Fifteen stories about climate change are among the winning entries in the first Earth Journalism Awards.

Designed to generate excitement and boost awareness ahead of next month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the 15 winning narratives were selected by Internews, an international NGO created to empower local media around the world.

But the competition isn’t exactly over.

Organizers are asking the public to select a 16th award, the Global Public Award, by casting votes on Facebook and Twitter. "We are keen to see just how the power of online social networking can be used to generate interest and debate around the 15 winning stories as the negotiations enter the final stages,” said Jun Matsushita, head of technology for the awards.

The 16th award is also meant to generate an agenda for negotiators during the closing days of the Copenhagen conference, set to take place Dec. 7 to 18.

“The Earth Journalism Awards were established to boost climate change coverage in this critical year leading up to Copenhagen, and to highlight the efforts of journalists reporting on this challenging subject around the world,” said James Fahn, the global director of Internews’ environmental program.

Finalists were selected from among 900 journalists in 148 countries who submitted a total of 450 applications. An international jury comprised of 100 media and climate change experts narrowed down the finalists.

Among the winning entries was an investigation into the use and effect of fire in the Amazon, a report about Kenyan companies missing out on the carbon credits market, and the story of a Pakistani coastal village responding to climate change.

And what is the award? Winners are invited to cover negotiations at the conference, where they can report on negotiations and other news related to the summit for their home news outlets. Each winner will also receive a regional or thematic award. (There are seven regional awards and eight thematic awards, including The Energy Award, The Forests Award and The Human Voices Award.)

"We need to support these journalists however we can in their efforts to inform the public and policy-makers,” said Nadia El Awady, president of the World Federation of Science Journalists.