A team of climatologists and oenologists worked together to interpret weather data and turn it into Bordeaux 2050 - a wine grown under 2050 weather conditions if we don’t act on climate change. They used 17 different climate models to gauge the effect on the Bordeaux region over the next 30 years. They coupled this with analysis on grape phenology and its relationship to climate over a longer-term context, including data predating human interference in the climate system. The resulting data allowed them to understand the effects, then create a simulated environment to expose the grapes to 2050 conditions.
It's a consensus in the scientific community that climate change will have increasingly drastic effects on the environment. Despite this fact, a large majority of governments do not take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening. The French Association of Journalists for the Environment is actively involved in drawing attention to the issue.This is difficult in the current media landscape, which is saturated with conflicting messages and fake news that typically comes with political bias. Their goal was to create a tangible demonstration of the future effects of global warming in a way that would resonate with people. Wine is a beloved part of French culture, which is globally renowned, but more importantly is also something that will be very negatively effected by climate change. They wanted to highlight this fact – and it was quickly determined it could done in a way much more compelling than conventional media.
Describe the idea/data solution
Using future-projected weather data, Bordeaux 2050 simulates the exact weather conditions of a Bordeaux grown in 2050 if climate conditions don't improve. The first step was compiling data related to the impact of global warming due to greenhouse gases increases in the environment (IPCC Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis). Secondly, partnering with climatologists, this data was analyzed to understand the effect of climate change on wine cultivation and how the shift in climate and the impact on weather patterns and carbon dioxide levels may alter grape chemistry and the resulting quality of wine (INRA, Harvard University : Exploiting the diversity of grape varieties to adapt to climate change, 2018). The third was working with oenologists to simulate those conditions on present day grapes to create Bordeaux 2050. The result is diminished, bitter and unpleasant. People know about climate change, but can't feel its future effects. By appealing to reason through our most indulgent sense, the result is emotional and terrifying but ultimately inspiring: Bordeaux 2050 invites people to take action by showing how climate change effects something they cherish. What was once abstract data is now distilled into a poignent reminder of our shared responsibility.
Describe the data driven strategy
Our starting point was a lack of consideration regarding climate change consequences. Despite worldwide awareness of global warming, in the two biggest CO2 emitter countries, only 56% of Americans and 18% of Chinese consider climate change as a major threat. As an average increase of 2°C over decades is not perceptible by the human body, people ignore the increasingly disastrous impacts on the environment already happening today. As studies have proven, sensory inputs multiply individual’s engagement and reasoning (Sense and Sensibility: the Impact of Sensory Input on Moral Judgments, 2012), while discrete emotions are stronger predictors of global warming policy support than cultural worldviews, or image associations (The Role of Emotion in Global Warming Policy Support and Opposition, 2013). The French Association of Journalists for the Environment needed to make global warming more than just another news headline. We aimed to make it tangible and relatable to people. Our goal was to create a tangible proof of data of global warming. This had to resonate emotionally with people in their present life, to make them realize the concrete consequences climate change will have on their life and make them understand the urgency to take action.
Describe the creative use of data, or how the data enhanced the creative output
Using projected climate data and weather schemes allowed Bordeaux 2050 to be a tangible proof of climate change. The resulting wine accurately embodies the impact climate change will have on our future if no major action is taken today towards global warming. Bordeaux 2050 was developed in a laboratory based in Merignac, at the heart of the French wine region. According to a data projection of a global 4°C increase in temperatures, viticulture in the Bordeaux region is expected to be drastically affected. Additional analysis of European harvest data from the last 400 years further informed the process. Using projected climate data of the next 30 years, engineers applied the traditional techniques of assemblage on selected grapes varieties used for Bordeaux. The grapes were grown in different parts of the world which already present the projected weather and soil conditions: 39% of grapes came from Andalusia, where 2 to 4°C heat waves diminish the aroma; 18% from Tunisia where drought gives a bitter and drier taste; 43% from Languedoc Roussillon where devastating frost & hailstorms cause fruit wastage. Bordeaux 2050 turned abstract climate data into an emotionally striking sensorial experience to changes people's attitudes towards climate change.
List the data driven results
By using data-based design, Bordeaux 2050 shook French wine circles as an evidence of climate change's reality, before spreading to the wider scientific community and worldwide news. Despite its poor taste it became the most Googled wine in the world. It generated 500 million organic impressions among The Huffington Post, Le Figaro, L'Express, Franceinfo, Science and Future, triggering 100 000 mentions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and concerns about climate change's consequences. The growing social media conversation made key decision makers reconsider their position on climate change, while a tasting session by Sciences & Avenir gathering influential climate skeptics convinced them of its evidence. The initiative has been hailed by UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. The people were invited on Bordeaux2050.org to order and taste for themselves.