Horizon Social Media Analysis


From measured optimism to enthusiasm in a fortnight

Over the 2 weeks of COP21, there were marked signs of change in opinion from the moment we started analyzing digital networks at the very start of the conference and to its close last weekend.

Exchanges mirrored, to a certain extent, the drama of the talks themselves with similar twists and turns.  At the beginning of the talks, and still under the shock of the 13th of November attacks in Paris, 31% of Internet users believed an agreement was needed to help fight global terrorism.  Others claimed States were so involved now, it would be possible to take a step back.


Among the less optimistic, two main arguments are advanced, although, it must be added, certain voices can’t be heard on digital networks.

The first was that the Senate wouldn’t ratify any agreement anyway so the talks were doomed to failure and the second that climate change didn’t exist.


The end of climate sceptisism


A fortnight later, opinion has moved on and perhaps matured. The terrorist argument has disappeared.  Internet users believe that politicians will feel bound to each other to deliver on promises made and that the transparency surrounding GHG emissions will be binding in itself.


That the agreement is not legally binding is the first argument put forward by doubters. And what about the climate sceptics? They don’t even register in our data, at least on this planet.


When it comes down to individual positions, a clear shift can be observed, particularly among those on the front line of the talks. Companies, local authorities, NGOs, opinion leaders and the public all adopted a more positive attitude as the talks progressed.


A victory for French communication and diplomacy 


The trend continues at a national level too, with certain countries seeing optimism soar.  In Japan figures jumped from 80 to 88%, in the US from 77 to 85% and more spectacularly Brazil saw optimism rise from 77 to 91%, although in France and the UK, figures remained flat.  

The increasing optimism throughout the COP21 talks, beyond the climate science and negotiations, also reveals the success of French communication and diplomacy on the global stage.