AN OPEN CLIMATE
ACCOUNTING SYSTEM

ABSTRACT

The open climate project is an open source initiative exploring the application of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and other emerging technologies, such as IoT (Internet of Things), big data and machine learning, to the challenge of helping the world keep a transparent climate accounting system towards the climate targets set in the 2015 Paris Agreement—i.e. maintaining anthropogenic warming below 1.5oC.

 

Global climate accounting, the process of recording climate actors and their actions in respect to the shared account of the planet’s climate state, occurs in diverse set of registry platforms that are individually centralized and collectively dispersed and unlinked. This is often due to lack of trust between actors, resisting to share data that exposes them to scrutiny. This project involves a software ‘platform of platforms,’ distinguished here as the Open Climate platform, the development of climate communication protocols, and a shared user interface as portal to the system. The platform is designed to act as a common integrator that can reconcile climate records and functions from both legacy and DLT-based climate platforms in the pursuit of helping maintain a decentralized ‘ledger of ledgers’. With climate actors and their associated records mapped in a shared network— ranging from countries, to companies to individuals— DLT and other cryptographic tools are primarily used to: provide general transparency alongside individual data privacy, prevention of double counting in the digital certification and trading of climate actions, and a platform for contractual automation of rules and mechanisms with financial nature; from Paris Agreement stocktakes to carbon pricing and rewards for mitigation outcomes.

THE OPEN CLIMATE FRAMEWORK

This stylized flow diagram provides a visual reference for the scope and logic of the open climate project, highlighting the potential of applying and integrating distributed ledgers across multiple layers pertaining to global climate accounting and the enforcement of the 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement. An integrated system, involving multiple blockchain mechanisms connected through shared protocols, allows contractual automation in the link between finance and climate value flow based on the agreed physical parameter of the Earth system (eg. 1.5oC). The climate portal allows users to interface with the global accounting system, as well as digital streamlining the interactive processes for individual actors/agents. 

A PLATFORM OF PLATFORMS

For the last year, the Yale Open Innovation Lab,  along with multiple other partners has been working on the concept of an 'Open Climate Platform;' designed to act as a 'platform of platforms’ by acting as a common integrator that can reconcile climate records and functions from both legacy and DLT-based (distributed ledger technology) climate platforms in the pursuit of helping maintain a decentralized ‘ledger of ledgers’.

 

This system creates a single point of truth of the remaining carbon budget and all carbon-related actions. Climate action is democratized through an integrated climate market, where certificates can be traded and climate actions can be financed. 

 

The project includes a user interface as a portal to the system, providing access to the main functions climate actors need to account their climate action progress and participate in compliance, trading and financial schemes.

A COLLECTIVE PROJECT

The open climate project is based on principles of radical inclusivity and equality at the planetary level. It is motivated by the belief that bottom-up civil action and collective intelligence is the most powerful innovation to address the climate challenge. 

The platform project combines multiple other platforms in advanced technological stages incubated and developed by a growing network of collaborators. For its combined development, the open climate project adopts a multi-stakeholder open innovation framework and consortium to actualize this ambitious endeavor through radical collaboration. 

 

THE ROLE OF DISTRIBUTED LEDGERS

With climate actors and their associated records mapped in a shared network— ranging from countries, to companies to individuals— distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and other cryptographic tools are primarily used to: provide general transparency alongside individual data privacy, prevention of double counting in the digital certification and trading of climate actions, and a platform for contractual automation of rules and mechanisms with financial nature; from Paris Agreement stock takes to carbon pricing and rewards for mitigation outcomes.

Smart contracts can be used automate key articles in the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, linking political actors and their commitments with the physical ecosystem state of the planet, and embed mechanism by which subnational and non-state actors can account their actions towards nationally determined contributions and participate in international markets of mitigation outcomes. 

THE URGENCY

EARTH'S CARBON CLOCK IS TICKING

At the current rate of emissions of 42 Gt of CO2e per year, the global atmospheric budget to stay below 1.5 degree warming will be exhausted in 8 years and 3 months. MCC Carbon Clock>

 

We are all planetary stakeholders and we have a shared account in the climate system.

Our aim is to materialize this shared account as a decentralized integrated system to enable climate accounting, climate action and climate finance.

Gieseke and Meinshausen (2016) Climate Spirals from emissions to temperatures, available here.

openclimate

VISION

Our shared climate future —consistent with a more resilient Earth system — requires a higher level of participation, collaboration and interoperability among climate stakeholders; from established government and private actors, to new climate action innovators and, ultimately, individual citizens. A tool that seamlessly integrates all elements in a transparent and participatory climate accounting system cannot be developed in silo.

MISSION

To develop and disseminate an open-source, integrated system and platform for helping the world transparently account and track its climate pledges and actions to prevent anthropogenic warming above 1.5oC.

ABOUT US

The Open Climate Collabathon was initially developed and incubated at the Yale Open Innovation Lab in order to collectively advance the open climate project. It was launched in 2019 as a proof-of-concept in the lead up to the UNFCCC COP25 climate summit.

In 2020, the Collabathon was launched as a non-profit initiative hosted by the Open Collective Foundation, organized by a collective of organizations (i.e. the co-organizing team) and governed by principles of do-ocracy. The co-organizing team is expected to commit efforts throughout a year long campaign, upon which the group is open for new organizers and team reconfigurations. 

2020 CO-ORGANIZING TEAM
 

2020 Open Climate Collabathon

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