: reaching an international and binding agreement on limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius – the 2 degree target.
Austria, about the same time: In a seminar room at the University of Graz, professors and post-graduates gather to discuss about their latest research findings. The goal: broadening the knowledge about climate change and helping 20 PhD students in obtaining their next academic degree – the 20 degree target.
Undoubtedly, not reaching the 20 degree target would not have the same consequences for life on earth as missing the 2 degree target would have. Yet, accomplishing the first might help achieving the latter (and apart from that would make at least 20 people happy). But how can this be accomplished? Well, of course one way of doing this is to be a ‘commendable’ scientist. Ideally, scientists facilitate knowledge advancements by regularly publishing scientific articles. While such publications might be relevant for the research community (and one’s academic career), they often neglect one important stakeholder: the general public. And this is where ClimateFootnotes comes in.
ClimateFootnotes is a blog that was designed and is run by students of the Doctoral Programme “Climate Change – Uncertainties, Thresholds and Coping Strategies” at the University of Graz. We are an international group of students with different academic backgrounds, including business management, economics, physics, geography, hydrology, philosophy, and sociology. In our daily academic work, we try to make use of this scientific diversity and look at climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective. With the blog, we want to give early stage researchers the possibility to engage with the broader public and provide a platform for climate change scholars on which they can share insights from their research and reflect on current scientific and public debates. We would also like to invite both writers and readers to critically think and discuss about the role of science in the context of climate change.
While the blog ClimateFootnotes will not necessarily help to achieve the 20 degree target, it might still contribute to the discussion about pathways towards the 2 degree target (and has thus the potential to make more than 20 people happy). Enjoy reading!
Picture from COP21 used under Creative Commons License 2.0, made by Mark Dixon, no changes made