[okfn-discuss] How is Obama’s new climate action plan going to use open data to tackle climate change?

Christian Villum christian.villum at okfn.org
Wed Jun 26 10:09:22 UTC 2013

*(apologies for any cross posting)*

Fresh off the OKFN blog; comments on US President Obama's announcement last
night of the new action plan to fight climate change:

How is Obama’s new climate action plan going to use open data to tackle
climate change?
June 26, 2013 in Campaigning <http://blog.okfn.org/category/campaigning/>, Open
Data <http://blog.okfn.org/category/open-data/>,

Last night US President Barack Obama announced a major new action plan to
fight climate change <http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan>.
The plan includes measures to regulate coal, cut emissions in many areas,
boost green energy, increase climate resilience as well as to take stronger
international leadership in achieving carbon emissions cuts.

We were delighted to see that the plan includes using open data to tackle
climate change.

In particular it announces a new ‘Climate Data Initiative’, which is described
as follows<http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/image/president27sclimateactionplan.pdf>

Consistent with the President’s May 2013 Executive Order on Open Data – and
recognizing that freely available open government data can fuel
entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific discovery, and public benefits –
the Administration is launching a Climate Data Initiative to leverage
extensive federal climate-relevant data to stimulate innovation and
private-sector entrepreneurship in support of national climate-change

This would inform the development of “a virtual climate resilience toolkit
that centralizes access to data-driven resilience tools, services, and best
practices”, including things like tools for risk-analysis for coastal areas.

There is also mention of assessing and addressing gaps in data about
methane emissions and using energy data from Federal agencies to cut their
energy consumption.

While overall the new plan places an emphasis on using open data to *prepare
* for climate change, we hope that the Obama administration will also
recognise *the role of carbon emissions transparency in trying to
prevent climate
change* – by tracking emissions and holding big polluters to account as
well as by monitoring changes in the environment and weather.

There is no doubt that Obama will be facing significant opposition to his
plans from Congress, and hence he will still have a long fight ahead of him
to implement many parts of it. Increasing climate resilience and achieving
emissions cuts in Federal agencies will be much easier wins than the vast
task of reducing emissions from energy plants, which account for over two
thirds of overall emissions in the US.

Obama needs to secure big cuts from big polluters – and he, they and we
need to keep our eyes on the numbers to see whether progress keeps up with

We hope his administration will continue to recognise the *role of open
data in holding polluters to account*, as well as in increasing climate
resilience and reducing federal energy efficiency.

*Image credits: “2012 was the second most extreme year on record for the
nation” – detail from White House
infographic<http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan> to
accompany Obama’s climate action plan.*
Go to blog post:


Christian Villum

Community Manager, Open Government Data + Local Groups Network
skype: christianvillum  |  @villum <http://www.twitter.com/villum>
The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org/>
*Empowering through Open Knowledge
*http://okfn.org/  |  @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN>  |  OKF on
  |  Blog <http://blog.okfn.org/>  |
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