DecarboNet – The Best Is Yet To Come

Lara Piccolo, Miriam Fernandez, and Harith Alani from KMi travelled to Brussels last week to run the successful first review of the FP7 CAPS DecarboNet project. Harith Alani; the coordinator of DecarboNet, told the reviewers in his opening presentation to ‘Keep Calm, because the best is yet to come’ from this three year project.

The review was also attended by representatives of all other DecarboNet partners; University of Sheffield, Vienna University, Modul University, Green Energy Options, World Wide Fund Switzerland, and Waag Society. 

DecarboNet addresses the vital societal challenge of battling climate change, by incentivising change in people’s behaviour towards energy consumption. Behaviour change has been found to be key for reducing the consumption of energy, and for engaging the public in energy debates. The project is a multidisciplinary effort to tackle these problems by identifying determinants of collective awareness, translating awareness into behavioural change, and providing novel methods and strategies to influencing, measuring, and monitoring this change.

In its first year, DecarboNet objectives were to (i) gather requirements from two use cases, as well as from users, through a set of co-creation sessions aimed at studying user engagement in energy debates, and what information could be used, and how, to raise their awareness of the problem and potential remedial solutions and actions, and (ii) to conceptualize and develop the methodological and technological basis to guide and facilitate the further evolution of the DecarboNet platform. 

Highlights from DecarboNet’s first year include (1) production of a Utility Toolkit  for engaging groups in co-creation workshops to raise awareness towards energy, (2) release of three environment-related text analyses tools; ClimaTerm, ClimateMeasure, and Recognyze for entity extraction, (3) analysis of 14 million tweets to identify patterns of engagement around Earth Hour campaigns on social media, (4) extension of Media Watch for Climate Change with several functionalities and visualisations, and (5) development of Climate Challenge; an application with a gamification strategy to help people test their climate knowledge against other players. 

The project so far produced 17 scientific publications, one of which won the best paper award, two invited talks, and organised 3 workshops and 2 tutorials.  



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