How to track climate data and reports: my short list.

Jun 20, 2019

Many of my customers are exasperated when it comes to understanding environmental issues in business. The entrepreneurs or investors who have a background in linear business building which has been less focused on environmental or social impact, sometimes find it difficult to take first steps in becoming more circular and using less resources.

These business leaders are very smart and leaders in their field, and I find, just seek reliable places to slowly inform themselves over time, so if they hear a news report or see an industry standard evolve in their field from a sustainability perspective, they can inform themselves better.

A few tools to understand climate science and business impact are good to know and often; I will sit for a day or two with my customers to go through my favourite resources and then bundle together for them a set of sources to refer to every six months or so, so they are on the front foot as it comes to assign priorities for environmental needs in their company, and also those in the countries they work, the issues of their teams (and supply chains) and materials priorities.

Given we are always tracking national law, there are two places I go to for meta climate data and two places I look at international agreements.

Specifically, I like to see the numbers directly regarding climate data and use my own critical thinking to interpret and understand them. Then I need help form the world’s leading scientists to interpret it for me. That is why I use both the climate data repository AND the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports so I can track and upskill myself, while making sure I have a solid and sound basis.

 

Regarding international agreements, the UN documents index and the Sustainable Development Goals dashboard keeps me informed about the fundamental agreements and also the tracking of reports. Some of this I can find in the Open Climate Data index, however the report gives context to insights I likely lack.

Rather than relying on news media, industry briefings or updates - I always strongly recommend to my customers to be informed themselves and build their ‘own’ data tracking and analysis of climate and social dimensions.

It is because my clients, great entrepreneurs and investors, are often very creative, insightful and fore-thinking, and I find when they are informed of where the science is coming from and how to better be prepared, they can both create business advantage for themselves as well as support sustainability goals. For example, tracking the critical raw materials source and risk in relation to the current trade engagements between USA, China, Russia and the EU is vital for any company who is using raw materials to build electronics or use related components. I also find that many industry bodies are on the back foot when it comes to smart sustainability approaches, either creating goals related to old fashioned ‘corporate social responsibility’ approaches, or simply keeping a head in the sand if a ‘shit storm’ did not hit their segment yet 🙄.

Thus; these are my sources to form original opinion from and when viewed with a critical eye, a reflection on company processes and a hunt to the future, can be very helpful at forming an opinion on how to lead a company today and in the future.

Let me know which ones you chose and why.

 

Climate Data

These are the two climate science references I keep open in my browsers and source data from.

 

Open Climate Data

For real-time figures on countries and emissions, I watch http://openclimatedata.net/ . In fact, it is the opening page in my google browser. It lists emissions data (like the global carbon budget), agreements and all the National Climate Plans after Paris, as well as the assessments thereof. Having this as the home page on my browser, every day I am reminded to check reality and keep where my customers are producing, exporting, importing or engaging in top of mind. To this current data, I always refer to my second most important source, the IPCC.

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change: the reports https://www.ipcc.ch/reports/

Specifically the

Global Warming of 1.5 degrees https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

 

As well as the 2013/14 IPCC Fifth Assessment Reports: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/ 

      • ⁃ Working Group I, ‘Climate Change 2013: The Physical Basis’ 
      • ⁃ Working Group II, ‘Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability 
      • ⁃ Working Group III, ‘Mitigation of Climate Change’ 

 

In 2019 the upcoming special reports on climate and land https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/ due in August this year, and the oceans report https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srocc/ due in September.

 

The IPCC reports gather scientists from around the and actively debate data and address all feedback before producing their reports. In my opinion, the most reliable source for climate and environmental data.


 

International Agreements

Here I track the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Agreements primarily, then I have 2 other sources where I can find industry-specific topics, agreements or research as they pertain to my customer’s business area or geography.

 

UN Documents: sustainable development, education, human rights and peace

This is the hub for global agreements from the UN http://www.un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm  which is helpful and hyperlinked 500+ UN documents relating to sustainable development, education, human rights, peace and also includes the agreements from most of the major global conferences organized by the United Nations and a significant number of important conventions / treaties. The home page is here http://www.un-documents.net/index.htm .

 

Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboard

https://www.sdgindex.org/ This dashboard covers six broad transformations of the SDGs and is prepared by a group of independents at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung. There are also subsegments like city overviews https://www.sdgindex.org/reports/sdg-index-and-dashboards-2018/

 

For Specific Topics relating to risk and disaster, I monitor work done on the 

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 

2015 - 2030  https://www.unisdr.org/files/43291_sendaiframeworkfordrren.pdf The Sendai Framework focuses on exposure, vulnerability and hazard characteristics in disaster risk reduction and overviews things like accountability, stakeholders; health infrastructure and the interaction of international financial institutions. It also has elements related to disasters from climate change and conflict.  https://www.shareweb.ch/site/Climate-Change-and-Environment/Documents/Nexus.brief-FragilityandConflict-July%202018-en.pdf 

 

The United Nations Environment Programme

UN Environment https://www.unenvironment.org/  has specific reports on industries and topics directly https://www.unenvironment.org/resources?f[0]=category:452 such as mobility, chemicals and renewables which is very helpful for industry-specific understanding of climate interdependencies.

 

Human Rights

I use the Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business  https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf as a map for many of my customers to reflect upon, especially those who have manufacturing or sourcing from developing countries. It is based from the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights  http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ 

 

Additional Links which are also helpful reference.

A selection which the IPCC suggested:

 

I would love to know what resources you bookmarked! Let me know!

Additionally, earlier this year I explained my data collection and synthesis process, maybe this helps you too: https://www.changemaker.land/blog/informationsources