To catalyze economy-wide climate-smart finance, everyone needs access to actionable resilience-building insight.

Two days before the Paris Agreement was adopted by 195 nations, in December 2015, the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network put forward the ACCESS standard for tracking implementation. Designed to be flexible, adaptive, and universal — and dynamic enough to fit any national climate action strategy — the ACCESS standard would track progress toward the ultimate aim of the Paris Agreement, which is to fulfill the mandate of the UN Climate Convention to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory OCO-2 is managed by Jet Propulsion Lab for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate on a mission to gather critical information to “to help us better assess the health of our warming planet.” Image credit: NASA-JPL/CalTech.

The term ACCESS arose from a simple insight:

Through the Paris Agreement, ongoing climate negotiations and the wider innovation and policy landscape, “we are designing a route of access to the human future.”

So, both the policies at work and the process of implementation should amount to an Aspirational Collaboration on Climate, Energy, Sustenance, and Security:

  1. Aspirational: Aiming for a healthy human relationship to the Earth’s life-sustaining climate system — 1.5ºC is a good start.
  2. Collaboration: Working openly together to share capacity, accelerate time-scales, and improving outcomes.
  3. Climate: Avoiding dangerous interference with the fabric of thermodynamic energy transfers that shape the biosphere.
  4. Energy: Ensuring we use energy in a way that does not disrupt the Earth’s vital carrying capacity — keeping it clean.
  5. Sustenance: Climate disruption threatens ecological systems and the viability of the food supply, putting the entire economic landscape at risk of systematic degradation.
  6. Security: Achieving sustainable outcomes on all of the above means we can live in a secure world of non-warring nation states.

In support of the ACCESS standard, the Geoversiv Foundation (a Resilience Intel founding partner) initiated its ACCESS to GOOD Program, adding the general background principle of fostering generative economics at all levels. That ongoing process of inquiry, alongside the high-level insights shared in the Acceleration Dialogues, helped to shape fiscal policy guidance for the G20 and the creation of Resilience Intel itself.

Earth systems, political decision-making, everyday economic activity, science, technology and innovation, and cross-border collaboration among human societies, are planetary forces that should balance out to a healthy relationship with the climate. Resilience Intel aims to put that puzzle together to make sure climate-smart decision-making is the norm. Image credit: Hans-Peter Gauster.

As we move ahead in the building of the Resilience Intel system, we take stock of the six elements of ACCESS:

  1. Policy in all areas needs to be aspirational — to reach beyond what has previously been the order of business, to achieve better outcomes.
  2. Collaborative solutions allow for accelerated progress; information sharing between all levels, across all sectors, can yield critical new insights.
  3. The climate system is a fundamental source of value, not a secondary consideration; all sectors need to know how to account for climate resilience.
  4. Energy is everywhere, so all markets will eventually transition to low-carbon, ambient energy; competition means staying ahead of the curve.
  5. Ecological market underpinnings determine whether we will have access to food, or water, or health and safety, or stable institutions.
  6. Planetary security is a financial sector imperative, because these drivers are nonlinear threats or supports to shared human capability.

There is no way around these structural imperatives. These insights are essential to the multilevel multilateral partnership that Resilience Intel must become. They allow for serious, fact-based forward thinking about multidisciplinary data-sharing to accelerate the spread of macrocritically strategic thinking among decision-makers.

The Peace Synapse global knowledge graph, built by Geoversiv using the GDELT platform, traces knowledge relationships between individuals, institutions, crisis situations, and response scenarios, to create a climate, peace, and security-related map of future-building capabilities. Image credit: The Geoversiv Foundation.

Resilience Intel and its partners aim to achieve that generalized financial-ecological intelligence, because decision-making anywhere gets smarter when decision-making elsewhere — especially within networked interactions or upstream resource management — is focusing on smarter objectives. Major investments must account for, and not ignore or erode, the underlying value generated by natural systems.

So, we are building a new kind of information ecosystem, attaching to and cross-referencing hundreds of different kinds of data, ranging from highly rated climate bonds to school window budget items to soil moisture data from Earth-observing satellites. We are exploring the technologies and data-sharing arrangements that will ensure ongoing high-resolution actionable insights keep flowing.

Sample-David thoreson Images
The behavior of glacial ice in Greenland affects coastal resilience in cities and villages thousands of miles away. Connecting local observers’ insights to expeditionary records and OCO-2 data can help us to understand whether climate-connected spending is climate-smart. Photograph by David Thoreson, at Uummannaq, Greenland.

Throughout this process, we will be asking practitioner partners and public authorities, as well as stakeholders in communities, and pathbreaking innovators, to share their technical, ecological, economic, and operational visions for 2-year, 5-year, 10-year, and 20-year time-horizons. These future-mapping processes will work backward from the long-term goal to the present, to ensure critical pathways are optimally designed for 2020, 2023, and beyond.

Ultimately, this new resilience ratings constellation for Earth systems and macrocritical impacts will ensure:

  • fiscal decision-makers are empowered to build more generative economies,
  • whole industries learn to live without generating negative externalities, and
  • public-sector investments at all levels naturally prioritize irreplaceable ecological market underpinnings.

We have been living in a world where the financial system stores, moves, and accumulates monetary value, without necessarily knowing how to account for underlying structural benefits. We are entering a world in which non-price values of all kinds, including natural system services must be understood, banked (safeguarded), and incentivized.