September 7, 2021 – The UNECE recently (August 31) published a set of core indicators and statistics related to climate change, as well as a set of implementation guidelines, both approved by the Conference of European Statisticians (THOSE).
Climate change is an existential threat and represents a huge challenge for humanity. A better understanding of all its aspects is crucial in deciding the best course of action.
As COP26 approaches, policymakers, climate activists and businesses around the world are therefore looking more than ever at the numbers related to climate change. Reliable information is needed not only on the measurements and models that show that the climate is changing, but also on the many related aspects: the main drivers of change, such as the consumption of fossil fuels and other sources of carbon emissions. greenhouse gas ; measurable impacts, such as water levels and loss of species; mitigation efforts, for example money spent on renewables and promoting a circular economy; and adaptations, including changes in resource use patterns and agricultural practices.
Minimizing the scale of climate change, reducing its impacts and better adapting to the changes it brings all depend on high-quality statistics that can serve as a benchmark for setting goals and monitoring progress. The Paris Agreement is built around individual climate plans from all governments – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – upon which governments will monitor and report on their progress towards the implementation and achievement of these plans under the enhanced transparency framework (ETF). The CES indicator set provides the basis for country statistical offices to produce such data. It will support the implementation of the Paris Agreement and can be a useful tool for countries in their climate reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
These new UNECE publications will allow countries to present the big picture, address the most relevant current policy issues and respond to future information needs.
The set of basic indicators and statistics related to climate change
The Core Set includes 44 indicators covering:
- Pilots: 9 indicators
- Emissions: 9 indicators
- Impacts: 13 indicators
- Mitigation: 8 indicators
- Adaptation: 5 indicators
It also offers corresponding contextual and operational indicators, helping to interpret the core set in national and global contexts and to provide more detail according to national circumstances and priorities.
Eight of the proposed indicators are SDG (or conceptually identical) indicators, and four are global indicators to measure the targets of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction. Twenty-seven of the proposed indicators can be produced from SEEA-Central Framework (SEEA-CF) accounts or are linked to SEEA’s ecosystem accounting (SEEA-EA).
Reserved spaces had to be included for an indicator measuring the contribution of forestry to adaptation to climate change and for an indicator measuring the impact of climate change on biodiversity. Both areas are highly relevant, but the Working Group was unable to identify appropriate indicators after consulting with international experts in the field. The two reserved spaces require additional work.
The indicators were developed by a task force of experts from across the UNECE region, following calls in the 2014 ETUC Recommendations on Climate Change Statistics. The selection of indicators followed a careful control process based on the criteria of political relevance, methodological soundness and data availability. The result is the recommended set of climate change related indicators to be compiled and published in ETUC member countries.
The set of indicators is accompanied by practical guidelines on producing indicators in the context of different national policy priorities and data availability.
The publications are published ahead of the UNECE Expert Forum for Producers and Users of Climate Change Statistics, to be held in Geneva and online from August 31 to September 3. These annual expert forums bring together not only producers but also users of climate change statistics, helping statisticians to collect and meet the needs of those who actually use the information.
The Conference of European Statisticians (CES) brings together heads of national statistical offices from UNECE member states, OECD member countries and beyond, including from as far away as Argentina, Brazil, ‘Ecuador and Mongolia. These chief national statisticians, as well as statisticians from international organizations such as the OECD, Eurostat, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, CIS-Stat, EFTA, the European Central Bank and various United Nations agencies, form the governing body for statistical work in the UNECE region.
Through its work on environment and climate change statistics, UNECE helps countries to compile reliable and comparable statistics. CES has established a steering group to guide its work on climate change statistics. The methodological work of the CES contributes to improving statistics and indicators linked to climate change and to measuring dangerous events and disasters.
About the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) of the Paris Agreement
The ETF will introduce an increased scope and depth of collection, processing, analysis, compilation and reporting of climate data. Governments have the flexibility to adapt their institutional arrangements to their national circumstances, existing organizational mandates and priorities. The level of participation of national statistical offices (NSOs) in institutional arrangements for climate communication and transparency may vary from country to country.
Many countries are now assessing how national entities work together to collect, manage and report climate information and data.
As part of the ETF, it is mandatory for all governments to report in biennial transparency reports (BTRs) on climate action and support, undergo technical review by experts from their BTRs as well as a multilateral review facilitating progress. Parties must submit the first BTR under the ETF by 31 December 2024 and subsequent reports every two years thereafter.
Source: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
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