Increasing policy coherence between NDCs and SDGs: a national perspective

Fewer than 10 years remain to achieve Agenda 2030, yet no country is on track to meet all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Countries are also far behind in achieving the low-carbon and climate-resilient society envisioned in the Paris Agreement; their climate pledges, or nationally determined contributions (NDCs), are far less ambitious than required to keep global warming to the Paris target of “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

The goals of the NDCs intersect both positively and negatively with the SDGs; progress on climate goals can therefore either help or hinder progress on the SDGs. The success of both can be helped by policy coherence, wherein countries promote synergies and address conflicts in the implementation of both their NDC and SDG agendas.

In a new SEI Policy Brief we present initial findings on coherence in the joint implementation of these two agendas in 6 countries: Germany, Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the Philippines. We chose these countries to provide a diverse representation with respect to levels of income and domestic dependence on fossil fuels.

Shawoo, Zoha / Adis Dzebo / Ramona Hägele / Gabriela Iacobuta / Sander Chan / Cassilde Muhoza / Philip Osano / Marie Francisco / Åsa Persson / Björn-Ola Linner / Marjanneke J. Vijge (2020) Increasing policy coherence between NDCs and SDGs: a national perspective, SEI Policy Brief, Stockholm Environment Institute

BEYOND NATIONAL CLIMATE ACTION: THE IMPACT OF REGION, CITY, AND BUSINESS COMMITMENTS ON GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

A new open access article in Climate Policy quantifies the net aggregate impact in 2030 of commitments by individual non-state and subnational actors (e.g. regions, cities and businesses, collectively referred to as ‘NSAs’) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The analysis was conducted for NSAs operating within ten major emitting economies that together accounted for roughly two-thirds of global GHG emissions in 2016. Our assessment includes 79 regions (e.g. subnational states and provinces), approximately 6,000 cities, and nearly 1,600 companies with a net emissions coverage of 8.1 GtCO2e/year, or a quarter of the ten economies’ total GHG emissions in 2016. The analysis reflects a proposed methodology to aggregate commitments from different subnational (i.e. regional and city government) and non-state (i.e. business) actors, accounting for overlaps.

If individual commitments by NSAs in the ten high-emitting economies studied are fully implemented and do not change the pace of action elsewhere, projected GHG emissions in 2030 for the ten economies would be 1.2–2.0 GtCO2e/year or 3.8%–5.5% lower compared to scenario projections for current national policies (31.6–36.8 GtCO2e/year). On a country level, we find that the full implementation of these individual commitments alone could result in the European Union and Japan overachieving their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), while India could further overachieve its unconditional NDC target. In the United States, where the national government has rolled back climate policies, NSAs could become a potential driving force for climate action.

Kuramochi, Takeshi / Mark Roelfsema / Angel Hsu / Swithin Lui / Amy Weinfurter / Sander Chan / Thomas Hale / Andrew Clapper / Andres Chang / Niklas Höhne (2020) Beyond national climate action: the impact of region, city, and business commitments on global greenhouse gas emissions, Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1740150

ESG Working group: Climate action & Economic downturn

Climate action by both state and non-state actors becomes increasingly urgent as the world is far from limiting global warming to 1.5/2°C. More and more effective climate action is necessary. However, the world is also facing a severe economic downturn following the COVID-19 outbreak, which will likely affect projects, policy, capacities, support, and political will for climate mitigation and adaptation action. Does the ongoing crisis present a window of opportunity for transformative systemic change?

A newly proposed ESG Working Group seeks to bring together scholars with different disciplinary backgrounds to discuss:

  • short- and long-term effects of an economic downturn;
  • possible effects on capacities, support, and political will; and
  • opportunities to mitigate negative effects and to strengthen climate action.

The Working Group will explore opportunities for research collaboration and initial publications, for instance an ESG Issue Brief.

If you are interested to join this Working Group, please contact me by sending me an email.

Climate Action and the SDGs, Managing Synergies and Tradeoffs – Lecture at Yale-nus college

In February, I had the great pleasure to visit Data-Driven Lab, and to share some of my work with students from Yale-NUS College (Singapore), focusing on the interlinkages between climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The following is a transcript of my presentation.

Climate action is not only about reducing emissions, but also sustainable development. There has recently been a reversal in progress towards some of the SDGs, such as world hunger, which is worsening and very likely caused by climate change. More sustainable development achievements are expected to be reversed as a result of climate change. We must therefore move away from thinking of climate action as purely a matter of environmental action.

Read further by clicking here.

Shell is unfit to lead Climate Action

Great #ClimateAction journalism! Malcom Harris (https://twitter.com/BigMeanInternet) ‘undercover in plain sight’ at a Shell scenario workshop:

“Maybe it’ll even make some incidental progress along the way, depending on where the subsidies are, but there’s no comprehensive vision for a livable future here, no ethical imagination, no morality to speak of. It is unfit to lead.”

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/shell-climate-change.html

High time to invest in social sciences on climate change

We always hear that the science is clear, climate change is a political and social problem. Yet natural and technical sciences receive 770% more climate change research funding than social sciences, according to new research by Indra Overland (Center for Energy Research, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs [NUPI]) and Ben Sovacool (Energy policy, Science Policy Research Unit [SPRU], University of Sussex).

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629619309119

After Greta: will climate action follow climate mobilisation?

In 2019, climate strikes filled the streets worldwide. Time is running out, and after the catharsis of the protests, governments and industries must change tack. Radically so.

If we have learned anything from the recent UN climate conference in Madrid (COP25) it is that governments don’t have our backs. By themselves, governments are not going to save us from dangerous climate change. The outcome of the conference is very far from an adequate response to the urgency of climate change, and seems to make a joke of the conference’s slogan “Time for action”. At least some governments thought it was “Time for Delay“. Major topics were largely kicked down the road, to be discussed again next year when the UN climate conference lands in Glasgow in 2020, including devising rules to govern carbon trading, securing mid- and long-term climate finance, and responding to questions about whether and how to compensate loss and damage due to climate change impacts.

For full text read: https://www.ispionline.it/en/publication/after-greta-will-climate-action-follow-climate-mobilization-24696

climate policy & sustainability researcher – advisor – activist