Chapter 18: Climate Resilient Development Pathways

Coordinating Lead Authors: E. Lisa F. Schipper (Sweden/UK), Aromar Revi (India), Benjamin L. Preston (Australia/USA)

Lead Authors: Edward. R. Carr (USA), Siri H. Eriksen (Norway), Luis R. Fernández-Carril (Mexico), Bruce Glavovic (South Africa/New Zealand), Nathalie J.M. Hilmi (France/Monaco), Debora Ley (Mexico/Guatemala), Rupa Mukerji (India/Switzerland), M. Silvia Muylaert de Araujo (Brazil), Rosa Perez (Philippines), Steven K. Rose (USA), Pramod K. Singh (India)

Contributing Authors: Paulina Aldunce (Chile), Aditya Bahadur (India), Natália Barbosa de Carvalho (Brazil), Ritwika Basu (India), Nick Brooks (UK), Donald A. Brown (USA), Anna Carthy (Ireland), Vanesa Castán Broto (Spain/UK), Ralph Chami (USA), John Cook (USA), Daniel de Berrêdo Viana (Brazil), Frode Degvold (Norway), Shekoofeh Farahmend (Iran), Roger Few (UK), Gianfranco Gianfrate (France), H. Carina Keskitalo (Sweden), Florian Krampe (Germany/Sweden), Rinchen Lama (South Africa), Julia Leventon (Czech Republic/UK), Rebecca McNaught (New Zealand), Yu Mo (China/UK), Marianne Mosberg (Norway), Michelle Mycoo (Trinidad and Tobago), Johanna Nalau (Australia/Finland), Karen O’Brien (Norway), Meg Parsons (New Zealand), Alain Safa (France), Majid Sameti (Iran), Zoha Shawoo (Pakistan/UK), Marcus Taylor (Canada/UK), Mark G.L. Tebboth (UK), Bejoy K. Thomas (India), Kirsten Ulsrud (Norway), Saskia Werners (the Netherlands/Germany), Keren Zhu (China), Monika Zurek (Germany/UK)

Review Editors: Diana Liverman (USA), Nobuo Mimura (Japan)

Chapter Scientists: Ritwika Basu (India/UK), Zoha Shawoo (Pakistan/UK), Yu Mo (China/UK)

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Figure FAQ18.2.1

Figure Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB.1

Figure Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB.2

Figure Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB.3

Figure Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB.3

Figure Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB.4

Figure FAQ18.2.1.

This chapter should be cited as:

Schipper, E.L.F., A. Revi, B.L. Preston, E.R. Carr, S.H. Eriksen, L.R. Fernandez-Carril, B.C. Glavovic, N.J.M. Hilmi, D. Ley, R. Mukerji, M.S. Muylaert de Araujo, R. Perez, S.K. Rose, and P.K. Singh, 2022: Climate Resilient Development Pathways. In: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, pp. 2655–2807, doi:10.1017/9781009325844.027.

Executive Summary

Climate resilient development (CRD) is a process of implementing greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation options to support sustainable development for all {Section 18.1}. Climate action and sustainable development are interdependent processes and climate resilient development is possible when this interdependence is leveraged. Pursuing these goals in an integrated manner increases their effectiveness in enhancing human and ecological well-being. Climate resilient development can help build capacity for climate action, including contributing to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, while enabling the implementation of adaptation options that enhance social, economic and ecological resilience to climate change as the prospect of crossing the 1.5°C global warming level in the early 2030s approaches (WGI Table SPM1). For example, incorporating clean energy generation, healthy diets from sustainable food systems, appropriate urban planning and transport, universal health coverage and social protection, can generate substantial health and well-being co-benefits (very high confidence1 ) {Section 7.4.4, Cross-Chapter Box HEALTH in Chapter 7}. Similarly, universal water and energy access can help to reduce poverty and improve well-being while making populations less vulnerable and more resilient to adverse climate impacts (very high confidence) {Section 18.1, Box 4.7}.

Current development pathways, combined with the observed impacts of climate change, are leading away from, rather than towards, sustainable development, as reported in recent literature (moderate agreement , robust evidence). While demonstrable progress has been made on some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), significant gains across a range of targets are still necessary, as is enhancing synergies and balancing and managing trade-offs. Severe risks to natural and human systems are already observed in some places (high confidence) and could occur in many more systems worldwide before mid-century (medium confidence) and by the end of the century at all scales, from the local to the global, and at all latitudes and altitudes (high confidence). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic revealed the vulnerability of development progress to shocks and stresses, potentially delaying the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for all {Section 8.1, Cross-Chapter Box COVID in Chapter 7}. Various global trends, including rising income inequality, continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions, land use change, food and water insecurity, human displacement and reversals of long-term increasing life expectancy trends in some nations, run counter to the SDGs (very high confidence), as well as efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate {Section 18.2}. These development trends contribute to worsening poverty, injustice and inequity, and environmental degradation. Climate change can exacerbate these conditions by undermining human and ecological well-being {Section 18.2}.

Social and economic inequities linked to gender, poverty, race/ethnicity, religion, age or geographic location compound vulnerability to climate change and have created and could further exacerbate injustices, as well as constrain the implementation of CRD for all (very high confidence). Climate change intensifies existing vulnerability and inequality, with adverse impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable groups, including women and children in low-income households, Indigenous or other minority groups, small-scale producers and fishing communities, and low-income countries (high confidence). Most vulnerable regions and population groups, such as in East, Central and West Africa, South Asia, Micronesia and Melanesia, and Central America, present the most urgent need for adaptation (high confidence) {Chapters 10, 12, 15}. Climate justice initiatives explicitly address these multi-dimensional distributional issues as part of climate change adaptation. However, adaptation strategies can worsen social inequities, including gender, unless explicit efforts are made to change those unequal power dynamics, including spaces to foster inclusive decision making. Drawing upon Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge can contribute to overcoming the combined challenges of climate change, food security, biodiversity conservation, and combating desertification and land degradation. {Section 18.2; Cross-Chapter Box GENDER; Cross-Chapter Box INDIG}

