A new independent global network just launched in Cancun will help track countries' progress on climate change pledges.
One of the biggest hurdles in the international climate negotiations—and there are plenty—is a lack of trust. More specifically, even if delegates make wonderful pledges to cut emissions or provide adaptation funds, nobody trusts that the nations are going to actually going to deliver on those pledges. Mainly, this is a problem of metrics and reliable, standardized measurements, or lack thereof. Up until now, countries monitored, measured, and reported on themselves.
Addressing precisely this problem, the World Resources Institute—along with a slew of international partners—has launched the Open Climate Network, which is something of an international climate auditing system.
WRI's Climate and Energy Program director, Jennifer Morgan, said at the launch, "Major economies have made high-level commitments to tackle climate change, but it has been difficult to access information about their progress that is consistent and trusted at the international level...OCN fills this gap by tapping the world’s leading research institutes to develop a highly credible source of information about countries’ progress.”
Here's how WRI describes the more technical nuts and bolts:
OCN is the first major international initiative to complement quantitative assessments of GHG emissions and financial flows with qualitative yet consistent assessments of effectiveness, as well as commentary on important national context from national experts. OCN seeks to accelerate the progress of major economies toward a low-emissions future by providing credible information that enhances accountability for policy effectiveness both between and within countries and increases collective levels of ambition over the next five years.\n
We'll see just how well these new informational assurances can ease cynicism and encourage compromise in the UNFCCC.