Data-Driven EnviroLab is partnering with Open Earth Foundation on a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation through its Reimagining Multilateralism grant call. The grant will allow us to build an Independent Climate Accounting Network (iCAN) to improve the efficiency of climate data collection and reporting for the Paris Agreement.

The Carnegie Corporation awarded over $3.6 million in funding to generate new ideas and solutions around the issues of multilateralism. They chose 11 grantees out of over 300 applicants, ultimately supporting studies of global health, counterterrorism, immigration, climate change, federal spending, government accountability, and more.

Our project hopes to address the global failure to reduce carbon emissions to the levels needed, and the lack of transparent, comparable and credible data to track the combined impact of global climate action that is at the crux of this failure. The 2015 Paris Agreement relies on self-reported data from national governments and climate actions from a wide range of local and private actors, but current climate accounting and reporting systems are outdated and can’t provide the timely information needed to accurately track our climate action progress, particularly now that the landscape of climate actors has ballooned.

Our hope is that an iCAN will fill this existing gap in climate action tracking data. iCAN will utilize global collaboration and innovative digital solutions to bring together an international community of stakeholders who will tackle climate data and policy challenges through virtual design sprints, workshops, and collaborative solution development.

We ultimately hope to build a ‘climate internet’ where multiple groups of global stakeholders can easily publish data on their climate actions and impacts in a way that will allow us to understand where the global climate stands in a timely manner. We also hope to bring together these stakeholders with technologists in order to identify opportunities for digital transformation in the climate accounting and global stocktake process.

Since DDL is a founding partner of the Climate Action Methodology, Data and Analysis Community, or Camda, a network of data and analytics experts from nearly 100 organizations, we will leverage this network to innovate a new path for the future of climate accounting — one that takes advantage of new, cutting-edge digital technologies like blockchain. Partnering with Camda, we launched our Climate Data 2.0 initiative in July 2021 as a workgroup to bring together leading digital technology and climate data experts and practitioners. Through three workstreams — digital architecture, data harmonization, and use case application — we aim to develop a roadmap for iCAN to participate in a Digitally-enabled, Independent Global Stocktake (DIGS) that will complement the Paris Agreement’s own 5-year stocktakes, but with more timely and complete data that is automatically collected and verified, rather than relying on self-reported information.

Ultimately, our vision is, as the Carnegie Corporation has challenged us, to reimagine multilateralism and design an alternative future for how we track climate action. For too long, accounting for climate action has been too onerous and unverifiable. Next-generation technologies that are emerging now could help address many of these persistent issues and address the lack of innovation in the leverage next-generation to address the climate crisis.