Opportunities for climate resilient development vary by location (very high confidence). Over 3.3 billion people live in regions that are very high and highly vulnerable to climate change, while 2 billion people live in regions with low and very low vulnerability. Response to global greenhouse gas emissions trajectories, regional and local development pathways, climate risk exposure, socioeconomic and ecological vulnerability, and the local capacity to implement effective adaptation and greenhouse gas mitigation options, differ depending on local contexts and conditions {Table 18.3}. As an example, underlying social and economic vulnerabilities in Australasia exacerbate disadvantage among particular social groups and there is deep under-investment in adaptation, given current and projected risks {Chapter 11}. There is also significant regional heterogeneity in climate change, exposure and vulnerability, indicating different starting points for CRD, as well as mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development opportunities, synergies and trade-offs {Section 18.5}.

There are multiple possible pathways by which communities, nations and the world can pursue CRD. Moving towards different pathways involves confronting complex synergies and trade-offs between development pathways, and the options, contested values and interests that underpin climate mitigation and adaptation choices (very high confidence). Climate resilient development pathways (CRDPs) are trajectories for the pursuit of CRD and navigating its complexities. Different actors, the private sector and civil society, influenced by science, local and Indigenous knowledges, and the media are both active and passive in designing and navigating CRDPs {Sections 18.1, 18.4}. Increasing levels of warming may narrow the options and choices available for local survival and sustainable development for human societies and ecosystems. Limiting warming to Paris Agreement goals will reduce the magnitude of climate risks to which people, places the economy and ecosystems will have to adapt. Reconciling the costs, benefits and trade-offs associated with adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development interventions and how they are distributed among different populations and geographies is essential and challenging, but also creates the potential to pursue synergies that benefit human and ecological well-being. For example, in parts of Asia, sustainable development pathways that connect climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction can reduce climate vulnerability and increase resilience {Table 18.3, Section 10.6.2 }. Different actors and stakeholders have different priorities regarding these opportunities, which can exacerbate or diminish existing social, economic and ecological vulnerabilities and inequities. For example, in parts of Africa, intensive irrigation contributes to the development of agriculture but has come at a cost to ecosystem integrity and human well-being {Table 18.3, Section}. Careful and explicit consideration for the ethical and equity dimensions of policies and practices associated with a climate resilient development pathway can help limit these negative externalities.

Prevailing development pathways are not advancing CRD (very high confidence). Societal choices in the near term will determine future pathways. Some low-emissions pathways and climate outcomes are unlikely 2 to be realised (very high confidence). Rapid climate change is affecting every region across the globe and affecting natural and human systems relevant to the pursuit of the SDGs {Sections 18.1, 18.2, Figure 18.1}. Even the most ambitious greenhouse gas mitigation scenarios indicate climate change will continue for decades to centuries {WGI, Section 18.2 }. Increasing mitigation effort across multiple sectors exhibits opportunities for synergies with sustainable development, but also trade-offs that increase with mitigation efforts, that need to be balanced and managed (high confidence). The uncertainty associated with achieving specific pathways and climate outcomes is a risk factor to consider in planning, with plausibility and transformational challenges, as well as trade-offs and synergies, affected by technology, policy design and societal choices {Section 18.2}. For instance, restrictions on utilisation of individual mitigation options to manage trade-offs (e.g., bioenergy with carbon capture and storage [CCS], afforestation, nuclear power) can also affect the mitigation cost to households (e.g., energy security, commodity prices) and the likelihood of a desired climate outcome being realised. Developing and transitional economies are estimated as low-cost mitigation opportunities but are often at high risk from climate change due to their regional and development context (high confidence) {Sections 18.2, 18.5}. For example, in Africa, competing uses for water such as hydropower generation, irrigation and ecosystem requirements can create trade-offs among different management and development objectives {Section 9.7.3}. In Asia, intensive irrigation and other forms of water consumption can have a negative effect on water quality and aquatic ecosystems {Section 10.6.3}. Developed countries also face trade-offs, including in Australasia where adapting to fire risk in peri-urban zones introduces potential trade-offs among ecological values and fuel reduction in treed landscapes {Section 11.3.5}, and in North America where new coastal and alpine developments generate economic activity but enhance local social inequalities {Section 15.4.10}.

Systems transitions can enable CRD when accompanied by appropriate enabling conditions and inclusive arenas of engagement (very high confidence). Five systems transitions are considered: energy, industry, urban and infrastructure, land and ecosystems, and societal. Advancing CRD in specific contexts may necessitate simultaneous progress on all five transitions. Collectively, these system transitions can widen the solution space, and accelerate and deepen the implementation of sustainable development, adaptation, and mitigation actions by equipping actors and decision makers with more effective options. For example, urban ecological infrastructure linked to an appropriate land use mix, street connectivity, open and green spaces, and job-housing proximity provides adaptation and mitigation benefits that can aid urban transformation. {Table 18.4, Cross-Working Group Box URBAN in Chapter 6} These system transitions are necessary precursors for more fundamental climate and sustainable-development transformations; but can simultaneously be outcomes of transformative actions. However, the way they are pursued may not necessarily be perceived as ethical or desirable to all actors. Hence, enhancing equity and agency are cross-cutting considerations for all five transitions. Such transitions can generate benefits across different sectors and regions, provided they are facilitated by appropriate enabling conditions, including effective governance, policy implementation, innovation, and climate and development finance, which are currently insufficient {Sections 18.3, 18.4}.

