New publication: Effective and geographically balanced? An output-based assessment of non-state climate actions

cp_effective-and-geographically-balancedAt COP21 in Paris, governments reiterated the importance of  ‘non-Party’ contributions, placing big bets that the efforts of cities, regions, investors, companies, and other social groups will help keep average global warming limited to well under 2°C. However, there is little systematic knowledge concerning the performance of non-state and subnational efforts. We established a database of 52 climate actions launched at the 2014 UN Climate Summit in New York to assess output performance – that is, the production of relevant outputs – to understand whether they are likely to deliver social and environmental impacts. Moreover, we assess to which extent climate actions are implemented across developed and developing countries. We find that climate actions are starting to deliver, and output performance after one year is higher than one might expect from previous experiences with similar actions. However, differences exist between action areas: resilience actions have yet to produce specific outputs, whereas energy and industry actions perform above average. Furthermore, imbalances between developing and developed countries persist. While many actions target low-income and lower-middle-income economies, the implementation gap in these countries remains greater. More efforts are necessary to mobilize and implement actions that benefit the world’s most vulnerable people.

Link to full-text (open access): http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14693062.2016.1248343

Under Trump: Double Down on International Cooperation

It’s a very black day – perhaps the blackest day in my life – for international cooperation. I have seen a few declaring the Paris Agreement dead, although technically we would have reached ratification without the US as well. But I think this is the time to double down on international cooperation and the very agendas our institute, and our colleagues around the world are working on. Our international cooperation on sustainable development and on climate change are the best and most coherent answer we have at this point against the narrow nationalism and authoritarianism, the ghosts of our times.

In keepin with this, I will double down on my research and advocacy on climate action, find the links to a broader sustainable development agenda – and work towards a coherent, hopeful narrative as antidote to the backlash against international cooperation we see today.

Transnational Climate Action: Seizing the Opportunity in the Global South

Climate change is no longer a matter of governments alone, as local authorities, investors, businesses and other social groups increasingly act on, and to adapt to climate change. Transnational actions could further narrow the emissions gap, demonstrate to governments what is possible, and – in so doing – they create pressure for higher ambitions. However, to become effective complements to the international climate regime, climate actions also need to be taken on a global scale. This raises the question about the geographic distribution of transnational action – climate-action1and more broadly whether the transnational dimension of the post-Paris climate governance architecture will deliver in an equitable manner. In contrast to ‘traditional’ international climate politics, the gap between developing and developed countries is much less questioned when it comes to the transnational dimension of global climate change. This is remarkable, given the great potential of transnational climate actions questions such as ‘where will the benefits of these actions accrue’ and ‘who are the beneficiaries’ should loom large. Imbalances in the transnational governance realm may soon undermine the legitimacy of transnational engagement in the UNFCCC process. This would not only be a political problem; it would possibly lead to a less effective global climate regime.

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High-level Champions: Global Climate Action grounded in sustainable development

High-Level Climate Action Champions Minister Hakima El Haité and Ambassador Laurence Tubiana, in their recently released reflection note, emphasize the importance of Global Climate Action by businesses, investors, cities and regions, and other stakeholders, to simultaneously deliver on the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The note further points out the important role the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General plays in mobilizing the UN system, convening all sectors of society, while ensuring linkages with the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development.

Although not explicitly mentioned, the strong emphasis on sustainable development is good news for developing countries. The Champions intend to broaden Global Climate Action beyond initiatives with high mitigation potential, but also initiatives that deliver climate resilience and sustainable development. In a next step, more details should be given on how the Global Climate Action Agenda would support and encourage action in developing countries.

For priorities to ensure effective and inclusive Global Climate Action, see previous post:

3 Priorities to ensure an effective and inclusive Global Climate Action Agenda

 

 

3 Priorities to ensure an effective and inclusive Global Climate Action Agenda

The Galvanizing the Groundswell of Climate Actions network has been discussing how the Global Climate Action Agenda should look like; how it could contribute to closing the global emissions gap; and how it can safeguard credibility and effectiveness of non-Party actions.

I would like to point out three things to ensure an effective and inclusive Global Climate Action Agenda.

Continue reading 3 Priorities to ensure an effective and inclusive Global Climate Action Agenda

climate policy & sustainability researcher – advisor – activist