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The aim of the project MEDEA is to use digital mapping tools to try and trace the provenance and pivot points in these debates within different institutional settings. We look principally at the construction of scientific expertise in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the evolution of adaptation as an issue within the international negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We also have a separate case study that follows regional deliberations on climate impacts and water management in the southwest of France. This website presents the results from the first two investigations of this ANR funded project, which was was made possible by a joint collaboration between social and data scientists (Sciences Po, médialab), climate scientists (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement) and designers (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs). Experimental in its combination of disciplines and digital data methods, our mapping activities attempt to make legible to a non-expert public the institutional and topical transformations within the leading scientific and political arenas of the climate debate.

Publication date 2014-10
GUIDO Daniele
ROGERS Richard
MUNK Anders Kristian

This website presents the results of the EU research project EMAPS, as well as its process: an experiment to use computation and visualization to harness the increasing availability of digital data and mobilize it for public debate. To do so, EMAPS gathered a team of social and data scientists, climate experts and information designers. It also reached out beyond the walls of Academia and engaged with the actors of the climate debate.


This article proposes an original analysis of the international debate on climate change through the use of digital methods. Its originality is twofold. First, it examines a corpus of reports covering 18 years of international climate negotiations, a dataset never explored before through digital techniques. This corpus is particularly interesting because it provides the most consistent and detailed reporting of the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Second, in this paper we test an original approach to text analysis that combines automatic extractions and manual selection of the key issue-terms. Through this mixed approach, we tried to obtain relevant findings without imposing them on our corpus. The originality of our corpus and of our approach encouraged us to question some of the habits of digital research and confront three common misunderstandings about digital methods that we discuss in the first part of the article (section ‘Three misunderstandings on digital methods in social sciences’). In addition to reflecting on methodology, however, we also wanted to offer some substantial contribution to the understanding of UN-framed climate diplomacy. In the second part of the article (section ‘Three maps on climate negotiations’) we will therefore introduce some of the preliminary results of our analysis. By discussing three visualizations, we will analyze the thematic articulation of the climatic negotiations, the rise and fall of these themes over time and the visibility of different countries in the debate.

This website is part of an emerging study looking at how “climate-risk” is described, measured and turned into an issue for political and economic concern. In this first branch of the project, we look at narrative data from over 600 corporate disclosure fillings of companies traded on the U.S. stock exchange. These filings (called 10-k forms) are federally mandated reports where companies are required to share with the public information that might help investors decide whether or not to buy stocks in a given company. We took climate-related excerpts from the 10-k filings (available at and ran this narrative data through some natural language processing and network spatialization software. We then turned the results into a series of visualizations that reveal different trends in how companies are talking (or not talking) about climate-risk in their 10-k forms. These visualizations include: Basemap: a network visualization of the top 250 climate-issue terms used by companies in 5 major industry sectors of the Russell 3000. Terms Table: A break down of each of these terms, year by year, and their usage by industry sector. Companies: radial diagrams of each company in our dataset that provide quick profiles of what kind of issues related to climate change are of concern for each company, and how much they are writing about their approach to these concerns in their 10-k filings. Visit the About section to learn more about 10-k filings and rules of disclosure. Visit the Methods section to understand how we isolated the different excerpts from the disclosure reports.