Magazine about Climate IT

Reset is a climate magazine by ITU faculty that problematizes the role of IT in the climate emergency. Currently, two issues have been published and a third is in the making.

You can read the full magazine online by clicking below or get a physical copy here at the ITU (on recycled paper!).

Read Reset 1 here or Reset 2 here.

Man talking in front of image reading Electrify

Learning to Live in 3D: Decarbonization, Decoupling, Degrowth

On February 23, 2023, in collaboration with the Decoupling IT project, the CCIT had the pleasure of hosting a talk by Dominic Boery who is a Professor at the Department of Anthropology at Rice University.

Boyer discussed the evolution of the high energy growth paradigm of northern modernity through the overlapping energy regimes of new world plantations (sucropolitics), machinic industrialism (carbopolitics) and plastic mobilization (petropolitics) to help identify some of the key areas of intervention for what Boyer terms “decompositional politics”.

He then turned to a discussion of three key frontlines of decompositional politics today: decarbonization (decomposing the sucro/carbo/petrostate), degrowth (decomposing habits and systems of productivity-for-its-own-sake) and decoupling which, on the face of things, seeks to emancipate high energy modernity from its burden of ecological unsustainability while promising also promising to justly secure the pleasures and luxuries of high energy modernity for all.

This, Boyer argued, sounds too good to be true and recent studies cast serious doubt on the reality of decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions. Yet, some of the more persuasive degrowth proponents seem to see decoupling as a real possibility.

A striking consonance between decompositional and conventional politics is the belief that a low energy modernity is not only possible but scalable and sustainable.

The slides from Boyer's talk are available here.

Five people in an auditorium engaged in debate

The Grand Opening of the Center for Climate IT

On 7 December 2022, we launched the Center for Climate IT with an event at the IT University. The afternoon featured a presentation of the center's vision from Head of Center Steffen Dalsgaard and Associate Professor James Maguire, a talk on climate sustainability at ITU from Vice-Chancellor Per Bruun Brockhoff, and research presentations from ITU-based researchers Associate Professor Anna Vallgårda from Digital Design, PhD Fellow Ane Rahbek Vierø and Associate Professor Michael Szell from Computer Science, and Associate Professor James Maguire from Business IT, who showcased their ongoing research into topics like data-driven city planning of bicycle routes; how design can help us take better care of our technological and other artifacts; and the burgeoning exploration of how to store data in DNA as well as the ethical questions this raises. We were also very happy to welcome a panel of external guests who discussed the future role of IT in green transitions. The panel consisted of Professor and Prorector at the University of Copenhagen Kristian Cedervall Lauta, CEO of DigitalLead Carolina Benjaminsen, CEO of Electricity Maps Olivier Corradi, and Director of Science at Villum Fonden Thomas Bjørnholm, all of whom gave their input on how to move climate IT research forward. You can watch the whole event in the videos below.

Center Launch: The Vision of the Center for Climate IT

Head of Center Professor Steffen Dalsgaard and Associate Professor James Maguire present the vision of the new center.

Center Launch: Climate Sustainability in Research and Education at the IT University

Vice-Chancellor Per Bruun Brockhoff addresses how the ITU is working with climate sustainability in research and education and what course the institution will take going forward.

Center Launch: Sustainable Mobility and Data-Driven Planning

PhD Fellow Ane Rahbek Vierø and Associate Professor Michael Szell present some of their research on data-driven city planning of bicycle routes. 

Center Launch: Design as a Matter of Care

Associate Professor Anna Vallgårda presents some of her research on how design can help us take better care of our technological and other artifacts.

Center Launch: Eco-tech Climate Imaginaries: The Story of DNA Storage

Associate Professor James Maguire presents some of his research on the burgeoning exploration of how to store data in DNA as well as the ethical questions this raises.

Center Launch: Panel discussion on climate and IT

Professor and Prorector at the University of Copenhagen Kristian Cedervall Lauta, CEO of DigitalLead Carolina Benjaminsen, CEO of Electricity Maps Olivier Corradi, and Director of Science at Villum Fonden Thomas Bjørnholm discuss the future role of IT in green transitions and give their input on how to move climate IT research forward.

