Research Unit

Global Climate Governance

The Research Unit Global Climate Governance sees itself as navigators of international governance processes and as architects of transformative solutions developing integrated strategies and instruments at global level to advance the transformation to sustainability.

Stopping climate change necessitates to re-build global economic and social systems and to transition to a renewable energy basis as quickly as possible. The Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a long-term frame of reference for this complex task. Within this framework, the Research Unit team works on three main topic areas: governance, transformation and sustainability.

to the team


The overarching objective of the Research Unit is to contribute to the development adequate global climate governance that is oriented towards sustainability in a comprehensive sense. We envisage the role of global climate governance as that of a pacemaker that mobilises national governments and other actors and thereby induces policy and behaviour changes at all levels of multi-level governance. The Research Unit therefore develops proposals how global climate governance can best maximise this pacemaker function to promote the transformation to sustainability at all levels.

Profile: Research Unit Global Climate Governance
Thematic focus

Within this framework, the Research Unit team works on three main topic areas: governance, transformation and sustainability.

Governance: The Wuppertal Institute has observed and analysed the United Nations climate negotiations since 1995 and regularly summarises the state of the negotiations from an independent scientific perspective. The researchers provide in-depth advice to political institutions as well civil society and other actors working within the climate policy field. In addition, the team is familiar with national climate policy processes and the positions of individual countries in international climate politics world-wide.

Transformation: The team analyses and develops transformation strategies for a multitude of actors from a global perspective. The research relates not only to strategies for embarking onto sustainable societal pathways, practices and technologies, but also incorporates the deliberate exit from unsustainable structures and practices and overcoming related path dependencies (phase-out, exnovation). The latter point is of increasing importance in the sense of an equitable management of change processes (just transition).

Sustainability: Ambitious climate policy is only sustainable and feasible if it directly contributes to further dimensions of sustainable development. The team therefore contributes to putting additional sustainability benefits, which international climate policy has often patronised as "co-benefits", front and centre as "main benefits" of actions that are catalysed through climate policy.


Here you can find projects of the Research Unit: