The High Line Park in New York City. Many cities are adding parks and green spaces to urban areas to help reduce the impact of urban heat. Photo by David Berkowitz (CC BY 2.0).

During the week of September 21, 2019, the Data-Driven Lab team will travel to New York to participate in the 2019 UN Climate Change Summit, a call for concrete climate action launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. 

The Summit represents one of the last check-ins ahead of a 2020 deadline for countries to review – and potentially submit more ambitious – national climate action plans (National Determined Contributions or NDCs) in support of the Paris Agreement. Countries’ current commitments put the world on a path for 3°C of warming by 2100 — far overshooting the Paris Agreement’s goal of capping global temperature rise “well-below” 2 degrees Celsius (℃), and aiming to stay below a 1.5 ℃ increase. 

To date, only the Marshall Islands has put forward an updated plan. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on national leaders to bring “concrete, realistic plans” to the Summit, that set targets in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The Summit will highlight these efforts, along with commitments from other actors – including cities, regions, companies, and citizens – that can help countries to ratchet up their goals to meet what the science calls for. 

Data can play a critical role in these discussions. In several events described below, Data-Driven Lab will share projects that measure cities, regions, and companies’ ability to reduce emissions; track the impacts of climate change across different city neighborhoods; and investigate the potential for emerging technology to support efforts to address the climate crisis.

Data-Driven Lab Climate Week Activities:

Launch of a new report: Global Climate Action from Cities, Regions, and Businesses: Individual actors, collective initiatives, and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions
12:01am CEST, Wednesday, September 18

A new report, Global Climate Action from Cities, Regions, and Businesses: Individual actors, collective initiatives, and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions, represents the most up-to-date, comprehensive effort to aggregate the potential cities, regions and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This analysis, from NewClimate Institute, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Data-Driven Lab, University of Oxford and the German Development Institute, updates a first-of-its-kind 2018 analysis

A link to the published version of the report will be shared on September 18th.

Sustainable Development Impact Summit: Leveraging the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the 2030 Agenda
11:15 am -12:45 pm EST, Monday 23 September 

Dr. Hsu will lead a break-out discussion, focused on charting a shared agenda for the “tech for good” space, as part of the Leveraging the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the 2030 Agenda event at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit. While the tech for good space is growing rapidly — with partnerships and initiatives emerging from both public and private sector — no shared understanding of the grand challenges or opportunities for collaboration exists. This breakout session will discuss what’s needed to align and scale these efforts, and what critical barriers or roadblocks these efforts may need to overcome.

Invitation only.

Blockchain & Digital Technologies for Global Climate Action Tracking and Accounting
8:45 am – 12:00 pm EST, Tuesday, September 24, 2019

This roundtable discussion, hosted by Data-Driven Lab and the Yale Open Innovation Lab (OpenLab), will focus on the practical opportunities to use emerging digital technologies to streamline and incentivize climate action data collection, monitoring, verification, and analysis. 

If you are interested in participating, please contact Amy Weinfurter ( for more details. 

Sustainable Development Impact Summit: The Big Picture on Urban Fragility 
3:00 – 3:45 pm EST, Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Data-Driven Lab Director and Yale-NUS Assistant Professor Angel Hsu will share insights from Urban Environment and Social Inclusion Index (UESI) at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit, as part of the Global Situation Space forum. This forum enables researchers to utilize the Earthtime Platform, developed by Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE Lab, to tell data-rich stories on a range of themes: Dr. Hsu’s presentation will address urbanization and growing fragility within cities.

Invitation only.

The Climate Group: Action and Reward
2:30 – 5:00 pm EST, Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Through a series of panel discussions, this Climate Hub event, Action and Reward, will explore the benefits of climate action for states, regions, cities, and businesses. It will highlight how demonstrating high accountability for climate actions can unlock rewards such as investment and innovation – and how this, in turn, can lead to increased engagement and build public trust.

Dr. Angel Hsu will participate in one of the event’s panels, discussing the potential of innovative data collection and analysis strategies in this virtuous cycle. She will also share the results of a forthcoming report on Global Climate Action from Cities, Regions, and Businesses, the most comprehensive assessment to date of these actors’ potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Invitation only.