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Curtin leads five-year climate change research project

Media release

The public will be able to have their say on climate change thanks to a new social media website being developed by Curtin University of Technology researchers.

Professor Janette Hartz-Karp, from Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute, and Professor Mark Balnaves, from Curtin’s Department of Internet Studies, are the only Australian researchers involved in the five-year international project. 

“This project, which also involves the University of Alberta together with Canadian private and public sector organisations, will look at how we can understand public opinion on climate change by using social media,” Professor Hartz-Karp said.

“It will not only inform the public, it will also provide a new platform for documenting and evaluating public opinion and draw on this information to help shape legislation and policy.”

Professor Balnaves said the interactive media website would help translate scientific findings into easy to understand language for policy makers and the public, which would help to promote closer cooperation and knowledge sharing and assist in decision-making.

“We all need to act to reduce the impact on the planet’s climate,” he said.

“Well designed tools to increase public participation can play a pivotal role in shifting the politics of climate change in Australia and internationally and aid in motivating community action.

“The website will provide an easy way for governments to disseminate information and seek informed discussion and feedback from citizens in a comprehensive way.”

The project has started and the website is expected to go live in 2011.
Contacts: Professor Janette Hartz-Karp; Australian Sustainable Development Institute; Curtin; 08 9266 9035; j.hartz-karp@curtin.edu.au; OR Professor Mark Balnaves; Department of Internet Studies; Curtin; 08 9266 7621; m.balnaves@curtin.edu.au OR Monique Billstein; Public Relations; Curtin; 08 9266 3353; 0401 103 018; M.Billstein@curtin.edu.au