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POLICY BRIEF: Defining climate compatible development

Climate change and responses to it are changing patterns of innovation, trade, production, population distribution and risk in complex ways. This is creating a new development landscape for policy makers, who need to nurture and sustain economic growthIdeally, economic growth is decoupled from energy consumption. This can be achieved through different measures, one of them being energy efficiency or a shift towards less energy intensive sectors, such as services. and social development in the face of multiple threats and uncertainties while also cutting emissionsEmissions of greenhouse gases, greenhouse gas precursors, and aerosols associated with human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land-use changes, livestock, fertilisation, etc. (IPCC) or keeping them low.

This brief, Defining climate compatible development, explains how climate strategies that embrace development goals and development strategies integrate the threats and opportunities of a changing climate. As a result, it heralds a new generation of development processes that safeguard development from climate impacts (climate resilient developmentImplement a holistic climate risk strategy that overcomes barriers and launches fully funded key adaptation initiatives'How can we reach our development targets while accounting for current and future risks?) and reduce or keep emissions low without compromising development goals (low emissions development), going beyond the traditional separation of adaptation, mitigationMitigation refers to actions that reduce our contribution to the causes of climate change. This means reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), through energy efficiency and using alternative forms of transport and energy.(UKCIP) and development strategies.

Climate compatible developmentClimate compatible development is development that minimises the harm caused by climate impacts, while maximising the many human development opportunities presented by transitions to a low emissions, resilient future. Charting a path towards climate compatible development will be a major ... goes one step further by asking policy makers to consider ‘triple win’ strategies that result in low emissions, build resilience and promote development simultaneously.

Key messages include:

  • Climate change presents threats and opportunities for development. Climate compatible development seeks to minimise these threats and maximise the opportunities.
  • It is a response to a new development landscape of risks, uncertainties and changing patterns of innovation, production and trade.
  • Policy makers must promote growth and social development whilst building climate resilience, cutting emissions or keeping them low.
  • Unless policy makers integrate mitigation, adaptation and development strategies they will miss efficiencyUsing less energy/electricity to perform the same function. Programs designed to use electricity more efficiently - doing the same with less. savings and may pursue strategies that solve one problem but aggravate others.