The UNECE has published a Set of Core Climate Change-related Indicators and Statistics. This was accompanied by a collection of Implementation Guidelines, both endorsed by the Conference of European Statisticians (CES).

Climate change is an existential risk, presenting a gigantic challenge for humanity. To decide on the best course of action, a deeper understanding of all its aspects is vital.

As COP26 approaches, thus, decision-makers, climate activists and businesses globally are analysing findings connected to climate change. Reliable information is required not only on the measurements and models that depict that the climate is changing, but also on the many related aspects: the key drivers of change, like fossil fuel consumption and other sources of greenhouse gas emissions; the measurable impacts, such as water levels and species losses; mitigation efforts, for example money invested on renewable energy and promotion of a circular economy; and adaptations, namely changes in resource use patterns and agricultural practices.

Reducing the extent of climate change, lessening its impacts and better adapting to the changes it generates all depend upon high-quality statistics that may be used as benchmarks for goal-setting and reviewing progress. The Paris Agreement is centred around individual climate change intentions from all governments – nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – on which governments will monitor and feedback their progress towards the implementation and accomplishment of these plans under the enhanced transparency framework (ETF). The CES Indicator Set has founded statistical offices for nations to produce such data. It will support the implementation of the Paris Agreement and can be a useful tool for countries in their climate reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

These updated UNECE publications will enable countries to show the big picture, tackle the most relevant current policy questions and satisfy upcoming informational needs.  

The Set of Core Climate Change-related Indicators and Statistics

The Core Set includes 44 indicators covering:

  • Drivers: 9 indicators
  • Emissions: 9 indicators
  • Impacts: 13 indicators
  • Mitigation: 8 indicators
  • Adaptation: 5 indicators

 It also suggests corresponding contextual and operational indicators, assisting to interpret the core set in national and global contexts and to provide more details according to national circumstances and priorities.

Eight of the proposed indicators are SDG indicators (or conceptually identical), and four are global indicators for measuring the targets of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction. Twenty-seven of the proposed indicators can be produced from the SEEA-Central Framework (SEEA-CF) accounts or are related to SEEA Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EA).

Placeholders must be included for an indicator measuring the contribution of forestry to climate change adaptation and for an indicator measuring the impact of climate change on biodiversity. Both areas are highly relevant, but the Task Force could not identify appropriate indicators after consulting with international subject matter experts. The two placeholders need further work.

The indicators were created thanks to a Task Force of experts from around the UNECE region, as a result of calls made in the 2014 CES Recommendations on Climate Change-related Statistics. The selection of the indicators proceeded a stringent vetting process based on the criteria of policy relevance, methodological soundness and data availability. The findings are the recommended set of climate change-related indicators to be compiled and published in the CES member countries.

The indicator set goes with practical guidelines on producing the indicators within the contexts of different national policy priorities and data availability.

The publications are released before the UNECE Expert Forum for Producers and Users of Climate Change-related Statistics, which will take place in Geneva and online from 31 August to 3 September. These annual expert forums bring together not only producers but also users of climate change-related statistics, helping statisticians to collect and reply to the requirements of those who actually utilise the information.

Source: The UNECE