There is a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to implement system transitions needed to enable CRD. Past choices have already eliminated some development pathways, but other pathways for CRD remain (very high confidence). In spite of a growth in national net-zero commitments, the current prospects of surpassing 1.5°C global mean temperatures by the 2030s are high {WGI Table SPM1}. There is strong evidence of the worsening of multiple climate impact drivers in all regions, that will place additional pressures on ecosystem services that support food and water systems, increasing the risks of malnutrition, ill-health and poverty in many regions {WGI Fig SPM9, Table 18.4}. This implies that significant additional adaptation will be needed. Over the near-term, implementing such transformational change could be disruptive to various economic and social systems. Over the long-term, however, they could generate benefits to human well-being and planetary health. Strengthening coordinated adaptation and mitigation actions can enhance the potential of local and regional development pathways to support CRD. Planning for CRD can support both adaptation and decarbonisation via effective land use, promoting resilient and low-carbon infrastructure; protecting biodiversity and integrating ecosystem services {Table 18.4}, assuming advancing just and equitable development processes.

Prospects for transformation towards CRD increase when key governance actors work together in inclusive and constructive ways to create a set of appropriate enabling conditions {Section 18.4.2} (high confidence). These enabling conditions include effective governance and information flow, policy frameworks that incentivise sustainability solutions; adequate financing for adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development; institutional capacity; science, technology and innovation; monitoring and evaluation of climate resilient development policies, programmes and practices; and international cooperation. Investment in social and technological innovation could generate the knowledge and entrepreneurship needed to catalyse system transitions and their transfer. The implementation of policies that incentivise the deployment of low-carbon technologies and practices within specific sectors such as energy, buildings and agriculture could accelerate greenhouse gas mitigation and deployment of climate-resilient infrastructure in urban and rural areas. Civic engagement is an important element of building societal consensus and reducing barriers to action on adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development {Section 18.4}.

CRDPs are determined through engagement in different arenas, the degree to which the emergent pathways foster just and CRD depends on how contending societal interests, values and worldviews are reconciled through inclusive and participatory interactions between governance actors in these arenas of engagement {Section 18.4.3} (high confidence). These interactions occur in many different arenas (e.g., governmental, economic and financial, political, knowledge, science and technology, and community) that represent the settings, places and spaces in which societal actors interact to influence the nature and course of development. For instance, the Agenda 2030 highlights the importance of multi-level adaptation governance, including non-state actors from civil society and the private sector. This implies the need for wider arenas and modes of engagement around adaptation that facilitate coordination, convergence and productive contestation among these diverse actors to collectively solve problems and to unlock the synergies between adaptation and mitigation and sustainable development.

Regional and national differences mean different capacities for pursuing CRDPs. Economic sectors and global regions are exposed to different opportunities and challenges in facilitating CRD, suggesting adaptation and mitigation options should be aligned to local and regional context and development pathways (veryhigh confidence). Given their current state of development, some regions may prioritise poverty and inequality reduction, and economic development over the near-term as a means of building capacity for climate action and low-carbon development over the long-term. For example, Africa, South Asia, and Central and South America are highly exposed, vulnerable and impacted by climate change, which is amplified by poverty, population growth, land use change and high dependence on natural resources for commodity production. In contrast, developed economies with mature economies and high levels of resilience may prioritise climate action to transition their energy systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some interventions may be robust in that they are relevant to a broad range of potential development trajectories and could be deployed in a flexible manner. For example, conservation of land and water could be achieved through a variety of means and offer benefits to populations in the Global North and South alike. However, other types of interventions, such as those that are dependent upon emerging technologies, may require a specific set of enhanced enabling conditions or factors including infrastructure, supply chains, international cooperation, and education and training that currently limit their implementation to certain settings {Section 18.5}. Notwithstanding national and regional differences, development practices that are aligned to people, prosperity, partnerships, peace and the planet, as defined in Agenda 2030, could enable more CRD {Figure 18.1}.

People, acting through enabling social, economic and political institutions are the agents of system and societal transformations that facilitate CRD founded on the principles of inclusion, equity, climate justice, ecosystem health and human well-being (veryhigh confidence). While much literature on climate action has focused on the role of technology and policy as the factors that drive change, recent literature has focused on the role of specific actors; citizens, civil society, knowledge institutions (including local and Indigenous Peoples and science), governments, investors and businesses. Greater attention to, and transparency of, which actors’ benefit, fail to benefit or are impacted by mitigation and adaptation choices actions could better support climate-resilient and sustainable development. For example, grounding adaptation actions in local realities could help to ensure that adaptive actions do not worsen existing gender and other inequities within society (e.g., leading to maladaptation practices) (high confidence). Differences in the ability of different actors to effect change ultimately influence which interventions for sustainable development or climate action are implemented and thus what development outcomes are achieved. Recent literature has focused on the social, political and economic arenas of engagement in which these different actors interact. More focused attention on these arenas of engagement could prove beneficial to reconciling divergent views on climate action, integrating Indigenous knowledge and local knowledges, and elevating diverse voices that have historically been marginalised from the policy discourse, thereby reducing vulnerability and deepening adaptive capacity and the ability to implement CRD {Section 18.4; Cross-Chapter Box GENDER; Cross-Chapter Box INDIG}.

Pursuing CRD involves considering a broader range of sustainable development priorities, policies and practices, as well as enabling societal choices to accelerate and deepen their implementation (very high confidence). Scientific assessments of climate change have traditionally framed solutions around the implementation of specific adaptation and mitigation options as mechanisms for reducing climate-related risks. They have given less attention to a fuller set of societal priorities and the role of non-climate policies, social norms, lifestyles, power relationships and worldviews in enabling climate action and sustainable development. Because CRD involves different actors pursuing plural development trajectories in diverse contexts, the pursuit of solutions that are equitable for all requires opening the space for engagement and action to a diversity of people, institutions, forms of knowledge and worldviews. Through inclusive modes of engagement that enhance knowledge sharing and realise the productive potential of diverse perspectives and worldviews, societies could alter institutional structures and arrangements, development processes, choices and actions that have precipitated dangerous climate change, constrained the achievement of SDGs and, thus, limited pathways to achieving CRD {Box 18.1, Section 18.4 }. Action over the next decade will be critical for charting CRD pathways that catalyse the transformation of prevailing development practices and offer the greatest promise and potential for human well-being and planetary health.

