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Reports

Date
August 2022
Authors
Lukas Hermwille
Wolfgang Obergassel
Anna Pérez Català
Panagiotis Fragkos
Dirk-Jan Van de Ven
María José Sanz
Marta Torres Gunfaus
Yann Briand
Harro van Asselt
Sebastian Oberthür
Stefan Kronshage
Patrick Jochem
Chun Xia-Bauer
Description

A sectoral perspective can help the Global Stocktake (GST) to effectively achieve its objective to inform the Parties in enhancing subsequent NDCs and in enhancing international cooperation. Specifically, granular and actionable sectoral lessons, grounded in country-driven assessments, should be identified and elaborated. To be effective, conversations on sectoral transformations need to synthesise key challenges and opportunities identified in the national analyses and link them to international enablers; focus on systemic interdependencies, involve diverse actors, and be thoroughly prepared including by pre-scoping points of convergences and divergence across transformations.

We specifically recommend that the co-facilitators of the Technical Dialogue use their (limited) mandate to facilitate an effective conversation on sectoral transformations e.g. by organising dedicated informal seminars in between formal negotiation sessions; key systemic transformations necessary to achieve net-zero by mid-century should be spelled out and included in the final decision or political declaration of the GST; and the political outcome of the GST should mandate follow-up processes at the regional level and encourage national-level conversations to translate the collective messages from GST into actionable and sector-specific policy recommendations.

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WP1

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Date
December 2021
Authors
Hermwille, L.
Pérez Català, A.
Torres Gunfaus, M.
Ortiz, W.
Spitzner, M.
Description

This deliverable is a guidebook to support the successful implementation of the Sectoral Conversations for industry, mobility & transport, buildings, and agriculture, land use, and forestry under the NDC ASPECTS project. The purpose of the Sectoral Conversations is to provide a space for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange within the project and with project-external sectoral experts. It provides an opportunity to share (interim) results from the outset with different disciplines and external stakeholders. Their feedback might help to hone research questions and reconfigure ongoing analyses so that they speak to each other, thus maximizing their policy and academic relevance.

 

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WP1

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Date
August 2022
Authors
Harro van Asselt
Lauri Peterson
Lukas Hermwille
Sebastian Oberthür
Maximilian Häntzschel
Francesco Benvegnú
Description

The study presents four key findings. First, based on prior academic and policy literature, we establish three categories of potential drivers and barriers to NDC enhancement: political institutions, the economy, and structural factors. Second, we identify the key role of democratic institutions through quantitative and qualitative methods. We find that more democratic countries were more likely to enhance their 2030 emission targets in the updated NDCs. The qualitative part of the deliverable supports this by finding that open and transparent stakeholder consultations were beneficial for the enhancement of greenhouse gas emission targets in updated NDCs. Saudi Arabia, however, is a key outlier as it enhanced its 2030 NDC mitigation target within completely closed decision-making institutions. Third, we establish that government and stakeholder concerns about the potential negative impacts of the green transition constitute a key barrier to continued NDC enhancement. The quantitative analysis shows that governments in countries with high economic fast-growing economies tended to keep their pledges the same or even reduced ambition. Qualitative interviews indicated that this may be due to worries about increasing GHG emissions and the effects of the low emission transition on future economic growth. The mixed-method findings suggest that the enhancement of climate pledges is supported by open political processes that manage to take into account concerns about economic development. Finally, we do not find that structural factors, such as fossil fuel production and physical impacts of climate change constitute a significant barrier to NDC enhancement, although they may determine the initial level of climate ambition in the first NDC.

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WP4

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Date
October 2022
Authors
Sebastian Oberthür
Simon Otto
Adrián Vida
Catherine Hall
Chun Xia
Dirk-Jan Van de Ven
Harro van Asselt
María José Sanz
Nicolas Kreibich
Silvestre García de Jalón
Wolfgang Obergassel
Description

This report assesses sectoral governance gaps and potentials to identify means to improve global governance to enhance the realisation of transformational sectoral pathways across four hard-to-abate sectors, namely Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU), energy-intensive industry, buildings, and transport. The analysis is captured in five outputs (four article manuscripts and one policy brief). The manuscripts can be found below as deliverables 6.1a-d. The policy brief is named "Article 6 and CORSIA after Glasgow: Ready for take-off?" and can be found on the project website here: https://www.ndc-aspects.eu/publications/policy-briefs.

