Open Climate Network (OCN), a global network that will track countries’ progress toward cutting emissions and providing climate finance, was launched this week at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico. Led by the World Resources Institute (WRI), OCN convenes independent research institutes around the world to provide consistent and peer-reviewed information on major economies’ actions on climate change.
“Major economies have made high-level commitments to tackle climate change, but it has been difficult to access information about their progress that is consistent and trusted at the international level,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of the Climate and Energy Program at WRI. “OCN fills this gap by tapping the world’s leading research institutes to develop a highly credible source of information about countries’ progress.”
The network is expected to complement official reporting systems – an ongoing source of tension in the UNFCCC negotiations – by improving consistency for key topics, such as climate financing, and drawing on national experts to shed light on what is working, what isn’t, and why.
“Understanding where others are going is absolutely vital – that mutual trust is fundamental,” said Lord Nicholas Stern, speaking at the OCN launch on December 4. “What is happening under the OCN will complement the official line,” he continued, referring to the national communications and inventories prepared under the UNFCCC.
OCN is now developing a consistent framework for tracking progress on mitigation and financing. “Getting the metrics right is the first step,” said Taryn Fransen, who manages OCN at WRI. “By tracking the right information, we’ll not only be able to monitor progress, but also help stakeholders design more effective policies.” The network will then develop national profiles and implement an extensive review process before publishing the first assessments in late 2011.
To date, OCN partners include Australia’s Climate Institute, Canada’s Pembina Institute, China’s Renmin and Tsinghua Universities, Denmark’s CONCITO, France’s Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Germany’s Oeko Institute (which will also provide information on the European Union), India’s The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Japan’s Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Mexico’s Mario Molina Center, and Norway’s Zero Emission Resource Organisation. WRI will serve as the Secretariat and the point organization for the United States, and is exploring additional partnerships in the UK, Brazil, South Africa, and elsewhere.
For more information about Open Climate Network, please visit http://www.wri.org/project/open-climate-network.