18.1 Ways Forward for Climate Resilient Development

The links between climate change and development have been long recognized by various research communities (Nagoda, 2015; Winkler et al., 2015; Webber, 2016; Carr, 2019) and have been assessed by Working Group II in every IPCC Assessment Report since AR3 (Smit et al., 2001; Yohe et al., 2007; Denton et al., 2014). For the AR 1-3 reports, these links were largely framed in the context of sustainable development, a concept that has been well described in the literature for decades (Brundtland, 1987). The AR5 introduced the framing of climate-resilient pathways, which narrowed the discussion around sustainable development to specifically address the contributions of mitigation and adaptation actions to the reduction of risk to development and the various institutions, strategies and choices involved in risk management (Denton et al., 2014). That assessment concluded that identifying and implementing appropriate technical and governance options for mitigation and adaptation as well as development strategies and choices that contribute to climate resilience are central to the successful implementation of such strategies. The AR5 also recognised that transformation of current development pathways in terms of wider political, economic and social systems may be necessary (Denton et al., 2014).

The literature presenting research findings on climate resilient development (CRD) and pathways and processes for successfully achieving CRD has expanded significantly in the several years since the AR5 (very high confidence). This includes both qualitative studies of development as well as illustrative, quantitative analyses of development trajectories linked to specific scenarios, such as the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) (Section 18.2.2). Furthermore, the literature describing the role of system transitions and societal transformation in enabling climate action (Box 18.1, Section 18.3), compliance with the Paris Agreement (Sections 18.1.3, 18.2.1) and achievement of the SDGs (Section 18.1.3; Box 18.4) has expanded significantly (very high confidence). This expansion is comprised of studies spanning a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, some of which have been underrepresented in prior IPCC assessments (high agreement , limited evidence) (Minx et al., 2017; Pearce et al., 2018b).

This chapter therefore focuses on assessing this more recent literature and the diverse scientific understandings of CRD and the pathways for pursuing it. Notably, this chapter takes off where Chapters 16 and 17 end: recognising the decision-making context to address the representative key risks and their intersections with development, among others. This chapter therefore highlights not only how climate risk undermines CRD, but also how current patterns of development contribute to climate risk, both generally and in different sectoral and regional contexts. In particular, this chapter focuses on achieving CRD through systems transitions, discussing these in relation to societal transformation, and how different actors engage one another in order to pursue policy and practice consistent with CRD.

18.1.1 Understanding Climate Resilient Development

Past IPCC Assessment Reports have consistently examined extensive literature on the links between climate change, adaptation and sustainable development (Smit et al., 2001; Klein et al., 2007; Yohe et al., 2007). However, studies that explicitly refer to CRD as a concept or a guide for policy and practice remain modest (very high confidence). The concept of CRD appeared in scholarly literature and development program documents over a decade ago (Kamal Uddin et al., 2006; Garg and Halsnæs, 2007) and has been used in more recent IPCC assessment reports and special reports (e.g., Denton et al., 2014; Roy et al., 2018). Similarly, the use of the term climate resilient development pathways (CRDPs) dates to 2009 (Ayers and Huq, 2009), but its use accelerated after appearing in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) publications around the launch of the Green Climate Fund (UNFCCC, 2011). While this chapter prioritises the CRD literature, it also recognises that a broad range of literature, disciplinary expertise and development practice is relevant to the concept of CRD.

Much of this literature is assessed in recent IPCC Special Reports (Rogelj et al., 2018; Roy et al., 2018; Bindoff et al., 2019; Hurlbert et al., 2019; Oppenheimer et al., 2019), but new studies have continued to emerge. More specific uses of CRD found in the literature describe development that seeks to achieve poverty reduction and adaptation to climate change simultaneously without explicit mention of mitigation (USAID, 2014), as well as mitigation and poverty reduction, described as ‘low-carbon development’, without explicit mention of adaptation (Alam et al., 2011; Fankhauser and McDermott, 2016). Other similar terms include ‘climate safe’, ‘climate compatible’ and ‘climate smart’ development (Huxham et al., 2015; Kim et al., 2017b; Ficklin et al., 2018; Mcleod et al., 2018), each with varying nuances. Climate compatible development, coined by Mitchell and Maxwell (2010), specifically describes a ‘triple win’ of adaptation, mitigation and development (Antwi-Agyei et al., 2017; Favretto et al., 2018) (see also Section 8.6). In this spirit, AR5 specifically referred to CRD as ‘development trajectories that combine adaptation and mitigation to realize the goal of sustainable development ’ (Denton et al., 2014). This chapter builds on the AR5 and, for the purposes of assessment, formally defines CRD as a process of implementing greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation measures to support sustainable development for all. This extension of the earlier definition reflects the emphasis in recent literature on equity as a core element of sustainable development as well as the objective of the SDGs to ‘create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities’ (United Nations, 2015: 3/35).

Past, present and future concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are the direct result of both natural and anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions which are, in turn, a function of past and current patterns of human and economic development (very high confidence, WGI SPM [IPCC, 2021b ]). This includes development processes that drive land use change, extractive industries, manufacturing and trade, energy production, food production, infrastructure development and transportation. These patterns of development are therefore drivers of current and future climate risk to specific sectors, regions and populations (Byers et al., 2018), as well as the demand for both mitigation and adaptation as a means of preventing climate change from undermining development goals. The SDGs represent targets for supporting human and ecological well-being in a sustainable manner. Yet, while progress is being made towards a number of the SDGs, success in achieving all of the SDGs by 2030 across all global regions remains uncertain (high agreement , medium evidence) (United Nations, 2021 ). Moreover, current commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not yet consistent with limiting changes in global mean temperature elevation to well-below 2°C or 1.5°C (very high confidence) (IPCC, 2018a) (see also Section 18.2).

Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are just one of a number of planetary boundaries which define safe operating spaces for humanity and therefore opportunities for achieving sustainable and CRD. Exceeding these boundaries poses increased risk of large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes that would threaten human and ecological well-being (very high confidence) (Rockström et al., 2009a; Rockström et al., 2009b; Butler, 2017; Schleussner et al., 2021). Other planetary boundaries reported in the literature such as biodiversity loss, changes in land systems and freshwater use are also directly influenced by patterns of development as well as climate change (Sections 18.2, 18.5). Current rates of species extinction, conversion of land for crop production and exploitation of water resources exceed planetary boundaries, thereby undermining CRD. Moreover, studies indicate that achievement of the SDGs, while consistent with maintaining some planetary boundaries, could undermine others (O’Neill et al., 2018; Hickel, 2019; Randers et al., 2019) (Section 18.2), suggesting significant shifts in current patterns of development are necessary to maintain development within planetary boundaries.

Exceedance of planetary boundaries contributes to human and ecological vulnerability to climate change and other shocks and stressors. People and regions that already face high rates of natural resource use, ecosystem degradation and poverty are more vulnerable to climate change impacts, compounding existing development challenges in regions that are already strained (IPCC, 2014a; Hallegatte et al., 2019). The International Monetary Fund, for example, found that for a medium- and low-income developing country with an annual average temperature of 25°C, the effect of a 1°C increase in temperature is a reduction in economic growth by 1.2% (Acevedo et al., 2018). Countries whose economies are projected to be hard hit by an increase in temperature account for only about 20% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, but are home to nearly 60% of the global population. This is expected to rise to more than 75% by the end of the century. These economic impacts are a function of the underlying vulnerability of low- and middle-income developing economies to the impacts of climate change (Section 18.5). Such vulnerability was also evidenced and enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic which slowed progress on the SDGs in multiple nations (Naidoo and Fisher, 2020; Srivastava et al., 2020; Bherwani et al., 2021).

18.1.2 Pathways for Climate Resilient Development

One approach for operationalising the concept of CRD in a decision making context is to link the concept of CRD to that of pathways (Figure 18.1). A pathway can be defined as a trajectory in time, reflecting a particular sequence of actions and consequences against a background of autonomous developments, leading to a specific future situation (Haasnoot et al., 2013; Bourgeois, 2015). As such, a pathway represents changes over time in response to policies and practices, as well spontaneous and exogenous events. For example, the SR1.5 report suggested that CRD pathways are ‘a conceptual and aspirational idea for steering societies towards low-carbon, prosperous and ecologically safe futures’ (Roy et al., 2018: 468), and a way to highlight the complexity of decision making processes at different levels. Here, consistent with the aforementioned definition of CRD, we define CRD pathways as development trajectories that successfully integrate mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development .

Figure 18.1 | Climate Resilient Development Pathways are development trajectories that successfully integrate GHG mitigation and adaptation efforts to support sustainable development for all.

(a) Climate resilient development is a process that takes place through continuous societal choices towards higher CRD (illustrative green pathways) or lower CRD (illustrative red pathways).

(b) CRD is described by five development dimensions – people, prosperity, partnership, peace, planet – on which the SDGs build (18.2).

Some societal choices have mixed outcomes for CRD (illustrative orange pathways). This figure builds on figure SPM.9 in AR5 WGII depicting climate resilient pathways by describing how CRDPs emerge from societal choices about adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development within multiple arenas – rather than solely from discrete decision points (18.4). Dimensions of CRD characterize both development outcomes as well as the interactions and societal choices that make up the development process. Societal choices, often contested, are made in arenas of engagement through interactions between key actors in civil society, the private sector and government (see Figure 18.2). The quality of interactions, such as degree of inclusion and empowerment of diverse voices, determine whether societal choices and associated actions shift development towards or away from CRD. The five CRD dimensions underline the close interconnectedness between the biosphere and humans, the two necessarily intertwined in interactions, actions, transitions, and futures (see Figure 18.3). There is a narrow and closing window of opportunity to make transformational changes to move towards and not away from development futures that are more climate-resilient and sustainable (Box 18.1). Pathways not taken (dotted line) illustrate that opportunities have been missed for higher CRD pathways due to past societal choices and increasing temperatures. Present societal choices determine whether we shift towards higher CRD in future or whether pathways will be limited to lower CRD.

As illustrated in Figure 18.1, the ultimate aim of CRDPs is to support sustainable development for ensuring planetary health and human well-being. CRD is both an outcome at a point in space and time, as observed through SDG achievement indicators, but also a process consisting of actions and social choices made by multiple actors—government, industry, media, civil society, and science (Section 18.4). These actions and social choices are performed within different dimensions of governance—politics, institutions (norms, rules), and practice, and bounded by ethics, values and worldviews. The development outcomes and processes pertain to political, economic, ecological, socio-cultural, knowledge-technology and community arenas (Figure 18.2). A CRDP will, for example, aspire to achieve ecological outcomes in terms of planetary health and achievement of Paris Agreement goals as well as human well-being, solidarity and social justice, in addition to political, economic and science–technology outcomes. These outcomes are enabled by achieving progress in core system transitions that catalyse broader societal transformations (Figure 18.3).

Figure 18.3 | Transformative actions and system transitions characterize Climate Resilient Development Pathways

(a) Societal choices that generate fragmented climate action or inaction and unsustainable development perpetuate business as usual and entrenched systems.