Green image with the words Forest Multiple

The Forest Multiple: A Symposium at the University of Cambridge

On 27-28 October, 2022, Professor Steffen Dalsgaard and Assistant Professor Priscila Santos da Costa participated in a symposium and workshop entitled The Forest Multiple hosted by the Smart Forests project which is led by Professor Jennifer Gabrys in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. The Smart Forests project investigates how forests are becoming digital environments and the social-political impacts of digital technologies that monitor and govern forest environments. The symposium and workshop engaged with "the forest multiple" to consider the pluralistic mobilizations and inhabitations of forests across varying contexts - from international policy guidelines (FAO) to morphological classifications of tree density and height, as well as species variation, spatial extent, and carbon-storage capacity. Dalsgaard and Santos da Costa contributed with a paper on "Carbon Value and the Salvaging of the Amazon".

Podcast logo and purple book cover of Aktørnetværksteori i praksis
Sustainability and ANT podcast with Irina Papazu

Does a sustainably programmed website selling vegan sneakers make a difference if the shoes are shipped to Europe from Taiwan in a high emission container ship and if every customer orders three pairs in three different sizes and only keeps one of them? In this podcast (in Danish), produced by The Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA), Associate Professor at ITU Irina Papazu explains the gist of actor-network theory – “ANT for dummies” – and its applicability in studying discourses and practices surrounding sustainability. Together with Professor at DTU Brit Ross Winthereik, Papazu has edited the book Aktørnetværksteori i praksis (2021) which features a chapter based on her own sustainability research. The advantages to approaching phenomena through ANT are the theory’s attention to both human and non-human actors and its aim to produce holistic analyses that take as many factors into account as possible. That is useful for understanding how sustainability unfolds in practice, e.g., in relation to specific technologies. Often, there are discrepancies between the claims actors (individuals, corporations, institutions) make about sustainability and the actual practice and behavior that they engage in. Towards the end, Papazu recommends checking out Associate Professor at Lund University Andreas Malm whose work integrates activist and climate research agendas.
Conference poster

Ethnographies of Urban Data and Technology

On 20-21 October, the IT University and the University of Copenhagen co-hosted a conference entitled ‘Ethnographies of Urban Data and Technology’ funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark. The event invited scholars to present research on the ways in which urban data and technologies are deployed by various actors working with urban space, and to address the question of how people understand and inhabit environments that are shaped through data and technologies. You can read more about the outcomes of the conference here.

Climate Jeopardy at Folkemødet 2022

Experience Minister of the Environment Lea Wermelin, climate investor Tommy Ahlers, top researcher Katherine Richardson, and Ørsted VP Ingrid Reumert - and not least the always well-placed quiz host Lasse Rimmer. 

The Danish climate profiles quizzed on the climate agenda and sustainable digitization.

Climate Jeopardy was hosted by the Center for Digital Welfare and organized by ITU researchers Brit Ross Winthereik and James Maguire in Danchell's Debate Tent at the Folkemødet on Friday 17 June from 11.30-12.30.

Want to play Climate Jeopardy? Try it yourself here.

A man listening to the trunk of a birch tree

The Sound of Trees

Can sound play a part in the experience of affective attachments to trees? In 2018, the AIR Lab at ITU hosted a student project that involved creating The Living Tree – an interactive sound installation where surface transducers are deployed in a real-life setting to design an immersive and affectively engaging interaction exploring the life of trees. Another student project, Experiencing Soundscapes with Sonic Zoom, looked into how visitors of green urban areas experience soundscapes through sonic interaction design in Byhaven on Amager close to ITU. A third research project hosted by AIR Lab and involving soundscapes and our relationship with nature, was the PLURIVERS which was created in collaboration with anthropologist Stine Krøijer and consisted of a sound installation mounted in a birch tree trunk. PLURIVERS formed part of the exhibition FOREST DOCUMENTS at Art Centre Silkeborg Bad in 2020.