The project aims to seamlessly integrate the physical world with four general software layer groups. The first layer is the set of existing climate data platforms and databases. The second layer group is the actual 'platform of platform' as the Open Climate is proposed, acting as a common decentralized server. The third is the range of blockchain ecosystems and their internal layers, from consensus protocols to smart contracts and the actual ledger records. Finally, the top layer is the open front-end portal. See stacked image below.
The main open source software development efforts should focus on three main components. First, the decentralized server hosting the cross-platform web application that can integrate multiple existing climate related platforms, so that they can interoperate with common functions and reconciled records. Second, the consolidation of protocols and standards to enable such an interoperable and multi-layers climate accounting ecosystem, and the required governance mechanism to achieve and maintain it. This includes protocols for metadata schemas (eg. for the nested accounting function), as well as shared API functions. And third, a climate portal that allows multi-stakeholder users to interface and interacts with the global accounting system, either directly via the web application or via their integrated platforms.
Blockchain applications in the climate space should not try to replace existing climate accounting frameworks but rather build on top of them to drive higher levels of efficiency. Furthermore, the distributed ledger technology space is characterized by a high levels of entrepreneurial spirit and initiatives. If these are to directly compete against each other with a zero-sum mindset, then the capacity for having a unified climate accounting system is reduced. In other words, the world would not benefit from multiple carbon ledger systems that cannot interoperate with one another. The planet’s atmosphere is still a single limited space where all free greenhouse gases reside. Therefore, an open climate system needs the capacity to involve both existing legacy climate registries, platforms and databases, with blockchain based environments that subsequently should interoperate and reconcile records between each other.
This is what underpins that effort on how to design and develop the Open Climate platform should focus on the concept of a a platform of platforms (or PoP). The figure shows the role that this PoP has as a middle layer between legacy and blockchain system, integrating them through protocols and APIs, and representing the collective in the user’s interface.
There has been two development tracks by the Yale Open lab at starting the first steps to prototype the platform:
The first one spanned from May 2019 to September 2019, and focused on an expansive approach of ideas yielding demos and mockups
The second began in October 2019 and is ongoing, attempting to create a minimum viable product.
The next section describe both of these efforts.