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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
June 2024
Authors
Willington Ortiz
María Cecilia Bonet
Lukas Hermwille
Anna Pérez Català
Marta Torres Gunfaus
María José Sanz
Chun Xia
Faidra Filippidou
Gauri Khandekar
Simon Otto
Yann Briand
Description

This report reflects on the operationalization of sectoral conversations approach which guided the design of the NDC Aspects project. In this way the project acts as a case study of research that aim at integrating science expertise into sustainability governance processes at global levels. Thus, the central aim of the study is to assess how and to what extent the sectoral conversation approach has fostered dialogue and learning among researchers and between researchers and stakeholders. For that aim two strands of analysis are proposed. The first reflects on the evolution of the sectoral conversations that were undertaken along the whole project duration. The second strand of analysis focuses on the structure of the academic research tasks and traces the interactions that were promoted across them. Based on the results lessons learned are extracted that offer guidance about central aspects that should be taken into account in order to promote the effective integration of science in global sustainability governance.


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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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Date
November 2022
Authors
Ioannis Tsiropoulos
Panagiotis Fragkos
Tamara Apostolou
Charalampidis Ioannis
Nikos Tsanakas
Panagiotis Karkatsoulis
Vassiliki Sourtzi
Eleftheria Zisarou
Description

This report presents the development of two international bunker fuel models, for maritime and aviation that can assess the potential contribution of the sectors to meet deep decarbonization goals such as those of the Paris Agreement objectives. The models are calibrated to latest available information. In the short-term both models take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and include mechanisms that can account for different policies, technologies, and prices. We quantify global and regional scenarios as well as regional case studies to demonstrate the potential contribution of international bunker fuels to GHG mitigation efforts. Then, the report discusses how the modelling of international transport (aviation and shipping) is improved in the global energy model PROMETHEUS, with endogenization of the emission reduction options (e.g., accelerated efficiency and operational improvements, advanced biofuels, clean synthetic fuels, hydrogen). Finally, the enhanced global modelling framework was used to investigate deep decarbonisation pathways and strategies for the international shipping and aviation sectors highlighting feasible policy measures and actions in the relatively short-term and possible enhancements in the longer-term, as well as the synergies of domestic climate action with the decarbonisation of bunker fuels.

 

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WP2

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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
December 2022
Authors
Lauri Peterson
Harro van Asselt
Francesco Benvegnù
Christiane Beuermann
Rizaldi Boer
Sibel Raquel Ersoy
Amit Garg
Catherine Hall
Maximilian Häntzschel
María José Sanz
Nico Kreibich
Wolfgang Obergassel
Tara Olsen
Simon Otto
Anna Perez-Catala
Madeleine Raabe
Serafima Raskina
Siobhán Rose
Annuri Rossita
Fabio Schojan
Saritha Sudharmma Vishwanathan
Arzyana Sunkar
Julia Terrapon-Pfaff
Description

The deliverable identifies several key results. We establish seven criteria for the assessment of NDC implementation risks, which among our cases include track record, interest groups, resources dedicated to implementation, policy output, embeddedness in legislation, institutional output, and monitoring and enforcement. Based on the criteria, we find that a few of the cases are at higher risk to fail to implement their NDC pledges than others, such as Saudi Arabia, which is categorised as “high risk” for six different criteria. A few countries can be considered “low risk” in terms of implementation risks. For instance, the EU and Norway are the most likely to successfully implement their NDC goals. However, most countries can be considered “low risk” for some criteria and “high risk” for other criteria. Two main conclusions can be drawn from the results of the assessment. First, in line with studies indicating an “implementation gap”, it is highly unlikely that NDCs will be fully implemented. Our selected cases exhibit implementation risks for various criteria, calling into question the likelihood of achieving the 1.5°C goal. Second, although NDCs have been gradually updated, they still are lacking in many crucial regards, such as access to information on government budgeting for climate action. This makes it more to assess and compare countries’ financial investments in climate action. Thus, there is a need for more research that captures funding for the implementation.

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WP4

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Date
June 2023
Authors
Wolfgang Obergassel (coordinating author)
Description

This deliverable analyses transformation opportunities, barriers and policy options in about 10 countries for each of the four sectors energy-intensive industries, transport, buildings, and agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU). The analysis shows that while there generally is the potential to achieve sufficient emission reductions to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, mobilisation of this potential is impeded by strong barriers across all sectors. In addition, existing policies are nowhere nearly strong enough to overcome these barriers and mobilise mitigation opportunities. The sector reports contain options to strengthen policies for each target country as well as cross-country comparisons of results.


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Date
June 2023
Authors
Simon Otto
Sebastian Oberthür
Annika Tönjes
Lauri Peterson
Hilton Trollip
Saritha Vishwanathan
Description

Achieving the decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries (EIIs) by mid-century is technically possible and essential to achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement. However, decarbonising EIIs, such as steel, cement, chemicals, and aluminium, faces significant economic, political, and structural barriers across all levels of governance. This study systematically analyses national sectoral decarbonisation barriers, enablers and policies for 13 major EII producing countries to assess if their respective national policy frameworks are fit for advancing the decarbonisation of EIIs in line with Paris-compatible pathways. The analysis is based on case studies that systematically map national sectoral mitigation barriers, enablers and policies conducted or reviewed by national or sectoral experts.


