December 7, 2015
Global businesses, government representatives showcase their commitment to share data, technology and big data expertise to accelerate action on climate change at COP21
Commitment is part of the UN-led Data for Climate Action campaign that brings together private-sector data and policymakers’ initiatives into collective action to tackle climate change
Paris, Monday, December 7, 2015 – A number of governments and businesses from around the world today pledged their support for Data For Climate Action, an innovation campaign to unlock new data and harness the power of data science to accelerate climate action. Data for Climate Action is hosted by Global Pulse, a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General.
At a session entitled “How Can the Data Revolution Accelerate Climate Action,” during the Caring for Climate Business Forum at COP21 in Paris today, government leaders underscored the urgency of accelerating climate action. Speakers included Mr. Robert C. Orr, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Change, and Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The Government of Mexico Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change and the National Digital Strategy, unveiled an open source exploration platform that uses open data to visualize climate change, why it occurs and how it might affect different regions; as well as to increase transparency and accountability in government actions, and track spending on adaptation and mitigation measures. This tool is now available to everyone around the world at datos.gob.mx/cambioclimatico.’
Several companies also made announcements. Some of the same data that private sector companies analyze to gain better understanding of customers, identify new markets and make better investment decisions contain a wealth of information that could be harnessed by policymakers to gain insight into how climate change affects human behavior and where opportunities lie to develop effective climate actions.
“Data for Climate Action” provides a platform for bringing the big data revolution to bear for sustainable development. Hosted by UN Global Pulse, and framed by principles that protect individual privacy, the campaign is mobilizing the global business community to share access to 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.
The companies joining the campaign include French telecom multinational operator, Orange; Planet Labs Inc., the Earth-imaging specialist headquartered in San Francisco, CA; and Schneider Electric SE, a multinational corporation that specializes in electricity distribution, automation management and components for energy management.
These companies plan to make de-identified and aggregate-level data on mobile phones usage patterns, satellite imagery and energy consumption available for research that could provide valuable insights on human behavior in the context of climate change, and will be the backbone of an open innovation Challenge in 2016.
- “Orange is looking forward to participating in Data For Climate Action Challenge, a unique opportunity to make the most of digital technology to accelerate progress for all. We will gladly contribute by sharing some aggregated data coming out of our local mobile networks in France and Senegal and offer our expertise in managing data based innovation challenges for the greatest support to development and climate issues,” said Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange.
- “It’s fantastic to see proactive and bold leadership by the UN and Global Pulse to use geospatial imagery and other data in the innovative development of climate solutions. Planet Labs is honored, as well as excited, to be able to share our imagery as part of the Data for Climate Action campaign, and we look forward to participating in increased climate resiliency,” said Will Marshall, CEO of Planet Labs.
In addition, Schneider Electric made a new data philanthropy announcement. “Schneider Electric recognizes the importance of big data in mitigating climate change, addressing the needs of farmers around the world, and aiding researchers in their quest for understanding the impact of weather on global food production,” said Ron Sznaider, Senior Vice President, Cloud Services, Schneider Electric.
Multinational technology companies SAP SE and Microsoft Corporation plan to support the Data for Climate Action campaign with technical expertise and computing power. “Microsoft is pleased to support the Data for Climate Action campaign through offering cloud computing infrastructure to participating university (or non-profit) researchers who can apply for access through the “Microsoft Azure for Research” grants program, as well as offering training and expert advice on how to best utilize the cloud to build flexible climate data solutions – in particular to aid in scalable and open research,” said Kate Krukiel, Microsoft‘s Director of Strategic Partnerships for International Organizations.
“The scale of the climate challenge is such that data-informed decisions will need to be routinely made by many people and organizations in countless ways at countless junctures – a daunting Big Data challenge,” said SAP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Daniel Schmid, Chief Sustainability Officer. “We’re eager to help digitally transform the machinery of the global economy to protect our planet’s climate.” SAP also sponsored the session at the Forum in Paris.
Finally, Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse, made a call to action to others to join the Data for Climate Action campaign. He said, “We invite companies who share our vision to leverage their data to drive innovation in climate action.”
About Data for Climate Action
Data for Climate Action is an innovation campaign to unlock new data and harness the power of data science to accelerate climate action, hosted by the UN Global Pulse initiative.
The next phase is a Data for Climate Action Challenge in 2016, which will invite institutions and vetted teams of researchers to analyze these data in order to unearth insights on climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.
Anoush Rima Tatevossian, Strategic Communications Officer, UN Global Pulse
Tel +1 917-379-5318