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  • Sander Chan

Global Climate Action 2022 - Have Climate Initiatives delivered, and what more is possible?

We identified 601 initiatives launched at climate conferences since 2014 with more than 70,000 instances of participation by #cities and #regions, #business actors, and #NGOs. (A single actor may participate in multiple initiatives.)

The total no. of initiatives in this study more than doubled compared to previous ones. The growth of initiatives has flattened since 2019. Many that were launched around COP 21 (Paris, 2015) expired. The pandemic may also have lowered growth of initiatives, esp. in 2020.

Initiatives' productivity is trending downwards. Since 2019, the share of high-performing initiatives in both #mitigation and #adaptation declined. Perhaps initiatives initially pick ‘low-hanging fruit’ and subsequently take more difficult measures.

The pandemic likely affected performance. Since 2019 location specific outputs (e.g. infrastructure) have decreased while non-location-specific outputs (e.g., websites) decreased since 2020 at a slower rate. We also observed a growth of webcasted events possibly substituting physical ones.

Our study shows a strong underrepresentation of developing country based funders, leaders and participants. More implementation occurs in developing countries, but this arguably is still relatively low.

Since 2015 the share of outputs in the Global North has steadily grown. Imbalances can be expected; they reflect differentiated responsibilities and the need for mitigation. Still, benefits of #ClimateAction (esp. in adaptation & resilience) should also accrue to developing countries.

On the upside: initiatives launched at COP26 in Glasgow, have the potential to fill a significant part of the ambition gap in 2030 between current NDCs & 1.5°C pathways. To achieve this, large emitting countries need to join and fully deliver. Glasgow initiatives theoretically could lower emissions by 11 GtCO2e in 2030 compared to the aggregate of NDCs. The low number of governments signing up, however, would only lead to about 5 GtCO2e of emission reductions.

Future COPs could generate momentum in sectors not covered by Glasgow initiatives, incl. the buildings and heavy industry sectors other than steel, such as chemicals and cement. A task for presidencies of next COPs and High Level Climate Champions?

Stay tuned for "Global Climate Action 2022" Part 2 on #cities, #regions, and #companies with Zhi Yi Yeo, Angel Hsu (Datadriven Lab), Mark Roelfsema (Utrecht University/PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency), Andrew Clapper (CDP) and other colleagues.

NewClimate Institute, German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Radboud University. Global Climate Action 2022: How have international initiatives delivered, and what more is possible? Research report prepared by the team of: Takeshi Kuramochi, Sander Chan, Sybrig Smit, Andrew Deneault, Natalie Pelekh.

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