Here’s Why Data and Climate Action Go Hand in Hand!
10 March 2023
Geetanjali Prasad and Prabir Mishra
Climate change is no longer a phenomenon that’s only being discussed in climate treaties. It affects everyone in different forms – like unusually high temperatures causing heat waves, snow storms in unexpected seasons or heavy rains causing floods and destruction. And the threat is increasing by the day.
We will all agree, what gets measured, gets managed but there has been a question mark when it comes to the reliability of data specially in the carbon market.
Therefore transparency, accuracy and accountability are essential when measuring greenhouse gas emissions, land use and weather patterns to monitor progress towards climate goals and design effective policies.
Promises of the Green Development Pact
India’s G20 priorities for the upcoming years include focusing on sustainable development and combating climate change through a “Green Development Pact.” This ambitious plan aims to create a roadmap of actions for the next decade, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting renewable energy, and addressing the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities. The Indian government has recognized the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for coordinated international efforts to address it. By prioritizing sustainable development, India is positioning itself as a leader in the global fight against climate change.
As a member of the G20, India has committed to taking concrete actions to tackle climate change. India’s priorities include a “Green Development Pact” with a roadmap of actions over the next decade to tackle climate change and international cooperation on data for development, said Mr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Foreign Minister.
Why Streamlined & Accurate Data is Critical to Combat Climate Change
Data is critical for understanding the complex interactions between human activity and the climate system. It helps us identify the sources of greenhouse gas emissions and their environmental impacts and assess the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Some of the essential areas where data is critical for climate change include:
1. Monitoring greenhouse gas emissions: Accurate and reliable data on greenhouse gas emissions is critical to tracking progress towards climate goals and designing effective policies. It allows us to identify the sectors and activities contributing to maximum emissions and prioritize mitigation measures accordingly. It also helps us assess the effectiveness of climate policies and identify areas for improvement.
2. Understanding weather patterns: Data on weather patterns, such as temperature, precipitation and extreme events, is critical for assessing the impacts of climate change and designing adaptation measures. It allows us to identify the regions and populations most vulnerable to climate change and prioritize investments in resilience.
3. Tracking land use: Land use change, such as deforestation and urbanization, significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Data on land use allows us to monitor changes over time, identify the drivers of land use change, and design policies to reduce emissions.
4. Assessing the impacts of climate change: Data is crucial for understanding the effects of climate change on ecosystems, human health and the economy. It helps us assess the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and design effective adaptation measures.
International Efforts to Improve Data Infrastructure:
The World Bank’s Climate Warehouse program is a global platform that supports countries in collecting and analyzing climate data. The platform provides access to climate data and analytics tools, enabling governments to develop policies and monitor progress towards their climate goals.
The Climate Action Data Trust (CAD Trust) is another initiative to improve data infrastructure for climate action. Developed by the Government of Singapore and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the CAD Trust is a free, open-source platform that connects, aggregates, and harmonizes carbon credit data. Its overarching goal is to support reporting-compliance requirements, enable transparent carbon accounting, and strengthen the implementation of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) as part of the Paris Agreement.
The World Bank, for example, has launched several initiatives to support the use of data in addressing climate change. One of these is the Climate Warehouse program, which provides a centralized platform for storing and sharing data related to climate change. This platform enables policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders to access high-quality climate change data, which can inform decision-making and drive action.
One of the critical features of the CAD Trust is its use of blockchain technology to create an immutable, auditable, and decentralized record of carbon market data. Blockchain technology provides accountability and transactional efficiency via smart contracts to address the increasing diversity of Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) systems used to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.
Using blockchain technology in the CAD Trust helps address some critical challenges facing the carbon market, such as double-counting carbon credits, which occurs when more than one party claims the same carbon credit, leading to overestimating emissions reductions. Blockchain technology prevents double counting by creating a tamper-proof record of carbon credits, which all parties can easily verify.
In addition to the CAD Trust, there are many other initiatives aimed at improving data for climate change. These include initiatives to improve data collection and analysis and make data more accessible and actionable for policymakers, businesses, and other stakeholders. Some of the key priorities in this area include improving the quality and availability of data on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities, developing better methods for tracking emissions reductions, and improving the use of data in decision-making related to climate change.
In conclusion, data is a critical tool in the fight against climate change. There is a growing recognition of the importance of improving data collection, analysis, and sharing related to climate change. Initiatives like the CAD Trust are helping address some of the carbon market’s key challenges. There is a need for continued investment and innovation in developing and accepting tools that deliver accurate data that would help take effective action to address the urgent threat of climate change.
Why data infrastructure is key for a transparent carbon market. https://blogs.worldbank.org/climatechange/why-data-infrastructure-key-transparent-carbon-market