The Little Data Book on Climate Change

the-little-data-book-on-climate-change-2011When President Robert Zoellick launched the World Bank’s Open Data Initiative in April 2010, he said its purpose was to “open the treasure chest of the World Bank’s data and knowledge to every village, to everyone everywhere.” This small book and the much bigger open database behind it are part of this same goal.

Solving the problem of climate change requires that our behavior changes. Whether this happens depends on our understanding, which, in turn, depends upon our knowledge of facts and their implications. Access to freely available climate and climate-related data is essential to catalyze the changes in policies, investments, and technologies that will be needed if we are to move toward a climate-smart future.

The Little Data Book on Climate Change includes a diverse set of indicators selected from the global economic and scientific communities. These indicators recognize the intrinsic relationship between climate change and development a\nd attempt to synthesize important aspects of current and projected climate conditions, exposure to climate impacts, resilience, greenhouse gas emissions, and the current state of efforts to take action. While these indicators are from standard sources and represent professional consensus, many are subject to considerable uncertainties, and the usual care must be taken in their interpretation.

The Little Data Book on Climate Change draws upon several online resources, including the Open Data website, the Climate Change Knowledge Portal and the Open Data for Resilience Initiative. These resources from the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) provide free and open access to data and information relevant to climate risk, climate change, and development at the international, national and subnational levels. These resources contain many more indicators than are available in the limited space of this book and include interactive tools, visualizations on the use and interpretation of the data. In addition, there are other tools that will help users and programmers access World Bank data and develop applications.