This work will require collaboration across disciplines and sectors, including efforts from the private sector to build these partnerships.
For example, says Lucas Joppa, the Chief Environment Officer at Microsoft, and an advisor on the D^2S Agenda: “By accelerating investment and deployment of AI solutions, we have the potential not only to mitigate climate-related risk for our businesses, but to fundamentally transform how we manage Earth’s natural resources for a more prosperous and climate-stable future.”
While the private sector is a critical part of the solution, the D^2S Agenda highlights that success depends on involving all sectors of society, including the most marginalized, in digital transformations to achieve climate solutions.
As Leena Srivastava, Deputy Director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and a co-chair of Future Earth Advisory Committee, writes, “Sustainability calls for digital empowerment of the poor; not digital empowerment for the poor."
As a result tackling the climate crisis and working towards a just and equitable digital future are inherently interconnected agendas.
The D^2S Agenda is part of a new initiative –
Sustainability in the Digital Age
– which seeks to support and strengthen the growing diversity of actors engaging with the interconnected digital and sustainability agendas, a critical step in driving changes we need and to build a more sustainable and equitable world.
The framework of the D^2S Agenda is sketched out in an animated video
Advisors / collaborators reflect on the D^2S Agenda
“Data is not the new oil – it’s the new plutonium. Amazingly powerful, dangerous when it spreads, difficult to clean up and with serious consequences when improperly used. Data governance is therefore more urgent as a policy challenge than climate change because abuse of data compromises the very democratic processes on which we rely to intelligently and effectively address challenges like climate change. The Digital Disruptions for Sustainability Agenda provides a helpful framework for understanding the powerful connection between the data governance and the climate agendas, and highlights important work needed to move forward on both.”
Canadian Council of Innovators; member, Future Earth Advisory Committee
“Climate change is humanity’s biggest crisis. A critical obstacle to addressing this crisis is that, despite the growing intensity of extreme weather events, to many people climate impacts still often seem distant and abstract. Machine Learning and interactive technologies could help make climate risks more concrete and more personal. Our hope is that these technologies will enable the scaling of more targeted and personalized public engagement strategies that could ultimately strengthen collective action.”
A.M. Turing Award Winner, 2018; MILA; University of Montreal
“Many are optimistic about the role of unprecedented levels of transparency in securing more accountable and effective global sustainability governance. Yet, research suggests that transparency may not be all that it promises to be. For example, transparency is often assumed to be essential to trust, however, the opposite might well hold: there might need to be trust first, in order to have meaningful transparency. And thus it is critical to research not only the design of transparency systems, but also the normative and political contexts within which such systems are deployed, as these shape whether and under what conditions transparency may realize its transformative potential in global sustainability governance.”
Professor, Wageningen University
“Digital technologies are enabling unprecedented transparency of lifecycle impact data of raw materials, products, and supply chains and present new platforms to channel consumer behavior into market signals to activate demand for sustainable products. In order to steer towards this opportunity, it is imperative to advance dialogues around the role of government and other actors in the digital economy.”
Partner, The Coefficient Group; Executive Director and Founder, EC-MAP
“As we work to implement decarbonization strategies, we are proactively working with partners to leverage the power of data and artificial intelligence to be part of the broader solution of building a climate-safe world.”
VP Search Science and AI, Amazon
“At ClimateWorks, we’ve been exploring how alternative futures might impact climate strategies. One critical disruptive force is the digital revolution, which is creating new challenges but may also offer huge opportunities to drive systems change and accelerate climate action. The D^2S Agenda sets out a valuable framework for leveraging the digital revolution to achieve positive change.”
President and CEO, ClimateWorks Foundation
“We need to focus on harnessing the potential of the digital sector for global public benefit. This will require public-private partnerships to both support the development of public benefit data and services, and to build the institutional and regulatory context needed to steer the digital transformations underway to both empower business and support the wellbeing of people and the planet.”
Asun Lera St. Clair
Senior Principal Scientist, DNV GL; member, Future Earth Advisory Committee
Future Earth is an international research organization, collaborating with science and society on solutions to global sustainability challenges. It encompasses nearly 30 research-to-action networks, groups of scientists and practitioners around the world, studying the environmental and human aspects of global change. We help incorporate the latest scientific knowledge into decision-making, with a mission to accelerate transformations to sustainability through research and innovation.
Future Earth is governed by the International Science Council (ISC), the Belmont Forum of funding agencies, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations University (UNU), the World Meteorological Organization, and the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum
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