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February 13, 2017

Is Actionable Climate Knowledge Available?

The world has been trying to reverse climate change for 30+ years. When I was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during the 1990s, we worried about an ice-free Arctic by the 2070s. Now the IPCC is talking about an ice-free Arctic by the 2020s, and many scientists are worried that global climate models are too conservative. Is climate change simply too big a “wicked problem” to solve? Maybe so, but what if we could better adapt climate strategies to the “wicked problem” characteristics of climate change and today’s political environment — what if we could play better Climate Chess? We’ve launched a Patreon project toward this goal.

About six years ago, I saw a conference presentation by the authors of Influencer: the Power to Change Anything, reflecting on the critical importance of “actionable knowledge” to human decision-making. Carla O’Dell once said, “if only we knew what we know,” and it dawned on me that day that even though we collectively know A LOT about climate change and climate change solutions, individual decision-makers can’t get at the actionable knowledge they need when it is spread across and trapped within so many topical and disciplinary silos. Since then, at The Climatographers we have been working to build an actionable knowledge solution for climate change. The Climate Web is the result.

15,000 hours of work later…what can the Climate Web do for you? Maybe it saves you a few hours or a few days of time. Maybe it points you to resources you would never otherwise have found. Maybe it helps you think about climate change solutions in a completely new way. Maybe it provides you with the knowledge building blocks you need to build a new knowledge tool. Maybe it lets you teach climate change differently, or develop customized climate risk scenarios for your business. Want to access a Good News Dashboard, or a Sea Level Rise Dashboard? They are in the Climate Web. Want to learn about climate science, how to communicate climate change, or what experts are forecasting regarding a low-carbon transition? Want to find out what experts are saying about carbon pricing and cap-and-trade policy? It’s all in the Climate Web. Want to figure out how to play Climate Chess? The Climate Web identifies the teams, the players, and the pieces each team has on the board. Want to know how climate change will fare under the Trump Administration, and what you can do? The Climate Web can help! In fact, if there is an answer to climate change it’s probably in the Climate Web. And we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible!

Based on 28 years working on climate change, and many years working on knowledge management, I’m convinced that something like the Climate Web is desperately needed to help promote climate collaboration and learning. Our Patreon project is intended to help further that goal. We hope that this Patreon project can demonstrate that people are interested in thinking about climate solutions in new ways. After 30 years we need to try new things!

Even with almost no publicity or outreach, more than 30,000 people have used the Climate Web to date. We’ve kept it open access because our fundamental goal is accelerating climate progress. If you agree with that goal, consider supporting our project at Patreon. The level doesn’t matter; it’s the support that counts.

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Climatographer Team

  • This is wonderful! Information is so critical to initiatives needed to address climate change. People cannot act on what they don’t know. And it is hard to invest in the ambiguous – concrete facts and figures help people decide where they want to put their energies. Well done!

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