The UN Climate Conference COP21 is critical as the impacts of climate change are accelerating, and time to develop solutions is running out. In the meantime, a global data revolution offers unprecedented opportunities to build climate resilience, by making our planet more connected and our cities smarter, cleaner and more open.
During COP21, Plume Labs co-organized an international event on “Data Against Climate Change” at PlaceToB, a forum for information and discussion dedicated to civil and media society during COP21. Along with scientists, activists, private and public sector innovators, Plume Labs’ CEO Romain Lacombe discussed the full potential of data to promote climate innovation and influence decision-making at the global level.
Globally, data magicians aggregate and analyze data to visualize, mobilize and build solutions for the climate. Karen Bastien (We Do Data) showed how data can reveal the world around us and help measure climate change by introducing the Global Carbon Atlas, a worldwide carbon emission map. In the same approach, Romain Lacombe presented the World Air Map by Plume Labs, a live map of air pollution around the world (for more details, see here). Karen Bastien (We Do Data) introducing the Global Carbon Atlas.
By helping us better understand climate risk, data makes it possible to better mitigate it, as underlined by Andrew Jones (MIT & Climate Interactive). Eventually, data improves emergency response to climate-related disasters. As an example, Nicolas de Cordes (Orange) explained how mobile phone data can help detect stress signals due to natural disasters.
At Plume Labs, we believe data should be unlocked to unleash tremendous efficiency gains in the fight against climate change. Therefore, we invited three pioneers of the open data movement : Robert Kirkpatrick (UN Global Pulse, Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General), Anne Ged (City of Paris Climate Agency) and Romain Talès (Chief Data Officer at Etalab, French Prime Minister’s taskforce for open data). They insisted on the key role of data to promote sustainable development for the public good. According to Robert Kirkpatrick, “a country not willing to implement data analysis programs won’t be able to tackle sustainable development issues”. It was underlined that sharing government data with research teams and companies around the world would prompt climate action. This is why City of Paris Climate Agency is currently building a common knowledge base on climate change and a common library of local and available solutions. Such open data initiatives enable policymakers to engage both private sector companies and the public in climate mitigation efforts, thus revealing untapped economic opportunities and creating shared value.
From a citizen’s point of view, data provides valuable insights and fosters both individual and collective initiatives. For example, the C3 Challenge gathered more than 500 participants who came up with 29 solutions to mitigate climate change, many of which used data as stated by Carole Maurage, in charge of C3 Challenge’s organization. In the same way, Daniel Kaplan, Executive Director at La FING introduced Transitions2, a platform dedicated to ambitious green projects that “connect the digital and the ecological transitions.” Eventually, Erwan Cordeau from the IAU Urbanism Institute underlined how crucial it is to make data available to the public ; change starts with citizens and data enables citizens to start the change!
All told, the fight against climate change is greatly driven by data, as data helps measuring climate risks, building resilience and initiating technological development as well as behavioral changes.
Thank you to all participants for this afternoon of inspiring pitches and debates. 😉 We wish you the best of success in your #DataAgainstClimateChange projects. Let’s keep in touch for further individual and collective action driven by the data revolution.