(b) Societal choices that support CRD involve transformative adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development actions that drive five systems transitions (energy, land and other ecosystems, urban and infrastructure, industrial and societal). There is close interdependence between these systems. The system transition framework allows for a comprehensive assessment of the synergies and trade-offs between mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development. For example, land and water use in one system impacts the other systems and their surrounding ecosystems, thus reflecting how agricultural practices can have an impact on energy usage in urban centers. Finally, societal system transitions within each of the other systems enable the transitions to occur (18.3, Box 18.1).

Figure 18.2 | Societal choices made in arenas of engagement shape actions and systems. The settings, places and spaces in which key actors from government, civil society and the private sector interact to influence the nature and course of development can be called arenas of engagement, including political, economic, socio-cultural, ecological, knowledge-technology and community arenas (18.4) For instance, political arenas include formal political settings such as voting procedures to elect local representatives as well as less formal and transparent political arenas. Streets, town squares and post-disaster landscapes can become sites of interaction and political struggle as citizens strive to have their voices heard. Arenas of engagement can take the form of “struggle arenas” – in which power and influence are used to include/exclude, set agendas, and make and implement decisions – with inevitable winners and losers. The quality of interactions in these arenas leads to development outcomes that can be characterized as CRD dimensions that underpin the SDGs – people, prosperity, partnership, peace, planet (see Figure 18.1).

(a) Interactions characterized by inequitable relations and domination of some actors over others may lead to societal choices away from CRD, including mitigation and adaptation actions that exacerbate vulnerability among marginalized groups.

(b) Prospects for moving towards CRD increase when governance actors work together constructively in these different arenas. Interactions and actions that are inclusive and synchronous, as opposed to fragmented or contradictory, enable system transitions and transformational change towards CRD (see Figure 18.3). Most societal choices and associated decisions are characterized by a mix of the dimensions shown in (a) and (b), with mixed outcomes for CRD.

(c) Arenas exist across scales from the local to national level, and beyond. Community arenas of engagement constitute the many interactions between governance actors and the political, economic, socio-cultural, ecological, knowledge-technology arenas, reflecting emergent societal choices across scales. Together, the decisions made by multiple actors within and across these arenas of engagement form societal choices. Unlocking the potential of these societal choices and associated mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development actions is central to advancing human well-being and planetary health.

While there are many possible successful pathways to future development in the context of climate change, history has shown that pathways that are positive for the vast majority often induce notable impacts and costs, especially on marginal and vulnerable people (Hickel, 2017; Ramalho, 2019), placing them in direct contradiction with the commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ (United Nations, 2015). Similarly, contemporary scenario analyses find that there are plausible development trajectories that lead towards sustainability (Figure 18.1, Section 18.2.2). Yet, a number of plausible trajectories that perpetuate or exacerbate unstainable forms of development also appear in the literature (Figure 18.1, Section 18.2.2). A significant challenge lies in identifying pathways that address current climate variability and change, while allowing for improvements in human well-being. Furthermore, while a given pathway might lead to a set of desired outcomes for one region or set of actors, the process of getting there may come at high environmental, socio- and economic cost to others (very high confidence) (Raworth, 2017; Faist, 2018). Frequently, considerations of social difference and equity are not prioritised in the evaluation of different development choices. The assumption that a growing economy lifts opportunity for all could, for example, further marginalise those who are the most vulnerable to climate change (Matin et al., 2018; Diffenbaugh and Burke, 2019; Hickel et al., 2021).

Placing pathways and climate actions within development processes implies a broadening of enablers to include the ethical–political quality of socio-environmental processes that are required to shift such processes in directions that support CRD and the pursuit of sustainability outcomes. This chapter therefore departs from the AR5s alignment of CRD with adaptation pathways and the emphasis on decision points that enable one to manage (or fail to manage) climate risk, towards a framing that integrates a range of possible futures each offering different opportunities, risks and trade-offs to different actors and stakeholders (see WGII AR5, IPCC, 2014b, Figure SPM.9). Instead, CRD emerges from everyday formal and informal decisions, actions, and adaptation or mitigation policy interventions. This is inclusive of system transitions, increased resilience, environmental integrity, social justice, equity, and reduced poverty and vulnerability, all facets of human well-being and planetary health. Rather than encompassing a formula or blueprint for particular actions, sustainable development is a process that provides a compass for the direction that these multiple actions should take (Anders, 2016). This creates opportunities for actors to apply a diverse toolkit of adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development interventions, thereby opening up the solution space.

This understanding of CRD implies that different actors—governments, businesses and civic organisations—will have to design and navigate their own CRD pathways towards climate-resilient and sustainable development. This includes determining the appropriate balance of adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development actions and investments that are consistent with individual actors’ development circumstances and goals, while also ensuring that the collective actions remain consistent with global agreements and goals (such as the SDGs, Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement; Section 18.1.3), planetary boundaries and other principles of CRD including social justice and equity (Roy et al., 2018). Empowering individual actors to pursue CRD in a context-specific manner while coordinating action among actors and a diversity of scales, local to global, is a key challenge associated with achieving CRD (high agreement , limited evidence).

18.1.3 Policy Context for Climate Resilient Development

As reflected in Chapter 1 of the AR6 WGII report, CRD is emerging as one of the guiding principles for climate policy, both at the international level (Denton et al., 2014; Segger, 2016), as reflected in the Paris Agreement (Article 2, UNFCCC, 2015), and within specific countries (Simonet and Jobbins, 2016; Kim et al., 2017b; Vincent and Colenbrander, 2018; Yalew, 2020). This framing of development recognises the risks posed by climate change to development objectives (Section 18.2; see also Chapter 16); the opportunities, constraints and limits associated with reducing risk through adaptation; synergies and trade-offs between mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development (Sections 18.2.5, 18.5, Box 18.4); and the role of system transitions in enabling large-scale transformations that limit future global warming to less than 1.5°C, while boosting resilience (IPCC, 2018a) (Section 18.3, Box 18.1).

