- Welcome everyone. I am delighted to be at this wonderful venue.
- As we prepare to “swing into action” here tonight, I want first to acknowledge the symbolic importance of this event here at the Newseum, a very special place that celebrates the value of communication, transparency, openness and freedom of information. These values are also at the core of the World Bank’s mission and our drive for Results, Openness and Accountability.
- I’d also like to recognize the timing of this event, immediately after Rio +20, which brought together thousands of people around issues ranging from cities to sustainable energy, oceans, food, water and landscapes.
- Rio showed the vital need for partnerships. Take the more than 100 countries, private companies, civil society groups and international organizations that declared their support for the Bank backed new Global Partnership for Oceans.
- Or the support for Green Accounting - factoring the value of natural assets like clean air, clean water, forests and other ecosystems into countries systems of national accounting and business decision-making.
Swing into Action
- But Rio also demonstrated something else. Climate change and the environment are too important be left to negotiators. We don’t need - and can’t afford - to wait for others to get things done. We can all be powerful catalysts for change. What we just saw on the screen says it all – “All it takes is you”.
- Climate change is one of the biggest development challenges of our time. It is here, now, impacting every aspect of our lives – be it food, water, or the air we breathe. It threatens to reverse the hard-won development gains made over the last decades.
- And climate change will hit developing countries the hardest. It's poor countries that will suffer the earliest and the most. Its poor countries where higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more frequent weather-related disasters will threaten agriculture, food, and water supplies.
- The hard truth is that we have almost run out of time. The window of opportunity to curb emissions, limit rises in global temperatures and help countries deal with its impacts is closing. We need solutions, and we need them now.
- So what's the gamechanger? I want to suggest to you tonight that it here before our eyes: a powerful and transformative combination of technology and people power. Its a combination that can help us leapfrog old paradigms, old development models, and old North-South divides.
- One of the reasons we are all here this evening is to celebrate our Apps4Climate finalists, whose ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit can only inspire us. We’re also launching “Voices4Climate,” a new Connect4Climate/MTV global competition in search of the world’s most powerful climate stories told through photos, videos, and music.
Opening up Development / Climate Change
- But to capitalize on that heady cocktail of technology and people power, we need information. Action is nothing without information. Freely available climate-related data is essential to catalyze the changes in policies, investments and technologies that will be needed if we are to move towards a climate-smart future.
- So let me relate that to the World Bank.
- The Bank made a giant leap forward when in 2010 we opened up our data so we can help countries adapt to change, as well as mitigate what is to come. These data cover climate systems, exposure to climate impacts, resilience, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy use.
- We have been using crowd-sourcing, and combining data with geo-mapping. 9rowd-sourced hackathons hosted by the Bank have enabled the tech community and disaster experts to jointly develop applications in response to disasters in Haiti and Pakistan and have “virtually” brought together people from around the globe to devise solutions to water and other development issues.
- Last December, we launched an Open Climate Data Initiative, and a Climate Change Knowledge Portal including visualization tools depicting temperature and rainfall scenarios to the year 2100, linking users to more than 250 socio-economic indicators, and risk profiles for 40 countries that integrate climate and disaster risk.
- If you want to use water indicators to assess the impact of climate change across 8,000 water basins worldwide, the information is there.