Conclusion - 2023 DGINS Conference on Climate Change and Energy Crises

The DGINS 2023 focused on the urgent need to address information requirements relating to climate change and energy security, and to provide statistics to support policy-makers as they work to take evidence-informed decisions in response to immediate and emerging climate-related, environmental and energy security challenges. The DGINS agreed that the demand is not only for more information (more datasets, more volume), but also for greater insight and knowledge.

The DGINS noted that that the European Green Deal, international treaties and national policies set out specific, unambiguous, and quantifiable emissions reduction and other climate change and energy related targets which give rise to a consequent need for good data and robust data governance to monitor delivery against these targets.

The DGINS agreed that Eurostat and National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) have a central role to play in providing data and insights to policy-makers, stakeholders and citizens in response to climate change and energy insecurity challenges.

The DGINS further acknowledged that NSIs, with their strong commitment to and history of professional independence, are uniquely placed to act as credible data providers of impartial and objective data and insights to policy-makers, industry, researchers and citizens, while also recognising that in many Member States these responsibilities rest between Government Ministries, NSIs and others. Some participants highlighted the value of an NSI’s taking a leadership role in coordinating the increasingly crowded Climate, Energy and Environmental Data Space, as well as lending coherence across the multitude of potential data sources by setting the data standards and creating a data ecosystem that enables the extraction of greater insight for policy-makers, stakeholders and the public.

The DGINS noted a number of emerging opportunities for NSIs in responding to the dual crises of climate change and energy insecurity including those provided by:

  • the EU Data Governance Act and the Commission proposal for a Regulation revising Regulation (EC) 223 of 2009 on European statistics to enhance the availability, governance and sharing of data including privately held data;
  • the rapidly evolving technological environment and the positioning of NSIs at the vanguard of key technological developments to enhance understanding of climate and environmental variables, as well as providing real-time monitoring of energy capacity and capability; and
  • the commitment in the Warsaw Memorandum to support the development of standardised statistical methods combining different sources such as Earth Observation, administrative data, statistical surveys and geospatial information for the compilation of harmonised national, cross-national and pan-European datasets.

The DGINS particularly recognised that there are many opportunities to innovate by reusing existing data in new ways and interlinking existing data to provide new insight. The DGINS expressed their support for initiatives prioritising micro data linking to provide greater insights into the impacts of climate change, energy insecurity, and energy poverty as they relate to health, well-being and other factors. In the context of the rapidly evolving technologies and need for robust, repeatable data, the DGINS particularly highlighted the value of leveraging emerging technologies and innovations like, but not limited to, AI/ML.

The DGINS also agreed to examine ways to leverage the powers provided for in the European Data Governance Act to create the appropriate environment for data sharing between public and privately data holders and NSIs. As well, it was acknowledged that the changing landscape for data and data governance, will require standards which adhere to and are underpinned by the ethical, legal, transparency and quality principles set out in EU legislation and the European Statistical System Code of Practice.

The DGINS agreed that engagement with policy makers is important to support better understanding of the evolving data and insight needs, as well as to enable NSI’s to demonstrate the value they can bring in extracting value from data. This is considered essential for NSI’s as they work to identify valuable administrative data sources and, where appropriate, identifying and supporting the development of new data sources. The DGINS noted the value of administrative data sources as key to meeting their responsibilities to decrease response burden, where feasible and appropriate to do so.

The DGINS further considered emerging data sources of importance for energy and climate statistics, and their potential to improve the quality of statistics and to promote innovation. In that context, there was an exploration of the use of utility data to measure changing energy usage and the potential for micro-data linkage with information on the energy quality of house stocks and household composition/income. With these data and this type of linkage, the DGINS noted the possibilities for increasing the timeliness and granularity of energy use data, thus providing richer insights into the challenges facing households and how policy initiatives might be tailored for greater impact. This, coupled with the growing value of micro-data for local and regional insights, was considered an important way to demonstrate the value of official statistics as they are leveraged for new and innovative purposes. The work on electricity hubs was also recognised as another innovation in this regard.

The DGINS also benefitted from the presentation of a range of best practices to enhance the engagement with and understanding of official statistics by policy-makers including the secondment of statistical experts from NSIs to Government Ministries and Agencies, the provision of dedicated-training programmes on statistics for policy-makers, and the establishment of formal structures like user councils, liaison groups to facilitate deeper and more regular engagement with policy-makers. The DGINS, however, noted that such approaches need to be tailored to the individual member states context having regard to the landscape for climate and energy policy and statistics, while also noting the value of early and proactive engagement in the policy-development process to ensure that it is supported by robust, repeatable and timely indicators.

A full suite of presentations and other conference materials can be found on this website: