SAP Business Assurance Report 2023

Social intelligence for climate action

Conversations about the climate crisis have become commonplace in every sphere of life, yet concrete actions toward a sustainable future remain rare. Now more than ever, this gap between words and results is cause for concern.

Social media platforms host 60% of the world’s population. They are therefore a rich source of insight into international trends and attitudes toward climate change. In 2022, Dassault Systèmes and Capgemini joined forces with French technology startup BLOOM to harness the power of artificial intelligence and analyze the global conversation on climate.

BLOOM’s analysis sheds light on the burning question: why, despite increasingly obvious signs of climate change, are we collectively not doing more? Guided by key United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the data helps highlight widespread beliefs about the climate crisis, as well as the critical barriers to action.

The study conducted by BLOOM, Dassault Systèmes and Capgemini delved into conversations around climate on social media to identify and better understand global citizens’ key concerns.

The group launched its eight-month study of English-language climate conversations on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. The study examined 14 million “documents,” or written posts and comments. It identified 330 million “actors,” or individuals who interact with a document. BLOOM tracked 480 million actions, called “engagements,” meaning posts, comments, likes or other reactions, over the course of the study.

A sophisticated algorithm, based on natural language processing models, was deployed on all 14 million documents, analyzing them for tone and emotional content.

This thorough analysis, combined with Cambridge University’s typology of climate delay discourses, helped identify 5 key obstacles to climate in action:

  1. Disconnected optimism
    Rewards and centers ambitious – but unrealistic – ideas for solutions

  2. Information gap
    A lack of reliable and useful information promotes skepticism and a sense of powerlessness among citizens

  3. Fear of downsides
    An outsized focus on the negative consequences of action that can detract from genuine opportunities for change

  4. Delegation of authority
    The sense that tackling climate change is someone else’s job

  5. Hopelessness
    Feelings of defeat and pessimism, a sense that it is too late to do anything

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