Let’s work together on non-state and subnational climate action! RESEARCHER NON-STATE & SUBNATIONAL CLIMATE ACTION at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) Apply by 29 April. The appointment shall start as soon as possible.
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
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 change adaptation is increasingly seen as a question that involves globally con- nected vulnerabilities and impacts which necessitate transboundary action by non-state and subnational (transnational) actors. Traditional actors such as governments and inter- national organizations leave deficits in norm development, enforcement, capacity building, and financing. Orchestration has been suggested under the functionalist assumption that transnational actors can make up for these deficits, through optimizing complementarity between the realms of international and transnational governance and through eliciting more action toward the achievement of globally agreed climate goals.
In the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), orchestration has taken the form of an evolving Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA). Few studies have examined the role of orchestration in bolstering transnational adaptation. In our new article we therefore ask: Has the GCAA effectively mobilized and prioritized transnational adaptation action? Further, has it effectively addressed functional, participatory, and geographic deficits?
Analyzing a unique dataset of a hundred cooperative climate actions, we find that current patterns are incongruent with some functionalist expectations. GCAA orchestration has featured a political prioritization of both adaptation and mitigation and a focus on building a positive narrative of climate action. This combination of priorities has led to neglect of underperforming actions—many of them adaptation actions in developing countries. Subsequent iterations of the GCAA failed to recognize these actions and did not identify support needed for them. This has strengthened the bias toward mitigation aspects of climate change and exacerbated imbalances in the geography of transnational action under the GCAA.
Read the full text here: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs10784-019-09444-9.pdf
The More Engagement the Better? – Risks of Non-State Action in Sustainability and Climate governance
Article full text link (open access): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wcc.57
Although sustainable development and climate change are governed through separate international processes, they converge on two key assumptions. First, governments fall far short of the goals they set. Second, wide gaps between political commitments and governmental action can be narrowed through efforts by non-state actors, such as businesses, investors, civil society organizations, cities and regions. Encouraged by prominent leaders such as US President Barack Obama and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres, international organizations and governments are leading large-scale efforts to promote and mobilize non-state actions. These efforts are based on recurring optimistic arguments, such as: the more action, the better; everybody wins from non-state action; every actor can do its part in implementation; and, action by one will inspire others to take action.
Optimistic arguments about non-state engagement, however, may not be matched in practice due to governance risks. The current emphasis focus on quantifiable impacts may lead to the under-appreciation of social, economic, and environmental impacts that are less easy to measure. Claims that everybody stands to benefit may easily be contradicted by outcomes that are not in line with priorities and needs of developing countries. Despite the broad acceptance of the role of non-state actors in implementation, their actions may still lead to controversial outcomes. Finally, non-state climate action may not be self-reinforcing, but heavily depend on policies by international organizations and governments. Governments and international organizations should consider governance risk-reduction strategies to maximize the potential contributions of non-state actors in sustainable and climate-resilient development. First, they should create enabling environment that provide incentives to engage, for instance through improving access to knowledge, high-level recognition, material and immaterial support, and by conveying that climate and sustainability action is possible and doable. Second, non-state action needs to be grounded in national and regional contexts; particular attention should be given to strengthening capabilities of, and fostering participation by, developing country-based actors. Third, far-reaching transformations cannot be achieved without critical masses of engagement, therefore the challenge is to stimulate action beyond ‘champions’ and frontrunners. Especially governments need to bring to focus the ramifications of the sustainable and climate-resilient futures they have committed to and give non-state actors a fair chance to adapt.
How the relation between non-state action and more traditional governance will evolve remains to be seen. This relation may develop differently across sustainable development and climate governance. However, maximizing non-state potential will take supportive environments which reduce risks and bolster momentum for transformative actions.
We are looking for a new colleague,
Researcher (m/f) in our research programme on “environmental governance and transformation to sustainability”.
The researcher will carry out research and policy advice in the interdisciplinary “Klimalog: Research and dialogue for a climate-smart and and just transformation” with a particular focus on adaptation governance and climate resilience.
For more informations click here.
The recorded exercise in this study can prove useful in visualising the theoretical landscape across which researchers in the field of the Green Economy move. This article is meant as a moment of self-reflection on the meaning of research itself, and its role in contributing to deliver visions, strategies and instruments towards a more environmentally-committed, just and equitable society – for which the Green Economy appears to be only a partial solution.
At 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