Sweden’s new tool for untangling climate complexity

Tackling climate change can sometimes feel impossibly complex.

But what if there was a tool that could help your leaders break things down into manageable units and provide a list of the most effective solutions? Maybe even help them keep track of what other organisations and corporations are doing at this very moment. Good news: the tool exists.

Sweden’s Climate Dashboard, Tomer Shalit, Map Launcher, Linda Söder, Vattenfall and Jonas Allerup, The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

It is called “Sweden’s Climate Dashboard” and will be launched in Sweden in the spring of 2019.

The software is the result of a cooperation between the startup MapLauncher, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, and the Swedish energy giant Vattenfall.

It consists of four horizontal layers in different colours. The top layer shows Sweden’s greenhouse gas emissions per year (currently 53 million tonnes). The second displays a number of solutions to reduce these emissions by 2045, which is the goal agreed upon by the Swedish parliament. In the third layer, “trends”, the tool shows how this goal can actually be accomplished. The final layer, “policies”, gives advice on how to do this.

Tomer Shalit, Map Launcher at the launch of the Climate Emergency Plan, Stockholm November 24 2018. Photography: Adam Johansson.

Each section of the dashboard can be broken down into smaller parts, and this is where it gets really useful. Because for every click on a certain section, the dashboard will provide a number of solutions while at the same time ranking each solution in terms of emission reduction potential.

For instance, if you want to take a closer look at transportation — a sector responsible for one-third of Sweden’s emissions — you will first see the sector divided into a number of subcategories. If you then choose “passenger transportation”, the dashboard displays two solutions: energy efficiency and renewable fuels.

A click on “energy efficiency” gives two possible solutions: a transport efficient society and improved energy efficiency. A click on “improved energy efficiency” gives three more. And so on. Before long, the dashboard will not only provide statistics on the current proportion of journeys made by public transport, but also the proportion needed to reach the reduction potential for this solution.

Sweden’s Climate Dashboard, Linda Söder, Vattenfall (left) and Jonas Allerup, The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (right). Photography: Adam Johansson.

And finally, the fourth layer shows which policies have already been implemented, which are planned and which are suggested, in order to reach the goal.

This may sound complicated, but on the screen it looks clean and easily digestible.

“It’s a way of collecting vast amounts of data and allowing people to visualise how we can reduce emissions in the different sectors”, said Tomer Shalit, founder of Map Launcher, during a presentation at the Climate Emergency Plan seminar hosted by WeDontHaveTime, the Club of Rome and Global Utmaning.

To say that the software is packed with information is an understatement.

“It contains all the reports and the analysis that has been carried out so far into making Sweden a fossil free nation. Basically what you have here is a complete overview of Sweden’s climate policies”, said Jonas Allerup, a climate analyst at IPA, during the seminar.

One important feature of the Dashboard is that it allows a company, an organisation or the government to continuously see what all the other actors are doing. Linda Söder, a business strategy advisor at Vattenfall, calls it a dashboard for dialogue.

“Collaboration is the only way to tackle this enormous problem that is the climate transition. The dashboard is not a plan, but a space to share a common picture. The more actors get involved in this, the more interesting this visualisation becomes.”

Tomer Shalit says the platform could be used in any country.

“The climate challenge can seem almost impossibly complex to attack, but by breaking it down into small pieces — executable parts — we can create momentum, and momentum by itself untangles complexity and thereby creates hope.”

Website: https://maplauncher.com

Written by Markus Lutteman

Proofreading by Jane Davis

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