ClimateBert: A Pretrained Language Model for Climate-Related Text

Nicolas Webersinke (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg), Mathias Kraus (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg), Julia Anna Bingler (ETH Zurich) and Markus Leippold (UZH Zurich)

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Over the recent years, large pretrained language models (LM) have revolutionized the field of natural language processing (NLP). However, while pretraining on general language has been shown to work very well for common language, it has been observed that niche language poses problems. In particular, climate-related texts include specific language that common LMs can not represent accurately. We argue that this shortcoming of today's LMs limits the applicability of modern NLP to the broad field of text processing of climate-related texts. As a remedy, we propose ClimateBert, a transformer-based language model that is further pretrained on over 2 million paragraphs of climate-related texts, crawled from various sources such as common news, research articles, and climate reporting of companies. We find that ClimateBert leads to a 48% improvement on a masked language model objective which, in turn, leads to lowering error rates by 3.57% to 35.71% for various climate-related downstream tasks like text classification, sentiment analysis, and fact-checking