How to find out what climate actions are warranted in our city? How to also convince other stakeholders?
City of Tampere has actively developed citizen engagement in climate work for years — aiming to make the city activities more transparent, dynamic, and interactive. When a council initiative suggested that Tampere should start using a Climate Watch for monitoring their climate action plan, it was an easy decision to accept.
But it was not enough to monitor the progress of Tampere’s climate actions. It was necessary to understand the impacts of the actions, and rationale behind them. Policy makers and citizens wanted to know which actions are the most cost-effective and backed up by scientific information.
This was a tricky challenge, even if Tampere has been a pioneer in climate budgeting. One alternative would have been to hire consultants, but the previous experience was unpromising: they were happy to calculate scenarios on a case-by-case basis, but the static reports got outdated quickly and the details of the rationale were opaque to the city. Tampere created its own climate emission scenario on spreadsheet, but it was tricky to publish and prone to errors.
Tampere wanted to understand the potential of new climate actions and take the policy development in their own hands.
Use Kausal Watch to describe actions and Kausal Paths to estimate the impacts of current and planned new actions.
Tampere and Kausal joined forces and developed an interactive climate scenario assessment platform for cities. It calculates historic and future climate emissions from different sectors based on the input data about e.g. climate actions, building stock, and population. A user can change the scenario by adjusting input data, and the path to the target year is immediately recalculated. Hence the name of the service, Kausal Paths.
“This is an important tool for us to communicate to and motivate policy makers about climate actions”, says program manager Laura Inha. “It would be even better to have estimates about the costs of actions, as politicians are always interested in cost-effectiveness. That is something for the next development round.”
The main users are expected to be politicians and civil servants, who need to understand the impacts of the climate action plan or design updates to the suite of city-level actions. Therefore, the user interface has two distinct views: based on emission sectors, and based on actions.
"It is very important for us that the services are user-friendly and help civil servants in their work. Now everyone knows where the up-to-date data is."Laura Inha, Program Manager
While Kausal Watch compiles the actions of the city organizations, it also provides links to Tampere’s climate related collaborations with the citizens, businesses and the university. These are for example the Climate Hero website targeted to Tampere residents for their own climate commitments, and Climate Partnership for the businesses in the greater Tampere region.