A Climate Change Auditing System for Countries

climate change talks

International climate change negotiations are useful, but only to a point–it’s hard to keep track of pledges and commitments, and even harder to sort out whether countries are likely to follow through on their plans. Now the Open Climate Network, a project of the World Resources Institute, attempts to make nations accountable for their promises.

Launched at this month’s climate change conference in Cancun, the network will work alongside official reporting systems to strengthen reporting on key areas (i.e. climate financing). The OCN is, according to the WRI website, “the first major international initiative to complement quantitative
assessments of GHG emissions and financial flows with qualitative yet
consistent assessments of effectiveness, as well as commentary on
important national context from national experts.”

In other words, it cuts through the crap to figure out what nations are actually doing to quell climate change.

First up for the OCN: developing metrics to track climate change mitigation and financing efforts. After that, the OCN will set its sights on building national profiles and finally releasing the first assessments in 2011.

Ultimately, the hope is that a clear assessment process will help countries make climate change mitigation deals–and make the next United Nations Climate Change Conference a little less disappointing than Cancun and Copenhagen.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.AS