Climate change is widely seen as the most important challenge facing the world. Ahead of COP26 the Office for Statistics Regulation has published a review of the accessibility and coherence of UK climate change statistics.

The UK climate change statistics, data and analysis landscape is broad and complex. Many new official statistics have been developed in the last decade to support users and add insight on climate change.

We found that statistics on climate change have become more accessible. The development of interactive dashboards, data tools and maps has enhanced the dissemination, understanding, use and reuse of the statistics. Continued development however is important – not just to fill current gaps, but to ensure statistics keep pace with scientific advances, inform decisions and support public understanding. Statistics producers should be open and transparent about the development of their statistics, publicly setting out their plans and timetables.

Compendium outputs which bring together related statistics and data are providing a clear, joined-up narrative on specific sectors or areas of climate change, but there are no official statistics outputs at a UK level which draw together statistics on all areas of climate change. To address this, we are recommending that UK Government works towards producing UK-level climate change statistics outputs that meet the needs of both a specialist and non-specialist audience. We welcome that the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in collaboration with others across government, is developing a new climate change data portal.

Ed Humpherson, DG Regulation said:

“Collaboration between producers is essential to support the development and improvement of climate change statistics. OSR has found good levels of this across government, with a key initiative being the UK’s new climate change portal, led by ONS.”

He continued: “This project has significant potential to improve climate change statistics. With such a rich central repository of information, there is considerable scope to enhance accessibility and to expand opportunities for data linkage. Our report encourages ONS and all those involved to make the most of this opportunity. Climate change is such a high-profile, strategic challenge and deserves this level of prominence from the UK’s national statistical institute.”