The Rio+20 Summit emphasized that climate change represents an immediate and urgent global priority - new information is needed for climate change analysis. National governments have for many years published information on greenhouse gas emissions through a well-established collection and reporting process. Information on other aspects of climate change, including on the social and economic impacts of mitigation and adaptation, are less well developed.
National statistical offices offer a wide range of environmental, social and economic statistics that should be better used for climate change analysis. Many indicators exist but the focus differs among countries and international comparability requires improvements.
Climate change related statistics refers to environmental, social and economic data that measure the human causes of climate change, the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems, the efforts of humans to avoid its consequences as well as their efforts to adapt to those consequences that are unavoidable.
The Conference of European Statisticians set up a Task Force on climate change related statistics in November 2011. The Task Force is to identify priorities for the further development of climate change related statistics in national statistical offices and to explore data requirements of users of these statistics. The Task Force primarily addresses data that are already collected by statistical offices and that can support analysis or research related to climate change. Scientific data (e.g. meteorological data) that measure changes in weather and climate are not a focus of the Task Force. Click here for more information about UNECE Task Forces.
Before launching the Task Force, a survey of statistical offices was conducted among member countries of the UNECE and the OECD to explore the extent to which statistical offices are involved in producing climate change related statistics. Of the 48 offices that replied, 37 reported involvement in work related to greenhouse gas emission inventories and 18 produced other statistics related to climate change. Survey respondents called for an investigation of ways in which their data could be made more useful for climate change analysis and decision-making.
The Task Force drafted interim recommendations on key directions in climate change related statistics for the plenary session of the Conference of European Statisticians in June 2013. The Conference supported the interim recommendations and asked countries and international organizations to provide their comments. A progress report was also presented for information.
The final report of the Task Force is planned to be submitted to the Conference of European Statisticians in April 2014.
The United Nations Secretary-General has put climate change at the top of the United Nations agenda. Here you can find information about UNECE work on climate change.
Meetings and events
The Task Force organized an expert meeting on Climate Change Related Statistics for Producers and Users on 19-20 November 2012 in Geneva to explore the user demand and take stock of what statistical offices are doing in the area. The meeting brought together around 50 producers and users of climate change information, and the discussions provided valuable input to the Task Force work.
A second expert meeting to discuss the draft final report of the Task Force, including its recommendations, was held on 8-9 October 2013 in Geneva. The draft final report is available here.
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