You are browsing the archive for environment.

A climate data sprint in Germany focused on renewable energy: Open Data Day 2020 report

- May 17, 2020 in climate data, environment, germany, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogpost is a report by Aileen Robinson from WikiRate in Germany who received funding from Datopian to engage the public in the research and collection of open data about how companies are impacting climate change. Wikirate celebrates Open Data Day 2020 in Berlin, Germany Making data about corporate environmental and social impacts open and accessible to all is the core of our work at WikiRate. This March we were delighted to organise a climate data sprint as part of Open Data Day, an annual celebration organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation to champion open data across the world.  The aim of the sprint was to engage the public in a deep-dive look at corporate renewable energy commitments and performance as part of our project to collect environmental data about the top 100 corporate emitters and better understand their impacts. 

The project

Last year we launched a new open data project in collaboration with Plan A to collect environmental impact data on the 100 most greenhouse gas emitting companies in the world, as set out in the Climate 100+ list. We began this project by collecting emissions data on these companies, and soon broadened the scope to also include data on corporate policies and energy usage. Due to the complexity of capturing comparable data on renewables, we decided to frame our data sprint around this topic.  The transition to renewable energy is recognised as a necessity if we are to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce emissions across the world. Collecting and tracking the ways in which companies are delivering on this goal is a complex task. For us, the key question was: how can we best leverage public data to compare the performance and commitments to renewable energy transition of the companies? With this question in mind, we began preparations for the event. 

The open data sprint

We invited members of the public to take part in a data sprint in Berlin on the 6th of March to help us frame the research and start collecting open data on some of the top emitters. We started by setting up some key metrics on the WikiRate platform to test out during the event. These included Global Reporting Initiative metrics on energy and fuel usage, as well as some new metrics on renewable energy usage and renewable energy commitments. Our partner organisation, Ecosia, kindly offered to host the event in their office and to give some insights on how they have used information like this through their Green Leaf project On a cold and wet Berlin day, we were joined by 30 attendees who generously gave their time to brainstorm the topic and add open data about the companies on the WikiRate platform. The attendees came from a diversity of backgrounds including sustainability professionals, renewable energy experts, students and data scientists. We were also joined by Pascal Tsachouridis, representative of Naturstrom, who contributed his valuable expertise on the subject. Wikirate celebrates Open Data Day 2020 in Berlin, Germany

The findings

Some of the key observations from the event focused on the accessibility of data. Many of the companies researched by the attendees did publish some data on their renewable energy usage and commitments but the data was patchy and difficult to get to – mostly hidden in hundred-page sustainability reports.  Another issue which came up again and again was a lack of transparency in energy performance reporting. Most of the companies did not provide a methodology or use a reporting standard for the calculation of their energy usage. Similarly, companies used different energy units to report their energy consumption. However the meaning of the abbreviations was not always published. This meant the researchers were left unsure whether the manner in which companies reported their energy usage had left them comparing apples with oranges.  On the topic of commitments, 73% of the companies researched did have some kind of commitment towards renewable energy transition. The attendees were able to collect some structured data on those companies who made specified targets on renewables, the problem lay with the companies whose commitments were too vague to make any sort of comparison with their energy performance.

The research continues

The research does not stop here. Throughout this year we will be continuing to engage the public in collecting open data on the climate impacts and renewable energy performance of the companies. The data sprint provided an ideal jumping-off point for narrowing in on what data is out there, and how we can structure the collection of this data in a way that makes it truly accessible and comparable.  Free and open data will help us to understand companies’ impacts and to fight climate change on many fronts: 1) governments and analysts can take better decisions about emissions regulations and thresholds, 2) companies can improve their performance, 3) investors can more accurately assess sustainable investments and, 4) consumers are empowered to make sustainable purchasing and lifestyle decisions, and influence environmentally friendly policies. We look forward to continuing this work in the coming months, and would urge anyone reading who would like to be involved to get in touch with our team A final word to say thank you to everyone who donated their valuable time to take part in the data sprint, to our event partners Plan A and Ecosia and to the Open Knowledge Foundation for supporting the event. We’d also like to give a shout-out to Restaurant Sotto who fuelled the research with some delicious vegetarian and vegan pizzas! The Climate Change & Renewable Energy crowd-research project is active on the WikiRate platform. Do you want to help us with this project? You can sign up as a volunteer researcher and start contributing right away.

