Taking Transformative Pathways

Policy brief advances a sectoral perspective

  • News 29.10.2018

The Paris Climate Agreement provides for states to renew and tighten up their reduction commitments every five years. This is urgently necessary, because so far the states are far from achieving their self-imposed goals of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. A first increase in ambition should at best take place before 2020, when the first so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) will have to be implemented.
To this end, a process has been initiated called the Talanoa Dialogue. The process was introduced by the Fijian government, which had taken over the leadership of last year's UN climate conference. The dialogue thus follows a Pacific custom of conflict resolution and social exchange. Three questions guide the discussion: Where are we? Where do we want to go? And how do we get there?

The authors of the policy letter "A sectoral perspective to embark on transformative pathways", which has now been submitted as a contribution to the Talanoa Dialogue, addresses the same questions. The paper summarizes the main results of the COP21:RIPPLES research project, in which the Wuppertal Institute has a major share. "A delay in climate protection means a threefold burden: more will have to be done later, we will be worse prepared and costs will rise considerably," writes the team of authors. In addition, the fundamental question arises as to how the reduction targets of the Paris Agreement can be achieved: "Increasing ambition for the first NDC phase from 2020 onwards will enable a less radical and more realistic transformation. Otherwise, extreme decarbonisation rates and climate protection contributions from individual sectors would be required. This would not only be extremely challenging technically, but would most likely also lead to considerable acceptance problems," the authors continue. In addition, higher short-term targets would make it possible to reduce the overall costs of the transition through "learning by doing" and avoid costly disinvestment.

The authors argue that a consistent focus on specific sectors can help to increase ambition of climate action. To enable this increase of ambition, international governance institutions and mechanisms should also be more consistently aligned to sectoral transformation challenges.

The policy letter "A sectoral perspective to embark on transformative pathways" with the individual scenarios and studies can be downloaded in the following link.