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Big Environmental Data for the Bigger Picture

With the buzz of COP21 in the air, the 21st Instalment of the annual Conference of the Parties, we witness the world collaborating in discussions of how to limit the progress of climate change. In spite of varying political motivations, we can all agree that in order to avoid catastrophic climate damage average global temperatures need to be kept in check.

 

So how do we achieve this? Well this is what a handful of nations have proposed:

- The United States of America pledges to reduce its emissions by 26-28% by 2025

- The European Union pledges to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2030

- Russia pledges to reduce its emissions by an impressive 70-75% by 2030

 

Scientists may doubt if these commitments are ambitious enough to make any true impact towards maintaining the 2 degrees Celsius goal. However, one thing is certain and acknowledged by the nations; measurement that the commitments are being delivered is a major challenge. The world will never know if any objectives are met unless key influencers, such as energy companies, become more comprehensive with environmental data and in particular tracking and reporting emission improvements globally.

 

With industry environmental impacts controlled by regional and national legislation, compliance becomes a box ticking exercise in each location with little attention to how an organisation is performing across their global operations. If those operations can thrive in a region with mature environmental regimes then there is no reason why industry cannot apply the same environmental restraints across the globe.

 

The planet is at risk, hand cranking best guess numbers is just not good enough. Countries are preparing themselves for changes in legislation and tighter compliance. Industry requires a robust environmental data management system with factual and extensive data sets that support measurement and forecasting. Only then will we be able to decipher the bigger picture.