WASHINGTON, June 28, 2012 – A software application developed in Argentina that teaches about energy consumption, climate change and the actions needed to reduce carbon emissions took first place in the World Bank “Apps for Climate” competition today. “Ecofacts” was one of 14 finalists from around the world that were celebrated tonight at the Connecting for Climate event at the Newseum in Washington, DC.
“From carbon calculators and classroom tools to new ways of visualizing climate data and planning policy responses, the “Apps for Climate” submissions are impressive. These developers rose to the challenge posed by the WB’s Open Climate Data Initiative and have produced some outstanding products,” said World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey, who gave the keynote speech at the event.
“Apps for Climate” was announced in December 2011 during the United Nations COP-17 climate conference in Durban, South Africa. Developers had until March 16, 2012 to develop and submit their applications, which are now publicly available. A total prize purse of $55,000 was awarded to the finalists.
Entries were reviewed by a panel of expert judges, including Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President of Sustainable Development; Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi; Andrew Steer, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change; and Patrick Svenburg, Director, Developer & Platform Evangelist in Microsoft’s Public Sector division.
The top three winning apps in the “Apps for Climate” competition are:
- 1st Place: Ecofacts, (Argentina, $15,000). Ecofacts teaches users about energy consumption and climate change, by showing how individual actions can translate into large-scale changes at the national level.
- 2nd Place: My Climate Plan (Norway, $10,000). My Climate Plan allows users to create their own hypothetical national plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The program currently focuses on Norway, but could be adapted for other countries.
- 3rd Place: Globe Town (United Kingdom, $5,000). Globe Town shows how countries are connected globally through trade, immigration, or international assistance, along with country profiles of issues such as energy use and climate adaptation.
“Winning the Apps for Climate competition is a great honor,” said Andres Martinez, who took first place in the competition. “Ecofacts is an “open source” project, so anyone can access the source code for use in their own tools, or create improvements. In the future, I hope that Ecofacts will be useful to other developers and users alike.”
In addition “CC Climate for Children” from Macedonia won in the “Popular Choice” category, and was awarded $5,000. “Climate for Children” is a collection of interactive classroom presentations and games for teaching climate change issues to students. “ClimaScope,” an app from the United Kingdom that visualizes future climate scenarios for planners and policymakers, received the Large Organization Award.
“Solving the problem of climate change requires behavior change. People in all walks of life will need to make decisions based on the best available data,” said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President of Sustainable Development, speaking at the ceremony. “Data collected is just data. But data interpreted and visualized becomes something fundamentally more empowering. These apps have the potential to provide knowledge to those who need it to understand how a changing climate will affect their lives.”
“These apps demonstrate the potential of how open data can improve understanding and lead to new insights,” observed Shaida Badiee, Director of the World Bank’s Development Data Group. “For example, one app integrates climate models with open data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to show how future forecasts could impact planting and irrigation of major crops around the world.”