Empowering Climate Literacy by Open Access to Research Results

Tomorrow is the Earth Day (22 April), and we dedicate the last day of the Earth Week 2017 to the official theme of the day, “Environment and Climate Literacy”. To kick start the day, Georgii Alexandrov, the Editor-in-Chief of Carbon Balance and Management tells us how researchers empower us with knowledge about environmental protection.

Georgii Alexandrov
Georgii Alexandrov

Climate literacy and education in environmental science is becoming ever more relevant and might become a burning issue in the years ahead. Governments must move quickly to turn the climate change agreement reached in Paris into actions, but to do this they need climate-literate citizens, that is, the citizens who make science-based decisions with regard to actions that affect Earth’s climate system.

The Paris Agreement requires a transformation of certain aspects of the world economy. The national plans for this transformation must be neither modest nor unrealistic to withstand public discussions. But who is capable of discussing them? Arguably those who are literate in various aspects of the global carbon cycle, who are able to distinguish between best case scenarios and realistic options. This also presents the need for a public environment that can host said discussions and disseminate relevant information about climate and the carbon cycle.

CBMThere are many sources of information on the global carbon cycle. One of them is Carbon Balance and Management — an open access research journal published by SpringerOpen. This journal provides unrestricted access to research results on all aspects of global carbon cycle and helps scientists to publicise original research, which can be used by science journalists and educators in communicating new facts and emerging theories.

It can be an excellent learning experience to see how scientists discuss, for example, the options for implementing Paris Agreement and the “discrepancies between the scientific understanding of mitigation efforts needed to reach global targets and what mitigation options are being adopted by Parties in terms of domestic policies”. Scientists may focus on overlooked and unknown facts such as significant contribution of mature Amazon forests to climate change mitigation, or on evaluating current state of the knowledge on a specific subject like fire management in savannah ecosystems. But each article begins from explaining the background of reported research and shines a light on what is known and what is not known in a specific field of carbon cycle research.

All articles published in Carbon Balance and Management are peer-reviewed. They also are published under an open access licence that boosts the growth of new knowledge on the global carbon cycle through unrestricted dissemination of research results and facilitates preparation of teaching and learning materials through granting free redistribution and adaptation of illustrative materials. Those who are looking for climate literacy tips might consider the journal as a source of credible scientific information for self-education.

Learning is not only a prerequisite for actions, but also the action itself!

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