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WP6

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Date
October 2022
Authors
Adrián Vidal
María José Sanz
Silvestre García de Jalón
Dirk-Jan Van de Ven
Description

Land-based activities are increasingly acknowledged for their important ongoing and potential contributions to the Paris Agreement’s mitigation target of reaching carbon neutrality in the second half of this century by reducing emissions and increasing removals from the sector, as well as by its capacity to produce biomass to substitute carbon-intensive products. Land use also plays an important role in short- and medium-term mitigation targets set out in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and 2030 strategies and plans. At the same time, the land is a critical resource for multiple developmental and environmental objectives, providing food, fodder, fibre, fuel, and a multitude of other goods and ecosystem services that are fundamental to human well-being. Due to its finite nature, land is subject to competition among these different uses and objectives, and mid to long-term planning of land use and enhancing governance is therefore fundamental to ensure socially and environmentally sound arbitrages among them. As ecosystems (managed and unmanaged) are increasingly impacted by climate change, it is therefore needed that mitigation measures are compatible with adaptation measures. Overall, to achieve sustainability in the sector is also necessary the preservation of other ecosystem services and respect for local communities’ rights, which requires a multiscale and fit-for-purpose governance structure. Despite some recent progress, governance structures and plans rarely address the multiple objectives listed above. For the purpose of the paper, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Agriculture, Forest, and other Land Uses (AFOLU) sector approach will be used. This paper will assess the AFOLU governance instruments beyond the domestic scale to enhance ambition and implementation of NDCs by acting in the sector while integrating environmental and developmental objectives other than mitigation, and point out the barriers and possible solutions to the governance gaps that are identified.

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WP6

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Date
October 2022
Authors
Simon Otto
Sebastian Oberthür
Description

To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement the deep decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries (EIIs) by mid-century is essential. However, their transition is hampered by several crucial economic and political barriers, such as limited availability of mitigation technologies, high capital investment needs and long lifecycles, and strong global competition. Global governance and sector-specific initiatives offer great potential to address these barriers and accelerate EII decarbonisation globally – a potential that has so far remained underexploited, however. This article identifies and assesses in detail options of global governance for closing existing governance gaps and advancing the decarbonisation of the main EIIs (i.e., steel, cement and concrete, chemicals, and aluminium). To this end, it proceeds in three steps. It first determines the theoretical potential of international cooperation to address barriers and challenges to the decarbonisation of EIIs along six governance functions, i.e. signal and guidance, rule setting, transparency and accountability, means of implementation, knowledge, and learning, and orchestration and coordination. It then identifies existing gaps in the global governance of decarbonising EIIs, by comparing the theoretical potential of global governance with the existing supply of global governance across the six functions. It finds that recently established global sectoral initiatives provide a promising basis for further enhancing governance, in particular regarding the functions of signal and guidance, means of implementation, as well as a rule set. On this basis, the article proceeds to identify and assess concrete options for enhancing the global climate governance of EIIs to address the gaps identified and drive forward the transition. It analyses if and how reforming existing institutions can address the identified governance gaps, before discussing the possible creation of new institutions to address the remaining gaps. Existing institutions offer a good starting to advance global governance on many functions, but a new institution can significantly enhance existing efforts and is required to address issues regarding international competition and carbon leakage and the harmonisation of standards for near-zero emission basic materials. The analysis provides priorities and ‘feasible’ steps towards a better exploitation of the potential of global governance for the decarbonisation of EIIs that can drive forward the sector's transition to climate neutrality.

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WP6

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Date
October 2022
Authors
Wolfgang Obergassel
Chun Xia
Description

Emissions from the buildings sector account for 21% of global GHG emissions. This paper aims to analyse the potential of global climate governance to promote the decarbonisation of this sector. The paper proceeds in four steps. First, the paper summarise existing knowledge on which barriers are impeding decarbonisation of the buildings sector as well as opportunities that may be leveraged. Second, the paper discusses how global governance may help with overcoming these barriers and mobilising potentials (“governance potential”). Third, the paper maps out the existing landscape of international institutions that are active in the buildings sector and discusses to what extent these institutions have already been able to exploit the governance potential identified in the preceding step. This discussion results in an identification of governance gaps and unexploited potential. Finally, the paper discusses options for filling the identified gaps and mobilising unexploited potential.

