Challenges in gathering data

CCN researchers are actively looking into creating carbon calculators for other countries, hoping to establish them with the same level of detail as the one we have for United States created by the CoolClimate Network. These couple of days the Data Team have been gathering basic country data (Population, Average household income, Average household size, and Heating and Cooling Degree Days), transportation and household energy consumption data for 15 priority countries— Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Despite motivated by wireless technologies and increasingly transparent sharing of information across nations, gathering data of these sorts for countries such as China and Netherlands has rendered tremendous difficulties. Data integrity, country’s specific information disclosure policies, and the simplest fact that some countries simply have no such databases, are consoling reasons that I kept telling myself as I watch that blinking cursor mock my frustrated mind.

With that said, I learnt how well developed the energy statistics database in United States is. The U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Census Bureau etc. provide fairly updated energy consumption data in just one click. And mind you, you can actually find 2011 data! Not 1996!

On top of a country’s statistical bureau (which is most of the time most reliable and accountable), EUREAPA, and GTAP, I included in the following some tremendously useful websites.

  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Better Life Index
  • This index allows us to compare well-being of nationals across countries based on 11 subjects that the OECD considers essential to ensuring quality of life, from typical measures such as Housing, Income and Education, to less adopted ones such as Civic Engagement, Life Satisfaction and Work-life Balance. Countries are ranked by each subject on an interactive platform, based on data that mostly come from official sources such National Accounts, United Nations Statistics, National Statistics Offices, some from the Gallup World Poll.

  • OECD’s Five Family Facts
  • The OECD’s Five Family Facts gives a snapshot of average household elements; data on average household size holds tremendous importance to our project.

  • United Nations Statistic Division- Energy Statistics
  • This database contains basic statistics for more than 215 countries/territories for the period 1950-2008 and is updated annually and released at the end of the year. Data sources include numerous international governmental and private agencies

  • The International Transport Forum
  • The ITF publishes detailed data on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion in its 50 member countries, OECD countries, and numerous non-ITF countries up to 2008. Its data on CO2 emissions and GHG CO2 equivalent national reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and from the International Energy Agency (IEA).