The social and economic consequences of the climate crisis in recent years are becoming increasingly felt. They manifest through extreme weather events that increase both in frequency and severity and leave behind thousands of lost lives and property damage amounting to millions of dollars every year. Recognizing the global climate crisis and the need for leaders worldwide to take immediate decisive action to reduce the causes of climate change, the SDSN Global Climate Hub has made it its mission to provide science-based recommendations for combating the climate crisis and preventing further deterioration. It will use extensive data, knowledge, and technologies provided by experts in various fields to implement country-specific action plans to be adopted and reinforced by society. Solution pathways included in these plans will include elements such as: (1) Existing technologies, (2) Circular economy, (3) Nature-based solutions, (4) Digitalization, (5) Innovation commercialization, (6) Sustainable finance and adaptation investment schemes, and (7) Policy reforms.
Successfully treading any of these pathways will require sophisticated support from advanced digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning, big data and data science, modeling and simulation, digital twins, high-performance and high-throughput computing, and even virtual and augmented reality, digital storytelling, and gaming for awareness raising and promotion of sustainable lifestyles. Widespread adoption of the principles of Open Science and Open Access to data and scientific infrastructures will also be paramount for efficient and effective progress toward appropriate solutions.
The SDSN Global Climate Hub will build on the development of metrics and assessment of local and national SDG achievement carried out by SDSN, and will incorporate this into complexity science modeling that will employ a holistic multi-module approach, allowing for the evaluation of variable complexities and scales. System Dynamics will offer this flexible framework that will enable the integration of different sector-specific models and datasets coming from SDSN, allowing for the analysis of and interaction between different sectors. Modeling will go beyond what is measurable and will shed light in other anthropocentric dimensions, such as governance, human sentiment, equity, well-being, and health––including not only physical, but also mental and social health. Such analyses have been performed before, but they are usually done separately, without being interlinked to a biophysical layer that includes environmental variables, climate models, nature and biodiversity, as well as the interaction with new technologies. Qualitative and quantitative dynamical systems techniques will be combined with probabilistic modeling methods to account for stability considerations, effects of risk and model uncertainty, spatiotemporal variability, and multi-scale phenomena, with a view toward interpretability and explainability.
The work of the Hub will be focused around both mitigation but also adaptation measures across three strategic pillars within which we will engage experts from different sectors (government, academia, business, and NGOs), genders, geographies, and disciplines.
The Global Climate Hub will bridge the gap between the models it produces and the non-scientific community. The Hub will accomplish this by adopting a range of participatory methodologies and utilizing the strength of the various SDSN networks around the globe to uniquely engage the full spectrum of stakeholder groups (from government officials and policy makers to financiers, innovators, and social mobilizers) at different levels. Furthermore, visualization tools with intuitive user interfaces will enhance understanding of the various model interdependencies, as well as support non-expert and civil society involvement in the modeling process, allowing for key stakeholders’ perspectives to be embedded within it and provide validation for outputs. Ultimately, the Climate Hub integrated models are expected to provide useful tools for policy makers, equipping them with the evidence-based support that is needed to facilitate the development of technological, financial, and policy pathways toward achieving their climate action goals and the wider sustainability transition.