(1) What is Global Climate Change Week?
Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) is designed to encourage academics in all disciplines and countries to engage with their students and communities on climate change action and solutions. During GCCW (held annually in the second full week of October, in the build up to the annual UN Conference of the Parties meeting) academics alter their programs to coordinate their teaching on some aspect of climate change. They also organise various other activities focused on awareness-raising, behaviour change and political transformation in relation to climate policy, with the participation of students, the community, and the not-for-profit sector.
(2) When did GCCW begin?
GCCW began in 2015. See the report on GCCW 2015 here.
(3) Why focus on academic communities?
There are already numerous climate change organisations and movements open to citizens in general or to particular groups of citizens. GCCW provides a forum for academic communities to do their part, in ways that are especially appropriate to them. In addition, GCCW provides a prompt for academics to organise various forms of outreach to the general public (such as talks in schools and interviews with media organisations), and for academics to collaborate with various other groups in society (such as NGOs, activist groups, and the wider community).
(4) How is GCCW organised and managed?
Currently, GCCW is organised and managed chiefly by a Coordinating Committee based in Australia. This is because GCCW first started to take shape in Australia. As time goes on, we hope that further Coordinating Committees and Advisory Councils will be set up in other countries and regions of the world, as well as a representative global Coordinating Committee and Advisory Council. Fortunately, academics around the world do not need to wait for these further layers of organisation in order to start organising GCCW at their own universities on Oct 10-16 2016.
(5) Are there other similar events?
There are already a number of events called ‘Climate Week’, including one in the UK (http://www.climateweek.com/), one in New York (http://www.climateweeknyc.org/), and one in Hamburg (http://www.hafencity.com/en/news/4-hamburg-climate-week-in-hafencity.html). However, none of these events is international, let alone global, and none is focused mainly on academics and universities in the way GCCW is. So GCCW does not be duplicate something already being done.
(6) Are there any other groups of organisations doing related work?
Yes, including the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-sustainable-development/), the UN University’s Regional Centres of Expertise Network (http://www.ias.unu.edu/sub_page.aspx?catID=108&ddlID=183), the International Climate Change Information Programme (http://www.iccip.net/), the Alliance for Climate Education (http://www.acespace.org/), the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (http://www.aashe.org/) and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Food Recovery Challenge (http://www.pagreencolleges.org/climate_ed). Similar points apply as in (5) above: none of these organisations are currently organising anything very like GCCW, so we don’t need to worry about duplication, but we should seek to learn from these other initiatives and to coordinate with them.
(7) Why the second full week of October?
First, most universities around the world are in session at that time. Second, the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties meetings take place annually in November or December, and so GCCW is used to heighten the pressure on policy makers and other powerful actors for more resolute action in response to climate change in the build-up to that.
Climate change is such a complex and contentious issue that it can be hard to know where to look for reliable information. We’ve put together a list of resources to help you learn more about climate change:
- For detailed and authoritative information, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an essential source. Their Fifth Assessment Report includes three major working group reports and a synthesis report. Also of value is their FAQ relating to the report on the physical science basis of climate change.
- For information focused on the impacts of climate change in Australia, both the BOM and the CSIRO have excellent pages.
- The Royal Society in the UK has produced a variety of great resources, including guides, videos, reports and more. In addition to the longer publications, there are also short summaries and videos that provide clear and concise explanations of important issues. All this material can be found here.
- The Australian Academy of Science has a page on the science of climate change that features clear and concise information on how climate change works and the impacts it is having.
- Gavin Schmidt is a climate scientist and science communication advocate. His TED Talk on climate models is both informative and accessible. There is also a variety of good material on his NASA page, which you can find here.
- Nature’s page on climate change provides a variety of detailed academic articles on various issues relating to climate change. It should be noted that some material is blocked by a paywall, but some of the articles are freely accessible.
- The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s What We Know initiative is focused on the three R’s of climate change: reality, risk and response. They provide of variety of resources, including summaries of climate science, reports, news, and interviews with leading scientists.
- RealClimate provides a running commentary on climate change issues from working climate scientists. They provide insightful responses to climate stories as they develop. You can find their page here.
- The Climate Reality Project is committed to raising awareness about climate change and motivating people to take action. Their page provides a variety of resources for learning about climate change and attending and organising events to take action on climate issues.
- The Skeptical Science page provides in-depth investigations into climate change skeptics. It features a range of resources, including a very useful section looking at the ten most commonly used climate myths.
- This page on IOP Science features an informative video on the consensus on global warming. It also includes an in-depth article and valuable supplementary data.