Climate Crisis: Mapping where the earth will become uninhabitable
2023 Finalist

Climate Crisis: Mapping where the earth will become uninhabitable

Funke Mediengruppe

Berlin, Germany

Category Newsroom Development

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

On April 4, 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report, warning that we are headed for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by 2100. This had already become apparent through data and partial reports. A journalistic evaluation was to clarify the drastic consequences - understandable for everyone. The general attention on this topic should be drawn to publications of the company's own newspaper brands

Floodings, heat waves, drought, extreme weather events: The ICC reports contain solid projections of the consequences of climate change. Climate researchers are and have been calculating these effects with sophisticated models. But potential impact remains abstract, elusive to lay people. Most people can hardly imagine the dimensions of climate change, how many people will be affected by it and where the consequences will be felt most strongly.

The FUNKE Interaktiv Team therefore focused on a single question: Where is human life no longer possible under natural conditions in the future? At its core, the answer was to be answered visually. After experimenting with maps, the team decided on the 3D variant: an interactive globe.

Results for this campaign

On the same day as the IPCC presentation, the team published its freely accessible web project - in German and English language. The self-coded page shows a globe of the affected regions. Bars protruding from it visualize the population currently living in places that will be uninhabitable in the future.

Next to a more guided scrollytelling containing the most important context and information, the website also features an "explore" option that readers can use to interact with the data and visualization themselves. Additionally, regions and states that are expected to be hit hardest are listed. An extensive FAQ was added to explain jargon and basic concepts of climate research and policy.

Behind the visualization is a lot of work with data: The team collected scientific data from different researchers and institutions. For each variable the team defined threshold values for “uninhabitable” conditions and processed the data from different sources -  partly with code that took over 9 hours to run. The team was in close contact with the scientists to make sure the methods were legitimate.

With this project, the FUNKE Interaktiv Team demonstrated its innovative strength in the development of interactive visualizations. The media brands were strengthened and awareness increased as a result - even beyond Germany. The project received a lot of attention on Twitter, Reddit and by being included in curated lists of news/websites.

Climate scientists, politicians and climate activists shared it on their websites, social media and LinkedIn. And the project has been featured in talks held by leading scientists. It was named one of the best of 2022’s data journalism both by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) and, was nominated for two Online Journalism Awards of which it won the Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling.



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