Using big data to take the pulse on climate change

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Global Pulse is pleased to launch a new interactive social media monitoring dashboard for exploring online conversations about climate change. This platform was developed in support of the UN Climate Summit and Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team.
Climate change is an issue of ever increasing significance to both policy makers and the public, especially as the impact of climate change on global and local economies has become clear. People care about this critical issue, and this interest is reflected in news headlines and across global social media.
To address climate change from a global leadership level, the United Nations Secretary-General is convening world leaders from government, finance, business, and civil society at the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday 23 September, with the dual purpose of announcing bold new commitments on climate, and sharing examples of climate action on the ground. The Summit is timed to drum up engagement and drive momentum ahead of the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (or COP 21) in Paris 2015. 
To support these groundbreaking initiatives on climate at the UN, Global Pulse hosted the Big Data Climate Challenge to unearth data-driven climate solutions, and developed a social media monitoring dashboard on climate change.


This tool analyzes millions of tweets in English, Spanish and French to look at both volume and content of online conversations which include climate change related keywords. In other words, how much people are talking about climate change and in what contexts. Understanding how people around the world are discussing climate change helps reveal in real time what’s most pertinent for media, advocacy groups and decision makers.
The Climate Monitoring Dashboard shows total volume of tweets about different climate change topics from April to September 2014. The tool updates on a weekly basis to reflect key topics and top hashtags on Twitter, most-tweeted links and key influencers, sentiment, most popular tweets, and online search volumes using Google Trends.
The image above shows an interactive chart of volume of climate-related tweets from April to September, categorized by topic areas including politics, energy, economy, agriculture, forestry, oceans/water and arctic.
Similar to Global Pulse’s Post-2015 Twitter dashboard, launched in 2013, an extensive taxonomy of keywords was developed to extract relevant tweets about climate change from the Twitter firehose. The climate change taxonomy was developed in collaboration with data scientists at IFRIS, Sciences Po and Momentum for Change.


Global news organization Thomson Reuters created a news analytics tool in support of Global Pulse’s work on climate change, timed to launch ahead of the UN Climate Summit and NYC Climate Week. Publicly accessible through the Thomson Reuters Sustainability website, Sustainability Analytics uses the same taxonomy of keywords from the Global Pulse monitor, against the Thomson Reuters news archive. The media monitor has filtered through over 35,000 news stories from over 1,800 English language news sources, and has identified and categorized more than 35,000 stories related to climate change published so far in 2014 – providing a unique perspective on how climate change topics play out in news media. The tool identifies trending topics, people and companies in the climate change coverage. Visitors can also search by keyword to make specific queries and view the resulting analysis.
We welcome you to explore the Global Pulse dashboard and Thomson Reuters’ news analytics site to see how people around the world are discussing climate change and prioritizing climate action.

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