Open Climate. A global, transparent and integrated climate accounting system

The open climate project is an open source initiative exploring the application of blockchain and other emerging technologies, such as IoT (Internet of Things), big data and machine learning, to the challenge of helping the world keep a transparent accounting system as we strive to achieve the climate targets set in the 2015 Paris Agreement (PA)—i.e. maintaining anthropogenic warming below 1.5oC. The project is currently incubated at the Yale Open Innovation Lab (openlab) and combines multiple other project components incubated and developed by a growing network of collaborators.

The scope of the project’s vision includes recordswith scientific consensus of Earth’s ecosystem state as it pertains to carbon budget tracking, climate actor pledges, climate action records and certifications, the transaction of these credits/ certificates under international climate markets, and the mobilization of financial capital towards climate action. Such a broad integrated system pertains to a core value proposition that blockchain technology provides.

Hosting multiple climate accounting mechanisms connected through shared protocols, allows contractual automation in the link between finance and climate value flow based on agreed physical parameter of the Earth system (eg. 1.5oC warming). As a basis, this can act as a self-enforcing mechanism for the Paris Agreement, as well as enable new Paris-consistent smart contracts with reward & penalty functionalities to ensure accountability.

While the Paris Agreement pertains directly to countries’ roles and responsibilities (i.e. the parties to the UNFCCC), it is now well understood that the most relevant climate action champions are in fact subnational actors, such as cities, and non- state actors such as private corporations and organizations.

Furthermore, article 6 of the Paris Agreements introduces the incorporation of bottom- up climate action efforts to parties’ accounts, and the cooperation between parties to achieve their respective nationally determined contributions (NDC) using international transfer of mitigation outcomes (ITMOs).

The open climate project specifically targets its development to cater for this bottom-up climate action ecosystem, focusing on the mechanisms by which subnational and non-state actor pledges and certified actions can be incorporated into national efforts and international networked climate markets. In fact, a collaboration with the Data Driven EnviroPolicy Lab lead to the direct support of the National Science Foundation to develop a framework for using blockchain for climate action tracking (b-cat) of non-state actors.