While earthquakes are not climate-driven, the damage they cause is similar to that of extreme weather, and this example demonstrates the importance of openly sharing data. Indeed, there are big payoffs for both civil society and governments that implement open data policies.

The idea of making data open is nothing new, but for many countries, the challenge of doing so and the investment upfront means that much of the critical climate-related data that governments need remains locked away or in unusable formats. In some cases, the barrier is cultural or political: if sharing data and information has not been previously expected or enforced, there may be inertia to changing practices, a desire to withhold information as a source of power, or, in some cases, fear of accountability. Additionally, implementing open data practices requires staff time and technical capacity to set up the data infrastructure to publish online and ensure that it is updated, curated, and easy to find.

The scale and urgency of the climate crisis requires coordination across sectors and collaboration with non-state actors and civil society. And it couldn’t be more critical: countries must demonstrate increased climate ambition while building trust — both domestically and internationally — through the transparent and accountable implementation of policies. By applying open data principles governments can strengthen cooperation, identify the data needs of different users, reduce redundancies in reporting to donors, build trust with their constituencies and enable innovation.

New research from WRI and the Open Data Charter reveals not only what some of the big payoffs are, but how to achieve them. Here are four of the many benefits countries can expect from implementing open data policies for addressing the climate emergency:

  • Improved decision-making
  • Strengthened collaboration
  • Enhanced monitoring
  • Improved modeling

Read the full article about open data for addressing climate emergencies by Delfina Grinspan & Jesse Worker at GreenBiz.