We focus our resources on four sectors: 1) energy-intensive industries, 2) transport and mobility, 3) buildings, and 4) agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU). These sectors are much less understood than, for example, the electricity sector in terms of transformation dynamics, specific challenges, and policy options to advance decarbonisation. In addition, these sectors are important for the economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era given their large job creation potential across geographies.
We will analyse NDC implementation, transformation challenges, and specific sectoral pathways for 20 selected countries, 15 of which have been pre-selected (see table below). The main criterion for country selection is to cover those countries that will collectively contribute most to shaping the required sectoral transformation pathways globally. In addition, countries selected represent diversity in socio-economic conditions, climate conditions, regional distribution, mitigation approach and ambition, and role within UNFCCC negotiations. In light of the limited available resources, NDC ASPECTS will distinguish between two tiers of countries for which different depth of analysis is planned. For the first tier of key countries, we have included national partners with policy and modelling capacity to ensure accuracy, local ownership, and relevance for national policymakers. For the other countries (Tier 2) the analysis will be conducted without strong involvement of national research teams and will be covered with the modelling tools of the consortium and qualitative research based on expert interviews.
Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement requires a fundamental transformation of the economy and society. We will draw upon the following perspectives in order to structure the debate on transformative change and identify diverging views on the viability and effectiveness of proposed decarbonisation strategies.
- The ideational perspective, focusing on ideas and values as drivers of change.
- The institutionalist perspective, based on the understanding that human behaviour is fundamentally structured by institutions.
- The technology-optimist perspective, highlighting the role of technological innovation and diffusion.
- The rationalist perspective, emphasizing that change is incremental and market-driven and that prices (monetary, political, or any other kind) are the drivers of change.
There is increasing consensus that cooperation between scientists from different disciplines and actors from outside academia is needed in order to deal with the urgent sustainability challenges faced by the modern global world. To this end, NDC ASPECTS brings together a wide range of academic disciplines – political science, economics, social science, engineering, law, natural sciences (biology, physics), mathematical modelling – and engages deeply with stakeholders to co-design the research questions, co-produce results, and co-create specific recommendations. This is operationalised in the “Sectoral Conversations” work package (WP1).