Would you like to run a site like CAPE, the Climate Action Plans Explorer, in your own country?
We’re happy to share the code and our experience to help make that happen.
Our code is open source so that anyone can pick it up and change it to suit their needs. We’ll also share how we populate the site and keep it up to date.
What are Climate Action Plans?
Here in the UK, activists asked every local council to declare a Climate Emergency in 2020.
Once the emergency had been recognised, councils were urged to make a plan for addressing it.
And so local authorities across the country have been publishing their plans for achieving Net Zero emissions, either in their own operations or for the wider community that they administer: industries, transport, planning, etc.
Some of them are great, others are lacking in detail. We think councils can all learn from one another, and the plans should be accessible to everyone on one simple to use website.
So we built one.
What is CAPE?
CAPE stands for the Climate Action Plans Explorer.
It’s an online database containing every Climate Action Plan, from every local UK council that’s made one. It lets anyone compare, analyse and search all the plans.
It’s useful for citizens who want to understand what’s planned in their area; researchers and journalists who can analyse the data; and councils themselves, who can see what ideas are working in areas similar to theirs.
We’re actively adding new features and analysis, and it’s all available as open source code on GitHub.
While administrative districts and local climate action plans may work differently in your country, we think that if you are planning a similar site, it will be quicker and easier for you to adapt our simple code than to start from scratch.
How to set up your own Climate Action Plans site
- The codebase is open source, so if this is a site that would work equally well for your country please do feel free to fork the code and adapt it according to your local needs. Find it on GitHub here.
- We can answer questions to help you get the code up and running: just email us.
- Got suggestions for improvement, or patches for our code? Feel free to open a ticket on the repo, or submit a pull request (probably best to drop us a line before you go to too much effort though, to make sure it’s not something we’re already working on!)
- Join our mailing list and we’ll keep you up to date with new useful features as we develop them, stories about how the data is being used, and our research events.
Why local councils?
Here in the UK, our councils are responsible for leading the action on local climate interventions: they are the ones who oversee housing regulations, public transport, local business policy and urban planning. But if that’s not true in your country, never fear: the code can be adapted to suit any type of jurisdiction.
Most councils in the UK (more than 80% at the time of writing) have published their intentions in ‘climate action plans’, a public declaration of how they intend to meet net zero emissions. But even if your country has only a few – or no – plans, you can still run a site that highlights the lack of them.
In 2020, mySociety crowdsourced an effort to locate each of these UK council plans, and add them to a national open dataset which can be seen on the Climate Action Plans Explorer.
- This site allows campaigners, researchers, journalists and citizens to search and browse the plans so they can:
- understand what their own council is doing
- hold them to account if they are not meeting their own targets
- offer support if they are doing well
- check what similar councils are doing and champion adoption of successful ideas in their own area
- analyse the data across the country as a whole
- Additionally, councils themselves can use the database to:
- understand what other authorities are doing
- see which councils are similar to their own in terms of where emissions come from
- learn from, and consider adopting, the best ideas
- make contact with staff in other areas to share insights
If you work in tech, or understand how to inspire community action, your country needs you!
mySociety is a NGO working in the area called ‘Civic Tech‘ – technology that helps people be more active citizens, feeding into the democratic process, having their voice heard, and making change. We’ve been going for more than ten years and we have an ethos of sharing our open source code and creating communities with partners.
Maybe you’re also part of the civic tech scene in your own country; maybe you just have some coding or community-building skills and would like to put them to use saving the world.
Now is your moment to step up and help fight the climate emergency!
Let’s build a community
We’re sharing our work – are you doing anything that we could learn from in return? Please do drop us an email to let us know. And make sure you sign up for our newsletter so we can let you know when we release new features or create other climate-related civic tech projects.
Image: Mimi Thian