Last October 2022, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) concluded with hopefully good results in the form of adaptation finance for the countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change induced damages. However, the other negotiation results were rather lame: The goal of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees remains the same, but there are remarkable action and emission gaps which are showing that governments are not doing or even planning to do enough to reduce emissions. While the intergovernmental negotiations give little hope for tackling climate change, the side-events at COP27 demonstrated high motivation and concrete actions taken around the world. The hope evidently lies with people, cities, researchers, NGO’s and businesses that really transform and can drive the societal change.
Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center (ACCC) organized a side-event at Cryosphere Pavilion of the green zone at COP27 with the title “Data as a basis for policy, innovation and education”. The event included keynote speeches, a panel discussion, an interactive workshop and general discussion with the audience.
Mira Hulkkonen from Finnish Meteorological Institute opened the event with a presentation about the need to bring climate data closer to decision-makers and people. She showed two concrete examples of how the psychological distance and action gap can be made smaller by the means of smartly designed modelling. Concrete examples of climate data in action continued in the presentations of Scott Mackaro who told about Vaisala’s innovation called X-weather, Marta Gutierréz from EGI Foundation who explained about building the European Green Deal Data Space, and Andrew Pershing who introduced Climate Central’s Climate Shift Index. Marianne Santala from University of Helsinki INAR concluded the presentations by telling about the usage of climate data as a basis of education,and showcasing the versatile palette of climate education made available in Finland under the Climate University.
The presentations were followed by a panel discussion, where the panelists Mira, Marta, Scott, Andrew and Marianne discussed about what is still needed for the bridges between climate data providers and relevant end users to be complete. The discussion helped the audience to orientate towards the interactive part, where they had a low-threshold chance to provide their views about the challenges perceived in the usage of climate data in their respective sectors.
We got 84 responses to different statements, and voting was enabled by the Mentimeter tool. Both the panelists and the audience were rather unanimous: The willingness to consider climate change and to use climate data in different sectors is evidently high, but tools to get the relevant information in an applicable form are lacking. The interaction with individual audience members confirmed that there are still issues regarding the accessibility of climate change information. You can watch the recorded event here.
So there is a need for education on using climate data, and hopefully the new ClimComp course “Living with changing climate” will serve towards bridging the gap between data end-users and providers. Stay tuned for this new course pilot in spring 2023!
This blog post was posted originally at the Climate University post, and was written for Climate University and ACCC. Visit Climate University blog here!