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Open Information is Key in the Fight Against Climate Change

Información abierta, clave en la lucha contra el cambio climático

Florencia Romano|

At the beginning of the year, cities around the world in the C40 network (a climate leadership group) agreed that recovering from the pandemic requires a new commitment from cities to fight climate change.

Cities occupy only 3% of the planet’s surface, but consume 80% of its energy and emit 70% of its greenhouse gases. Nonetheless, it is local governments that lead the climate change agenda and – in many cases – ensure compliance with international commitments national governments make in these areas, such as the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

More than 100 cities have committed to being carbon neutral zones by 2050, Buenos Aires being one of the first 25. However, the government of the City of Buenos Aires understands that it cannot fulfill this commitment by itself. The joint effort of citizens, the private sector, civil society organizations and experts is necessary.

To raise awareness and involve all these actors, the first step is to open environmental information. With this objective, Buenos Aires set out to publish data and statistics on the state of affairs that allow those involved to make better decisions to change reality.

To make this information useful and accessible, more than 600 residents, 20 civil society organizations and 15 experts on climate change participated in interviews and virtual meetings where they were asked what information they expected to receive from the City Government and how. Among the different contributions and suggestions was an inventory of greenhouse gases and of the production of clean energy.

Citizens  also asked for more information on city initiatives related to climate action, including recycling, vegetable gardens and composting.

With all this information, and in line with its commitment with the Open Government Partnership, Buenos Aires launched BA Climate Change, a platform co-created between government and civil society that combines openness of environmental information and citizen engagement, providing open data and visualizations about the City’s initiatives and goals, and proposals to foster participation, collaboration and cooperation and together achieve a resilient, carbon neutral and inclusive city.

As part of the open government agenda, the site contains more than 30 open data sets that can be downloaded and reused to undertake new studies or related activities.

In addition, it includes a greenhouse gas inventory -open and interactive- and makes it possible for users to monitor how Buenos Aires is moving towards its goals of reducing carbon emissions by 53%  by 2030 and by 84% by 2050.

It also presents graphics on the current modal distribution and the location of green recycling points and solar roofs in the City. The use of simple graphics enables more people to understand the content, without having to be experts on the subject.

In addition, the site presents concrete proposals for people to join the fight against climate change. The “Play your part” section has information on workshops, guides and activities for waste management and on how to consume more sustainable products, alternatives for sustainable mobility and the generation of clean energy, and the “Collaboration and cooperation initiatives” and “Dialogue Spaces with Civil Society” sections, make visible the collaborative work with international organizations, companies and civil society organizations.

Likewise, the platform presents the main guidelines of the 2050 Climate Action Plan and allows citizens, companies, civil society organizations and experts to give their opinion and make contributions to how the strategy should be implemented, focusing on their participation.

Climate change is an urgent challenge that requires the leadership of cities and the collaboration of the private sector, citizens, civil society organizations and experts. Platforms such as OGP, promote and encourage the participation of all these actors, facilitating Buenos Aires and other cities around the world to achieve current and future international commitments.

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