How to avoid drowning in a sea of climate data

05-12-2014, Lima, Peru

Anita Makri of writes about the CKB Group's official COP20 Side Event: Innovation and Collaboration for Transforming Knowledge into Climate Action: Creating a “Climate Knowledge Grid”.

One of the side events on the first afternoon at the UN’s COP 20 climate summit tapped into my love-hate relationship with our age of information abundance (or is that overload?). More to the point, it made a case for getting to grips with this challenge in order to accelerate progress on climate adaptation — through marshalling what the speakers called ‘climate knowledge brokers’.

The event was organised by the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group, an alliance of 50 organisations working to improve access to climate- and development-related information.

Martin Hiller, director-general of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), kicked off the session with the remark that, historically, organising knowledge has been crucial to developing better understanding in every culture. He labelled knowledge brokers as “twenty-first century librarians”. And he later used more colourful metaphors to nice effect: the information highway isn’t a highway any more, he said, but more like a messy heap of spaghetti carbonara.

What we need, Hiller said, is a “smart knowledge grid” that — through shared tools — streamlines the sharing of information and steers knowledge to those who need it in a way that adapts to changing needs and technologies.


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Sigmund Kluckner

Head of Information Systems and Digital Innovation