Climate data for ambitious action.
The 2017 meeting of the UN Climate Change Conference has arrived at the end of an especially ferocious and devastating season of hurricanes, monsoons and droughts. The severity of the storms is a stark warning that we must do everything we can to fulfil the commitment made in Paris to limit global temperature increase to 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels.
Two years have passed since that commitment was made and now it’s time to take stock of what we’ve achieved and launch the next phase of climate actions. To help policymakers and researchers with this task, Climate Watch was launched at COP 23. It provides transparent and accountable insights that can inform their decision-making.
Climate Watch is managed by the World Resources Institute (WRI). We worked closely with them to design and build a platform that makes it easier for those involved in planning high-level climate action to explore and compare climate pledges under the Paris Agreement; access historical greenhouse gas emissions data; view the links between climate action and sustainable development; and map new pathways to a lower-carbon future.
The release of Climate Watch arrives at a particularly important time. Governments are still refining their Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs) and preparing to put them into place. Using a landscape analysis of the existing climate data platforms, we identified an opportunity to make it much simpler to discover, explore and compare countries’ commitments. Anyone can search for a keyword or phrase and see how many countries mention it and how often. You can search within an NDC too. There are no PDFs to trawl through as everything is displayed right there on your screen. Aided by this kind of transparency, we hope countries will be inspired to be more ambitious in their climate planning.
Acknowledging the links between climate change and sustainable development, Climate Watch maps the NDCs against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the same way that equal rights for women leads to better education levels and lower poverty rates, actions that address climate change can keep food on peoples plates and stop their homes from flooding. Climate Watch takes a unique approach to this mapping exercise, identifying links between the NDCs and each one of the 169 targets, not just the 19 overarching goals. By revealing these linkages, it’s easier to see where climate action can benefit other goals and achieve even greater impact.
Each part of the Climate Watch platform tells a story of where we are, how we got here, and where we are going. The platform will be updated as countries revise their NDCs and soon it will be possible to create and share custom data visualisations and dashboards. Shareability is an important part of transparency. We hope journalists and other researchers will write about the insights they discover. With their help, crucial information will appear in the places where people already spend their time online.
With bold and ambitious action we can stop storms like Hurricane Rita from becoming the norm. Climate Watch provides the transparent data and comprehensive analysis we need to aim higher and reduce our carbon emissions. Working together as a global community, we can go further and faster towards a better world.
Need more climate data? Discover additional platforms that can help you plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change by reading our blog, ‘Demand for climate data hots up.’