Climate Watch: Data for Climate Action

In 2015, the world came together for a common goal: to stop global warming and better equip countries to prepare for the effects of climate change. The Paris Agreement allows every country to determine its own path forward to accomplish these goals within the framework of the historic treaty. But to do this, countries need clear and reliable data to understand how they stack up — where they are doing well and where there is room for improvement.

Making relevant data and analysis easily and freely available is central to the NDC Partnership’s mission. That is why the NDC Partnership is excited to launch Climate Watch. Rounding out a family of tools that includes the NDC Funding and Initiatives Navigator and the NDC Toolbox Navigator, Climate Watch is an online platform that puts comprehensive and up-to-date climate data and analysis at the world’s fingertips.

Climate Watch’s clear, accessible, and 100 percent open data makes it possible for anyone to quickly access what they need to understand about country commitments under the Paris Agreement (known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs) and set them in the context of historical greenhouse gas emissions, future projections of emissions and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Users can compare NDCs and emissions data across countries and sectors, discovering synergies between countries that will enable them to work together and learn from one another.

Let’s take a closer look at the questions you can answer with Climate Watch.

Want to know how several countries’ emissions compare, or how a sector’s emissions have changed over time? The Historical Emissions module compiles over 150 years of emissions data from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and the CAIT Climate Data Explorer, enabling you to create graphs of emissions, based on region, sector, or source, reaching as far back as 1850.

Or, perhaps you are interested in what your country’s NDC says about a certain issue, or which countries’ NDCs address a particular theme. For the first time, Climate Watch has made the full text of every country’s NDC 100 percent searchable and comparable. For example, here you can compare the type of mitigation targets in all countries’ NDCs.

Climate action does not stand on its own, and it is important to put NDC implementation in the context of other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), like gender equality and clean water. Climate Watch introduces innovative research on the overlaps between NDCs and SDGs, so that countries can see where implementing an NDC could simultaneously enhance sustainable development.

There’s more to come. Climate Watch’s emissions scenario portal, to be launched in late November, will forecast emissions trajectories for over 60 countries to show what their emissions pathways could look like through 2100, depending on the policies they pursue. In addition to national-level visualizations, users will be able to look at global-scale temperature impacts of various models and chart pathways against the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

Apart from the range of information it brings together, I want to highlight two important features of Climate Watch. The first is that it is totally open, transparent, and free of charge. Users can download, share, and play around with all of the datasets and visualizations. Want to take our datasets and use them for your own analysis? No problem. Wonder why we saw a connection between a particular NDC and a specific SDG? Just click through and see the precise piece of text we drew on.

The second is that Climate Watch is the product of genuine partnership. African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Climate Action Tracker, Climate Analytics, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the German Development Institute (DIE), Google, NDC Partnership, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, World Resources Institute, and the World Bank collaborated on the project, providing valuable data and insights, and we received generous funding from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Google, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The NDC Partnership came together precisely to make projects like Climate Watch possible. With the contributions of so many, we have built a rich and comprehensive data platform. We believe that it is only through such acts of partnership, building on our diverse strengths, that we can together deliver on the Paris Agreement. We hope to create a community of mutual and transparent understanding and knowledge.

And that is where you come in. We’ve built a section of Climate Watch — called “My Climate Watch” — where you can create and share your own data, visualizations and stories. You can curate a portfolio of visualizations, save your analysis, and share directly to social media. We hope that people from government, civil society, the private sector, the media and the public will generate insights that inform ever more effective climate action. We’re excited to see what our users will come up with.

Over to you.