Climate change in numbers: How young people make climate change visible with interactive maps and curves

They are economists, web designers, biologists and psychologists, they are young - and they are all united by one desire: to make climate change, its causes and its consequences better understood.

Climate change in numbers: How young people make climate change visible with interactive maps and curves

They are economists, web designers, biologists and psychologists, they are young - and they are all united by one desire: to make climate change, its causes and its consequences better understood. In mid-September, 16 women and men from the Klimadashboard association started the German website Klimadashboard.de. There were 10,000 hits on the first day, and as many again the following week. There is obviously great interest in well-visualized information on topics such as the CO2 budget, hot days and wind energy.

The operators do not use data tracking, but they can easily estimate who is visiting the site based on feedback from individual users, says Johanna Kranz, a doctor of biology didactics. Sometimes school classes sent them photos from the classroom. Students also provide feedback, as do non-governmental organizations and authorities who ask for further data on certain topics. The dashboard is regularly updated and supplemented with data from publicly available sources or those provided to you by scientists or institutions.

Johanna Kranz and two of her colleagues also presented to an international audience, for example at the Extreme Weather Congress in Hamburg, how they make complicated facts clear with their climate dashboard. The organizer of the congress also hired the three of them as fact checkers: If questions came from the audience after presentations, they supported the speakers by quickly delivering info graphics.

“We want to make climate science understandable, prepare the data in a user-friendly manner and offer journalists the opportunity to conduct fact-based climate communication,” explains Cedric Carr, psychology student at the University of Vienna, project manager for the climate dashboard – and actor. “And we want to show the population: these are the facts, and signal to politicians: we are keeping an eye on you,” adds Adrian Hiss, cognitive biologist and activist at Fridays For Future since 2019.

For example when it comes to the topic of the CO2 budget. A petrol-colored curve shows how much of the greenhouse gas Germany has released each year since 2000, and a red-violet line shows how much the country is still allowed to release in order to achieve the 1.5 degree target set in Paris. The sober realization: "If Germany consistently emits the amount of CO₂ in the next few years that it emitted in 2022, the country's CO₂ budget will be used up by the beginning of 2025," says Carr. In a year and a half. In order to stretch the budget until 2045, as the German federal government is aiming for, greenhouse gas emissions would have to fall by 33 percent each year compared to the previous year. In fact, they fell by just 2.7 percent between 2021 and 2022. A discrepancy between desire and reality that can hardly be overlooked.

When will Germany's CO2 budget be used up? Depending on how well it succeeds in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, three different scenarios arise. If CO2 emissions remain as high as before (purple line), the budget will be used up by the beginning of 2025. If the budget is to last until the beginning of 2027, an annual reduction of 129 million tons of CO2 would be needed, a decrease of almost 20 percent per year compared to emissions in 2022 (orange line). In order to achieve the government's goal of climate neutrality by 2045, CO2 emissions would have to fall by 33 percent each year compared to the previous year (yellow line).

Every two weeks you will find a new infographic from the climate dashboard here.

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