How we gave the world a seat at the Paris climate talks

A thorny problem

Governments of the world come together annually to negotiate solutions to climate change. This event, run by the United Nations, is known as the “conference of the parties” or COP. In 2015, the 21st annual COP was held in Paris, France and Capulet was there to give the world a seat at the table.

At COP, there are formal negotiations between governments and a larger conversation that includes global non-profits, business communities and active citizens everywhere. The UN wanted a way to broadcast stories and data from the conference and surface conversations emerging globally about COP and climate change on social media.

Navigating the wilderness

The result was Climate Talks Live, a stylish website that collected real-time data from Twitter, sorted it and displayed it on an easy-to-understand dashboard. Visitors saw trending tweets, topics and Twitter accounts in addition to commentary from non-profits, COP attendees and media. The site worked on mobile and was broadcast on large screens displayed around the COP venue so negotiators could keep an eye on the global conversation.

This microsite presented a snapshot of daily data, content and stories from COP 21.

Out of the woods

Like many of Capulet’s projects, Climate Talks Live is a twist on a conventional idea. Rather than hoard Twitter data collected during COP 21 and only make it available to key staff–that’s standard business intelligence thinking–we shared it with the world. Climate Talks Live offered a way to engage the world with these often inaccessible, intergovernmental negotiations. 

The media loved it. Thanks to easy sharing tools built into the dashboard, several major media outlets including Forbes and El País, embedded Climate Talks Live during COP 21 on their websites, driving hundreds of thousands of visitors to the site. On December 13, 2015, the day the Paris Agreement was signed, nearly 200,000 tweets were tracked on the dashboard.

Climate Talks Live gathered real-time data from Twitter, sorting it and visualizing it for a global audience.

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