Open Data for Clean Air in Medellin – ODD2017

- April 13, 2017 in air quality, environment, Latin America, Open Data Day

“The Uruguay is not a river” – Open Data Day Rio Uruguay builds a new community

- April 12, 2017 in argentina, environment, Open Data Day, river, uruguay

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2017. On Saturday 4 March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 44 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by SPARC, the Open Contracting Program of Hivos, Article 19, Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. This event was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the open data for environment theme. This blog was originally written in Spanish and was translated by Mor Rubinstein and Oscar Montiel. The Singer-songwriter, Anibal Sampayo,described the Uruguay River in a unique way:  “El Uruguay no es un río: es un cielo azul que viaja”. Meaning, The Uruguay is not a river: It is blue sky that travels. Born in the coastal town of Paysandú, Sampayo knew how to summarise in this song the importance of this watercourse that links three countries: Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Hundreds of years of history have passed through this watercourse. These three nations raised and got independence from the Spanish and Portuguese empires, they had lived together through periods of encounters and calm. In the last decades, social-political problems affected the relations between Argentina and Uruguay, and now slowly this relationship is building up. At the same time, the residents of the coastal zones are witnessing the effects of huge floods, a product of climate change. With the aim to support the affected population, the data journalism organisations of  Subsidios Claros in Uruguay and Datos Concepción in Argentina have created a joint task force to help this issue. We chose to join the global call for Open Data Day event that happened on the 4th of March, and we created the binational event: The Uruguay river open data day. The activity took place in the city of  Paysandú since its location is easy to access from both Argentina and Uruguay. The primary objective for the day was that institutions, experts, and activists of the area could create an interactive map of the activities that are connected to the river As a key point, we tackled the problem of the massive floods in the cities of  Paysandú and Salto in Uruguay and the cities Concordia, Concepción, San José and Colón in the region of Entre Ríos in Argentina There were two tasks for the day. The first task was to produce an alarm system for the cities mentioned above by using an open data dataset of climate effects. As a second task, we tried to analyse the different environmental, economic and demographic impact of this area. We were honoured by the presence of government officials from the municipalities of Concepción, San José, and Paysandú, together with journalists, graphic designers, programmers and citizens who are interested in the topic. With the exception of one government member, the participants did not have prior knowledge about the significance or use of open data. The peak point of our work was that those who were affected by the floods were actively participating, and they saw how technology with civic purpose can help to find solutions for their problems. People of different ages, genders, profiles, cities and interests met and created teams and proposals in less than 8 hours of the hackathon. In the end, symbolic prizes were given – jams that were produced by local women from the region. The event was successful, and people created follow-up actions. Now are expecting to have a second meeting for the community. This session will be defined in the near future.

The future

This event created a network of people and organisations that are linked by the theme. The founders of this initiative, Adrian Pino (Datos Concepción) and Maximiliano Debenedetti (Subsidios Claros), coordinate the work of a bi-national team that will ensure the continuity of the project. The project achieved some partnerships that will give sustainability to the project:  The municipalities of Paysandú and Concepción, a company from the region – Río Uruguay Seguros, the agency for development of Paysandú, the agency for digital government in Uruguay (AGESIC) and the future participation of the binational organisation CARU From this activity, three projects that will work simultaneously were brought to life. All created by the attendees and presented as the result of a day of work. At the same time, because of the media attention (we got several notes of journalists from both countries) and dissemination on government websites about these subjects, a large number of public and private institutions are interested in what we can achieve. They have sent us their support and communicated with the organisers. All in all, we can assert that the activity on of March 4th is the kickstart of a proposal to research, to work together and integrate. We wish that this work will follow the blue sky that travels and it will arrive at the to success.

Coexistence of mate! On the left: Mate from Uruguay, on the Right: Mate from Argentina

Getting the Measure of Scotland’s Air Pollution Problem

- June 11, 2015 in environment, Featured, health, Open Government Data

Air Pollution in Scotland Air pollution concentrations are so high they are breaking national safety standards and damaging health in many parts of Scotland. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, and even less likely places such as Inverness, have all declared Pollution Zones where toxic air levels regularly break Scottish regulatory standards — standards which were due more »

Getting the Measure of Scotland’s Air Pollution Problem

- June 11, 2015 in environment, Featured, health, Open Government Data

Air Pollution in Scotland Air pollution concentrations are so high they are breaking national safety standards and damaging health in many parts of Scotland. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, and even less likely places such as Inverness, all have Pollution Zones where toxic air levels regularly break Scottish regulatory standards — standards which were due to be more »

Getting the Measure of Scotland’s Air Pollution Problem

- June 11, 2015 in environment, Featured, health, Open Government Data

Air Pollution in Scotland Air pollution concentrations are so high they are breaking national safety standards and damaging health in many parts of Scotland. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, and even less likely places such as Inverness, all have Pollution Zones where toxic air levels regularly break Scottish regulatory standards — standards which were due to be more »

Getting the Measure of Scotland’s Air Pollution Problem

- June 11, 2015 in environment, Featured, health, Open Government Data

Air Pollution in Scotland Air pollution concentrations are so high they are breaking national safety standards and damaging health in many parts of Scotland. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, and even less likely places such as Inverness, all have Pollution Zones where toxic air levels regularly break Scottish regulatory standards — standards which were due to be more »

Environmental Application Challenge for the Environmental Protection Agency in the US

- July 8, 2011 in app, challenge, Data, environment, epa

alt text alt text I've uploaded them as images, but take a look at the document and give some feedback. Im posting here the links so you can go directly to them. Bibliography

Environmental Application Challenge for the Environmental Protection Agency in the US

- July 8, 2011 in app, challenge, Data, environment, epa

alt text alt text I've uploaded them as images, but take a look at the document and give some feedback. Im posting here the links so you can go directly to them. Bibliography