Pre-COP26: Springer Nature Announces ‘Climate Research in Action’

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The quickening approach to the UN Climate Change Conference gets a boost in a new compilation from Holtzbrinck’s Springer Nature.

The Springer Nature Group stand in Hall 4 last week at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Topping: ‘Communicating the Evidence to Society at Large’
As might be expected, academic and scholarly publishers are working to demonstrate their relevance to the many fields of research engaged with the Earth’s climate crisis as the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 approaches, set to run October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow.

New media messaging from Holtzbrinck’s Springer Nature London offices is announcing a Climate Research in Action site. While Springer terms it a “campaign,” this, of course, is an aggregator, pulling together some fine climate-related content from the company’s Nature portfolio and offering free access to those items during the run of COP26.

The urgency of the situation is being demonstrated again, even as this article is written, in southern Italy. Reuters Rome, with reporting by Antonio Parrinello in Catania and Angelo Amante in the Italian capital, writes that the sea off Sicily has been as much as eight degrees warmer than is usual for this time of year as a cyclonic storm has struck. At least two deaths are reported so far in Catania and in Gravina to the north.

The storm may only be peaking on Thursday and Friday, according to international reports, Euronews with the Associated Press adding that a third person is believed missing. The regional president, Nello Musumeci, is quoted, saying, “Without courageous decisions that cannot be postponed by the G20 and COP26, we will periodically find ourselves counting the damage and, God forbid, more victims.”

“In addition to its newly collated climate collection, Springer tells the news media today (October 26), “the microsite includes a science-focused guide to COP26 and The Ozone Story, a timeline detailing how the work of Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner, Jonathan Shanklin, and their team—revealed in a 1985 paper submitted to Nature, inspired global changes in policy and behavior after the discovery of a hole in the ozone layer.”

Sherer: ‘To Support the World’s Ambition’

Artwork from the newly released ‘Climate Research in Action’ microsite. Image: Springer Nature

This offering of climate-related material is, Springer Nature says, a response to the call for academic evidence made by the United Kingdom’s COP26 president, Alok Sharma.

“The campaign shines a light on insights that will inform how we will mitigate and adapt to our future world and support the world’s ambition for a successful COP26.”Thea Sherer, Springer Nature

In that address issued on May 17, Sharma said to the academic community, in part, “Help governments to see clearly that they can, and they must, take critical steps now.”

And it will, of course, be quite interesting to see if Boris Johnson’s hosting government itself is willing to accept and respond to the academic world when it points out that No. 10 “can, and must, take critical steps now.”

Springer Nature has also, it says, partnered with Eurostar—the high-speed rail service between the United Kingdom and Europe—to promote its “Climate Research in Action” site “to COP26 delegates and activists traveling to Glasgow on the ‘Climate Train.'” That term is a reference to the 1997 project to get 36 environmental specialists to the Kyoto conference by train, boat, and bicycle.

Today’s “Climate Train” comprises Eurostar, ProRail, NS, Avanti West Coast, and Youth for Sustainable Travel in a bid to get COP26 participants onto rails rather than into the air. “Traveling to London by Eurostar instead of plane emits up to 93 percent less CO2 per passenger,” according to Eurostar’s own statement, “and a freight train can replace an average of 56 trucks.”

In prepared comments, we hear this time from Thea Sherer, Springer’s director of sustainability, and from Nigel Topping, the UN’s “High Level Climate Action Champion”–the world body’s regrettably silly-sounding title for what should be a critically important and intensely serious role. There are, actually two “champions” currently onboard with the UN ahead of COP26–Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz. They’re used as civilian “ambassadors” are in other UN activities, meant to serve as community boosters.

It’s unclear how effective this sort of marketing is, but it’s clear than neither “champion” at the moment is the mere cheerleader that the role might suggest. Both have fine credentials and experience in the field of climate-related industry.

Nigel Topping

In his comment for Springer Nature’s release of its compilation, Topping is quoted, saying, “Scientists have been sounding the alarm on climate for decades, as this new campaign shows.

“Policy makers and other key stakeholders in the fight against climate need the support of scientists and research to continue to hold us to account and ensure that our efforts to tackle climate change measure up to the problem.

“However, researchers, like many of us in the climate community, also need to find new and engaging ways of communicating the evidence to society at large, who often have the ear of decision makers. It’s important to translate technical detail into powerful storytelling that engages the general public.

“The ‘Climate Research in Action’ campaign does exactly that, and articulates the impact research can have on climate action.”

Thea Sherer

At Springer, Sherer is quoted, saying, “COP26 is the most important global collaboration on climate change for a generation.

“Research can provide policymakers from around the world with the evidence they need to make crucial climate decisions. ‘Climate Research in Action,’ an anthology of leading research published by Springer Nature in this space, aims to make the scientific evidence front-of-mind as we head toward COP.

“The campaign shines a light on insights that will inform how we will mitigate and adapt to our future world and support the world’s ambition for a successful COP26.”

We reported in April on Sherer’s appointment as CAO, climate action officer, at Springer Nature.

Some of the many stately windmills at work on the outskirts of Frankfurt, as seen last week during Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

More from us on Springer Nature is here, more on scholarly publishing is here, and more on open access is here. More from us on COP26 is here, and more on world publishing and Earth’s climate crisis is here.  More from us on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

Facebook Twitter

Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.