Since the AR5, the volume of research at the nexus of climate action and sustainable development has changed markedly (very high confidence). A rapidly growing, multi-disciplinary literature has emerged on CRD (Mitchell et al., 2015; Clapp and Sillmann, 2019; Hardoy et al., 2019; Yalew, 2020) and associated pathways (Naess et al., 2015; Winkler and Dubash, 2016; Brechin and Espinoza, 2017; Solecki et al., 2017; Ellis and Tschakert, 2019) (Section 18.2.2). Nevertheless, the concept of resilience generally, and CRD specifically, has come under increasing criticism in recent years (very high confidence) (Joakim et al., 2015; Schlosberg et al., 2017; Mikulewicz, 2018; Mikulewicz, 2019; Moser et al., 2019), suggesting the need to enhance understanding of how resilience is being operationalised at the programme and project level and the net implications for human and ecological well-being.

This expansion of research has been accompanied by a shift in the policy context for climate action including an increasingly strong link between climate actions and sustainable development. In particular, the SDGs represent a near-term framework linking sustainability and human development in a manner that not only addresses planetary health and human well-being, but also help better plan and implement mitigation and adaptation actions to achieve these linked goals (Conway et al., 2015; Griscom et al., 2017; Allen et al., 2018b; Roy et al., 2018; P.R. Shukla E. Calvo Buendia, 2019). The SDGs explicitly identify climate action (SDG 13) among the goals needed to achieve sustainable development. Meanwhile, the text of the Paris Agreement makes explicit mention of the importance of considering climate ‘in the context of sustainable development’ (Articles 2, 4, 6) or as ‘contributing to sustainable development’ (Article 7) (Article 7, UNFCCC, 2015). Similarly, sustainable development appears prominently within the text of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR, 2015) and the Global Assessment Reports on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR, 2019). At the local- or household-level, a growing literature recognises that climate impacts tend to exacerbate existing inequalities within societies, even at the level of gender inequalities within households (Sultana, 2010; Arora-Jonsson, 2011; Carr, 2013). Thus, climate change impacts threaten even short-term gains in sustainable development (18.2, Box 18.4), which could be rolled back over longer adaptation and mitigation horizons. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have reversed gains over the past several years in terms of global poverty reduction (very high confidence) (Phillips et al., 2020; Sultana, 2021; Wilhelmi et al., 2021) (Cross-Chapter Box COVID in Chapter 7), reflecting the risks posed by global, systemic threats to development.

The WGII AR5 Report noted that adapting to the risks associated with climate change becomes more challenging at higher levels of global warming (IPCC, 2014a). This was evidenced by contrasting impacts and adaptive capacity for 2°C and 4°C of warming. This relationship between levels of warming, climate risk and reasons for concern (see Chapter 16) is also relevant to the concept of CRD. For example, recent literature on CRD emphasises the urgency of climate action that achieve significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the implementation of adaptation options that result in significant gains in human and natural system resilience (very high confidence) (Haines et al., 2017; Shindell et al., 2017; Xu and Ramanathan, 2017; Fuso Nerini et al., 2018). This was explored extensively in the IPCC’s SR1.5 report in its comparison of impacts associated with 1.5°C versus 2°C climate objectives and synergies and trade-offs with the SDGs (IPCC, 2018a). However, the SR1.5 report and other literature also identified potential trade-offs between aggressive mitigation and the SDGs (see also Frank et al., 2017; Hasegawa et al., 2018). This indicates that while future magnitudes of warming are a fundamental consideration in CRD, such development involves more than just achieving temperature targets. Rather, CRD considers the possible transitions that enable those targets to be achieved, including the evaluation of different adaptation and mitigation options and how the implementation of these strategies interacts with broader sustainable development efforts and goals. This interdependence between patterns of development, climate risk and the demand for mitigation and adaptation action is fundamental to the concept of CRD (Fankhauser and McDermott, 2016). Therefore, climate change and sustainable development cannot be assessed or planned in isolation of one another.

18.1.4 Assessing Climate Resilient Development

In operationalising the aforementioned definitions of CRD and CRDP, this chapter builds its assessment around five core elements that provide insights relevant to policymakers actively pursuing the integration of climate resilience into development. First, as noted above, climate change poses a potential risk to the achievement of development goals, including global goals such as the SDGs, as well as nationally or locally specific goals. Accordingly, Chapter 16’s discussion of key risks, their implications for the SDGs and the options for risk management are fundamental to the pursuit of CRD. This includes the opportunities for implementing adaptation, mitigation or other risk management options. Yet the management of climate risk must be accompanied by interventions that address social and ecological vulnerabilities that enhance climate risk.

Second, CRD is dependent on achieving transitions in key systems including energy, land and ecosystem, urban and infrastructure, and industrial systems (very high confidence) (Box 18.1, Figure 18.3). In this context, CRD links to the discussion of system transitions in the SR1.5 report (IPCC, 2018b; IPCC, 2018a). However, in building on the SR1.5, here the assessment of CRD also recognises the importance of transitions in societal systems that drive innovation, preferences for alternative patterns of consumption and development, and the power relationships among different actors that engage in CRD. In particular, the rate at which actors can achieve system transitions has important implications for the pursuit of CRD. Transitions that are slow to evolve or that are more incremental in nature may not be sufficient to enable CRD in comparison with faster transitions that contribute to more fundamental system transformations.

Third, equity and social justice are consistently identified in the literature as being central to CRD (very high confidence; Sections 18.1.1,, 18.4, 18.5). This includes designing and implementing adaptation, resilience and climate risk management options in a manner that promotes equity in the allocation of the costs and benefits of those options. Similarly, the literature on CRD emphasises equity should be pursued in the implementation of options for greenhouse gas mitigation, transitions in energy systems and low-carbon development. This emphasis on equity is consistent with the SDGs which place an emphasis on reducing inequality and achieving sustainable development for all.

