The UN Sustainable Development Goal #13 is Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
On September 25th, 2015, countries that make up the United Nations adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal consisted of specific targets that aimed to be achieved over the next 15 years. One of these goals, #13 to be exact, served as a call to global governments and organizations to take urgent action to combat climate change and it’s impacts. This was defined as both taking steps to slow the progress of rapid climate change and gaining an understanding of its impact to mitigate devastating effects on communities, food sources and our homes.
How can data contribute to climate action?
Every day, individuals make choices that affect the climate. In turn, climate change forces decisions upon their communities. Routine data being processed by telecommunications companies, banks, utility companies and supermarkets could hold the keys to revolutionary new ways of understanding this cycle. Making privacy-protected datasets from different industries and geographies available for research and analysis could enable researchers around the world to study billions of discrete choices and channel them towards building climate solutions. Big data can accelerate the pace of innovation in climate action.
One example of this new way of thinking making headways is RE100, a global initiative of influential businesses working to massively increase demand for – and delivery of – renewable energy. This global initiative of influential businesses is committed to sourcing 100 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2020.
What will this accomplish?
Climate change is already causing societies and businesses to adapt. Imagine if we could use big data to show how. Imagine if we could map how air pollution impacts traffic patterns in real time, watch how a new policy changes a city’s daily water usage, or see purchasing habits change during floods or typhoons. This could transform the way that governments devise policies in the face of climate change. We need such data-driven climate solutions.
The Data for Climate Action Challenge seeks to mobilize the global business community to share data, or engage in “data philanthropy,” a growing form of corporate social responsibility whereby the private sector shares its data to advance the public good. By providing a platform for companies to come together and make data philanthropy commitments, and enabling the analysis of this data for the public good, the Data for Climate Action Challenge will open the door to transform public and private efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Learn more about Climate Action and all 17 Sustainable Development Goals at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13