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OPPORTUNITY: CDKN invites research on national plans for climate compatible development transitions

The next fifteen years provide the window of time in which the global economy must shift toward low-carbon development to avoid a global mean temperature change of greater than 2°C and climate change’s worst effects, a reality affirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report.

The nature of climate change makes this shift a global challenge, but in recent years, the focus of transformational change toward a low-carbon global economy has shifted to the national level. Following the most recent negotiations in Warsaw at COP19, countries are expected to deliver national-level mitigation targets by 2015, providing the basis for the post-Kyoto global climate regime. Therefore, although ultimately effective mitigation requires global participation, global ambition and even a global legal agreement are reliant on national ambition.

The ‘nationalisation’ of the post-Kyoto framework for climate mitigation has also paralleled the rise of national green growth planning. The green growth agenda has been rooted in an acknowledgement that the primary framework for national development remains economic— governments continue to see growth as the means to development—and yet the continued reality is that economic growth to date has largely resulted in unsustainable resource use and pollution intensity, particularly of carbon pollution. Increasingly, though, some have begun to seek pathways toward economic growth decoupled from greenhouse gas emissions, or even reflecting a broader agenda of resource efficiency and minimisation of pollution, as a means of achieving sustainable development.

Whether framed in terms of low-carbon development or green growth, climate compatible development plans have become the key to global climate ambition.

The success of COP21 hinges on the ability of member states to deliver ambitious targets at Paris. Looking immediately beyond Paris, any international framework based on national targets will be nearly impossible to achieve if each member state delivers a target unsupported by a credible plan for how that target will be achieved. Each target will need to be rooted in practical, achievable national development plans that create a basis for implementation. In the absence of an ambitious international framework, national planning to enable a climate compatible development transition remains essential.

National low-carbon development plans must therefore be ‘robust’ – simultaneously ambitious and implementable – to support an effective global goal. Further, the longer term objective of decoupling of growth from resource and pollution intensity—green growth—will need to happen at the national scale. Research can inform both the ambition and achievability of national plans for climate compatible development, including by:

  • helping countries develop, prioritise, and operationalise national targets, strategies, or development plans;
  • facilitating policy coherence by analysing the effects of green growth objectives on other economic policy considerations;
  • developing new green industrial policy frameworks;
  • identifying and resolving political economy constraints to climate compatible development transitions;
  • providing international comparative research to distil lessons learned on climate compatible development; and
  • developing internationally applicable tools for climate compatible development analysis and planning.

CDKN is commissioning new research on these issues, with a view to generating evidence-based thought leadership and policy impact for climate compatible development.

See this page on the Climate compatible development Impact Research Fund for more details.


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