Global governance and cooperation in the buildings sector are generally difficult given its mostly localised supply chains, lack of exposure to international trade, and highly differentiated needs in relation to geography and climate. The paper nonetheless identifies a number of potential avenues for global climate governance, but this potential has been exploited only to a limited extent. The sector was not even mentioned in recent outcomes of institutions such as the G7 or the Major Economies Forum. While the challenge of providing climate-friendly cooling is governed with clear targets, rules, and transparency mechanisms under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, regarding the buildings sector as a whole, there is no central institution, no strong government-backed signal on the need to decarbonise, and also is little rule-setting. The potential to provide transparency and accountability of countries’ actions also has been exploited only to a very low extent. Regarding means of implementation, while substantial resources seem to be provided, there is a lack of data on actual needs. IPCC and IEA consider that investments need to grow by a factor of 3-4 by 2030 to get onto a Paris-compatible trajectory.

Several already existing institutions could in theory help to close the governance gaps identified but in practice, all have limitations, such as the diverging interests among the parties to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement and the need to achieve consensus. The best way forward may therefore be a coalition of ambitious countries and other others, such as a “Breakthrough” in the buildings sector, that draws on the strengths of existing institutions. To add value to the existing institutional landscape, such a “Breakthrough” should include an ambitious global target or roadmap as well as ambitious individual targets and pledges to increase means of implementation for developing countries. The GlobalABC and the IEA could track implementation, as the IEA is already doing case with the existing Glasgow Breakthroughs. Successive COP presidencies could use the annual COP sessions as a platform and occasion to demand demonstration of clear progress. In addition, if country members included their Breakthrough pledges in their NDCs, they would thereby be subject to the transparency mechanisms of the Paris Agreement.

However, the success of such as “Breakthrough” is far from assured given that so far several calls for building decarbonisation commitments by governments gained only a handful of signatories. A fallback option would be to strengthen the GlobalABC in terms of its membership and administrative capacity.

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WP6

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Date
October 2022
Authors
Catherine Hall
Harro van Asselt
Description

Notwithstanding its overall importance, the United Nations (UN) climate change regime has so far played a limited role in driving sectoral transformations toward climate neutrality. However, the challenges and opportunities for sectoral transformations, as well as the need for and potential for international governance, differ across varying sectoral systems. Land transport is a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise. Emissions from the land transport sector are projected to rise, with total transport activity expected to more than double by 2050 against 2015 levels (International Transport Forum, 2021). Drawing on a review of available policy documents and secondary literature, this paper assesses the extent to which international governance can promote the transformation of land transport towards sustainability and decarbonisation. It first identifies the key challenges and barriers to sectoral decarbonisation inland transport, as well as any unexploited potentials. The paper then examines the potential of international cooperation to address these barriers and mobilise any potentials, mapped against six key governance functions, namely: (1) guidance and signal, (2) rules and standards, (3) transparency and accountability, (4) means of implementation (5) knowledge and learning, and (6) orchestration and coordination. The paper subsequently analyses the existing governance landscape, to identify to what extent current institutions have been exploiting these governance potentials. The paper finds that the overall international governance potential in the area of sustainable mobility remains underexploited. The paper accordingly explores how international governance may be enhanced in the land transport sector and offers some concrete options to this end, including institutional reform as well as the potential creation of a new institution in the form of a climate club.

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WP6

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Date
October 2022
Authors
Wolfgang Obergassel
Description

The main aim of this deliverable is to document the progress of the policy paper series during the first reporting period. All papers produced so far were already published individually on the project’s website and advertised in the project newsletter and on social media. Most outputs of work packages 1 to 6 will consist of research reports and manuscripts for academic journals. The objective of the policy paper series is therefore to distil policy-relevant results in a more digestible format targeted at policymakers and stakeholders. So far, two policy papers were published, plus a submission to the Global Stocktake (GST) process of the UNFCCC. As the project is starting to produce more research outputs, there will correspondingly be more material to translate into policy papers. 


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