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Date
June 2023
Authors
Lauren Harry-Villain
Yann Briand
Henri Waisman
Harro van Asselt
Catherine Hall
Frederic Rudolph
Dipti Gupta
Marcio de Almeida D’Agosto
Ricardo Delgado Cadena
Jordi Tovilla
Thalia Hernandez
Nnaemeka Vincent Emodi
Alicia Zhao
Ryna Cui
Mark Gjerek
Rico Merkert
Maria Rosa Munoz
Sidsel Ahlmann Jensen
Amin Hassani
Description

Reaching the Paris Agreement goal requires transformative systemic change in all main emitting sec- tors of the economy, including transport. Nonetheless, despite the fact that freight represents 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, current strategies to diminish this sub-sector’s emissions are far from being sufficient to meet this objective. In this paper, we present an integrated approach to analyze national freight decarbonization actions and attempt to show through a cross-country comparison that this comprehensive tool can be used to guide public policies. This approach uses different existing analytical frameworks: it is based on a pathway design framework which allows the consideration of all drivers of change, which is combined with an analysis of feasibility conditions and then of policy instruments.


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Date
June 2023
Authors
Chun Xia-Bauer
Sriraj Gokarakonda
Ece Ural
Siyue Guo
Faidra Filippidou
Jyoti R. Maheshwari
Saritha Sudharmma Vishwanathan
Description

Buildings are crucial in climate mitigation due to their significant share in final energy consumption and GHG emissions. However, the sector decarbonisation has been slow to move. This study aims to identify key barriers to building decarbonisation and analyse policy instruments addressing these barriers. In addition, the study also briefly discussed the contribution of building decarbonisation to SDGs as enablers for taking up the decarbonisation measures.


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Date
June 2023
Authors
María José Sanz
Itxaso Ruiz
Theo Rouhette
Description

The contribution of the AFOLU sector for achieving net zero by mid-century is critical and few countries will rely on the sector to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement. However, the sector faces significant economic, political and structural barriers across all levels of governance. To address these and materialize the potential of the sector, far-reaching and comprehensive public policies and support are needed. This paper analyses the national policy frameworks of 10 countries where the AFOLU sector, in particular Forest, seem to be considered in their NDCs and will play a role for achieving net zero by mid-century. First, we identify general sectoral mitigation barriers, challenges and opportunities and analyse how these are manifested at national level, based on country case studies conducted or reviewed by national experts. Second, we consider if national policy frameworks are fit for purpose of the AFOLU sector to contribute to country LTS targets.


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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.

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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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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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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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Date
March 2024
Authors
Lukas Hermwille
Catherine Hall
Panagiotis Fragkos
Kostas Fragkiadakis
Dimitris Fragkiadakis
Description

This report summarises two manuscripts (which will both be submitted for publication) that analyse the potential for climate clubs in the context of the global political and economic landscape, especially regarding the emerging geopolitical rivalry and increasing industrial policy nationalism. More specifically, the studies provide qualitative insights into different design options of climate clubs and their possible implications. The second manuscript analyses quantitatively the economic and environmental effects of protectionist and nationalist industrial policies.


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Date
March 2024
Authors
Catherine Hall
Description

In response to the limitations and failings of the multilateral UN climate change law regime, a range of new and dynamic climate governance arrangements have emerged. This includes minilateral ‘climate clubs’, which enable a subset of countries to tackle climate change beyond the UNFCCC. While proposed as a solution to move international climate policy forward, depending on their specific design, climate clubs could raise implications from the perspective of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) that is enshrined in the climate regime. Accordingly, this paper aims to analyse different design options of climate clubs through the lens of CBDR-RC. First, it explains the general rationale for climate clubs and presents a spectrum of key club design features. Second, it conceptualises the principle of CBDR-RC and describes how this has been operationalised. Third, it draws on existing club-like arrangements – namely, the Climate Club launched at COP28, the Clean Energy Ministerial, and the proposed EU-US Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminium – to critically examine whether different design options are (likely to be) compatible with the principle of CBDR-RC. Last, the paper explores how differentiation could be woven into the architecture of future climate clubs.

This paper is part of Deliverable 6.3 – Report and academic article manuscripts on sectoral climate clubs (one on the political economy of sectoral climate clubs, and one on the modelling results)


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Date
March 2024
Authors
Panagiotis Fragkos
Lukas Hermwille
Kostas Fragkiadakis
Description

Industrial policy nationalism threatens international collaboration on climate change mitigation. Using regulatory, fiscal, or trade policies to protect and promote the interests of national industries against external competition may increase the cost of transformation and delay the diffusion of key low-carbon technologies. While we need a technology race against climate change, it needs to be a race in a collaborative spirit in which all contestants encourage each other to perform at their best. But a race in the spirit of geopolitical rivalry may cost us the climate.

This paper is part Deliverable 6.3 – Report and academic article manuscripts on sectoral climate clubs (one on the political economy of sectoral climate clubs, and one on the modelling results)


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Date
April 2024
Authors
Wolfgang Obergassel
Christiane Beuermann
Carsten Elsner
Description

This deliverable assesses the Global Stocktake (GST) potential to promote transitions of sectoral systems and how its outcome fulfills this potential. It draws on research in socio-technical transitions and international institutions to develop an evaluation framework. Literature and stakeholder submissions highlight how an effective GST could support transitions. While the GST decision breaks ground by calling for transitioning away from fossil fuels and setting renewable energy and efficiency targets, it lacks strong legal language, clear follow-up mechanisms, and sufficient financial support for developing nations. Despite these limitations, the GST sets a new benchmark for climate governance and empowers those seeking bolder action within governments and businesses. And from a conceptual perspective, a system-focused approach has arguably proven its worth as a concept to effectively dissect the complex challenge of climate change.


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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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