Press Conference to Launch Initiative on Interactive Awareness-Promotion of Global Climate Change Impacts

22 September 2009

Press Conference to Launch Initiative on Interactive Awareness-Promotion of Global Climate Change Impacts

Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference to Launch Initiative on Interactive Awareness-Promotion

of Global Climate Change Impacts


The Government of Denmark had embarked on ground-breaking initiatives aimed at opening up debate to citizens of the world in the lead-up to and during the course of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said today at Headquarters.

At a press conference to launch a collaborative effort by his Government, Google and YouTube, Mr. Rasmussen said the joint initiative formed the basis for the model of cooperation with Google and YouTube, resulting in today’s launch of two new state-of-the-art features that sought, through the use of web-based activities and social media, to ensure that peoples’ voices were transmitted right into the meeting halls in the Danish capital.

The new features, a number of brand new Google Earth layers as well as a new and exciting COP15 (Fifteenth Conference of States Parties) YouTube Channel, would engage as many people as possible worldwide through modern communications platforms, said Mr. Rasmussen, who was accompanied by Klavs Arnoldi Holm, Under-secretary for Public Diplomacy at the Danish Foreign Ministry; Rebecca Moore, Manager of Google Earth Outreach; and Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics at YouTube

He said the Google Earth layers would introduce new ways of visualising the impacts of climate change and enable viewers to zoom in on neighbourhoods to see the expected consequences of climate change in very detailed ways.  In addition, the COP15 YouTube platform would allow citizens to submit videos and opinions on climate change to decisions makers.  It would also feature videos of world leaders, experts and opinion makers attending the Conference as they delivered their statements.

The Prime Minister went on to say that YouTube videos from all over the world would be shown throughout the Conference.  Furthermore, a climate thinkers’ blog had been established on the official Danish COP15 website where everybody could make their voices heard.  A special climate greeting function had been added to the official website to enable citizens to send brief messages directly to decision makers in Copenhagen.  They would be displayed on wide screens and in public places throughout Copenhagen.  The two-way communication would enable the world audience to watch the negotiations live on the Internet and to watch behind-the-scenes activities.

Ms. Moore said the Google initiatives were a series of Google Earth tours and layers relating to climate change and aimed at making climate information much more accessible and understandable to the general public.  They brought together scientific information about the world in a changing climate, including temperature and precipitation projections under a range of emission scenarios.  They also provided information on rising risks to food security, as well as growing stress on water and coastal zones.  Additional tours and layers, adaptations, and solutions to be launched over the coming weeks would include actual on-the-ground case studies of actions taken by non-governmental organizations and local communities in response to the challenge.

She said three tours being launched today would include an introduction by Nobel Laureate Al Gore, a former Vice President of the United States, as well as high- and low-emission scenarios featuring visualization through the use of data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  The tours included links to data from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on actual emissions in countries that had ratified that treaty’s Kyoto Protocol.

Mr. Grove said YouTube’s approach was based on people educating other people about the effects of climate change.  As the world’s largest video-sharing site, with hundreds of millions of clips viewed every day and 20 hours of video uploaded every minute, YouTube represented a democratic platform through which a lot of people could get a lot of messages out.  Its partnership with the Government of the Netherland was tapping into that large and vibrant online community to bring the voices of average citizens to the Conference.

Under the Raise Your Voice Campaign being launched by YouTube, citizens from anywhere in the world would be able, from today, to upload video on climate change, he continued.  On 30 October, there would be a selection of finalists chosen through a vote by the YouTube community, and the top two video makers would to spend four days with the leaders assembled at the Copenhagen Conference and have their voices heard.

A second phase of the campaign would allow YouTube viewers to submit questions for the leaders in Copenhagen, both in text and video, and then vote on the best questions, he said.  The questions would be addressed in two ways –- through an upload booth where world leaders could come in and answer them directly via YouTube channels, and in a televised debate to be co-hosted by YouTube and CNN, where leading climate change personalities would respond in a live town hall forum to be broadcast worldwide on CNN International or streamed live on YouTube.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.