Fourth, success in CRD and alignment of development interventions to CRDPs is contingent on the presence of multiple enabling conditions (very high confidence, Section 18.4.2), that operate at different scales ranging from those that provide capacity to implement specific adaptation options to those that enable large-scale transformational change (Box 18.1). The qualities that describe sustainable development processes (e.g., social justice, alternative development models, equity and solidarity, as described above and in Figure 18.1) lead to short-term outcomes and conditions, such as those represented by SDGs, that in an iterative fashion enable or constraint subsequent efforts towards CRD. For example, success or failure in achieving the SDGs or the Paris Agreement would shape future efforts in pursuit of CRD and the options available to different actors.

Fifth, CRD involves processes involving diverse actors, at different scales operating within an environmental, developmental, socioeconomic, cultural and political context, as typified in the SDG and the Paris Agreement negotiations (very high confidence) (Kamau et al., 2018) (Section 18.4). The dependence of CRD on processes of negotiation and reconciliation among diverse actors and interests leads to the dismissal of the notion that there is a single, optimal pathway that captures the objectives, values and development contexts of all actors, even for a particular sector, country or region. Rather, preferences for different pathways and specific actions in pursuit of those pathways will be subjected to intense scrutiny and debate among diverse actors within various arenas of engagement (Section 18.4), meaning the settings, places and spaces in which key actors from government, civil society and the private sector interact to influence the nature and course of development.

18.1.5 Chapter Roadmap

This chapter engages with understanding CRD and the pathways to achieving it by building on the concepts introduced in Chapter 1 of this Working Group II report, as well as the regional and sectoral context presented in other chapters (Section 18.5). Notably, this chapter takes off where Chapters 16 and 17 end: recognising the significance of the representative key risks for CRD and the decision making context of different actors who are implementing policies and practices to pursue different CRD pathways and manage climate risk. Therefore, this chapter assesses options for pursuing CRD and the broader system transitions and enabling conditions in support of CRD.

This chapter hosts three Cross-Chapter Boxes, which have their natural home here. The Cross-Chapter Box on Gender, Justice and Transformative Pathways (Cross-Chapter Box GENDER) assesses literature specifically on gender and climate change to uncover the importance of a justice focus to facilitate transformative pathways, both towards CRD, as well as a means to achieving gender equity and social justice. The Cross-Chapter Box on The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Understanding and Adapting to Climate Change (Cross-Chapter Box INDIG) highlights that achieving CRD requires confronting the uncertainty of a climate change future. There are many perspectives about what future is desired and how to reach it. Integrating multiple forms of knowledge is a strategy to build resilience and develop institutional arrangements that provide temporary solutions able to satisfy competing interests (Grove, 2018). Indigenous knowledge is proven to enhance resilience in multiple contexts (e.g., Chowdhooree, 2019; Inaotombi and Mahanta, 2019). Meanwhile, Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB acts as an appendix to the WGII report, synthesising information on the feasibility associated with different adaptation options for reducing risk.

In assessing the opportunities and constraints associated with the pursuit of sustainable development, this chapter proceeds in Section 18.2 to assess the links between sustainable development and climate action, including examination of current patterns of development and consideration for synergies and trade-offs among different strategies and options. Then, in Section 18.3, the chapter assesses five systems transitions to identify the shifts in development that would enable CRD. Section 18.4 assesses the role of different actors in the pursuit of CRD as well as the public and private arenas in which they engage. Section 18.5 synthesises CRD assessments from different WGII sectoral and regional chapters to identify commonalities and differences. The chapter concludes in Section 18.6 with a summary of key opportunities for enhancing the knowledge needed to enable different actors to pursue CRD.

Box 18.1 | Transformations in Support of Climate Resilient Development Pathways

Transformational changes in the pursuit of climate resilient development pathways (CRDPs) involve interactions between individual, collective and systems change (Figures 18.1–18.3). There are complex interconnections between transformation and transition (Feola, 2015; Hölscher et al., 2018), and they are sometimes used as synonyms in the literature (Hölscher et al., 2018). Much of the transitions literature focuses on how societal change occurs within existing political and economic systems. Transformations are often considered to involve deeper and more fundamental changes than transitions, including changes to underlying values, worldviews, ideologies, structures and power relationships (Göpel, 2016; O’Brien, 2016; Kuenkel, 2019; Waddock, 2019). Systems transitions alone are insufficient to achieve the rapid, fundamental and comprehensive changes required for humanity and planetary health in the face of climate change (high confidence). Transformative action is increasingly urgent across all sectors, systems and scales to avert dangerous climate change and meet the SDGs (Pelling et al., 2015; IPCC, 2018a; IPCC, 2021b; Shi and Moser, 2021; Vogel and O’Brien, 2021) (high confidence). The SR1.5 identified transformative change as necessary to achieve transitions within land, water and ecosystems systems; urban and infrastructural systems; energy systems; and industrial systems. This box summarises key points in the transformations literature relevant to CRD.

Transformative actions aimed at ‘deliberately and fundamentally changing systems to achieve more just and equitable outcomes’, (Shi and Moser, 2021: 2) shift pathways towards climate resilient development (CRD) (high confidence). Transformative action in the context of CRD specifically concerns leveraging change in the five dimensions of development (people, prosperity, partnership, peace, planet) that drive societal choices and climate actions towards sustainability (Section 18.2.2; Figure 18.1). Climate actions that support CRD are embedded in these dimensions of development; for example, social cohesion and equity, individual and collective agency, and democratising knowledge processes have been identified as steps to transform practices and governance systems for increased resilience (Ziervogel et al., 2016b; Nightingale et al., 2020; Colloff et al., 2021; Vogel and O’Brien, 2021) (high confidence). Transformative actions towards sustainability and increased well-being, which are dominant components of CRD, include those that explicitly redress social drivers of vulnerability, shift dominant worldviews, decolonialise knowledge systems, activate human agency, contest political arrangements, and insert a plurality of knowledges and ways of knowing (Görg et al., 2017; Fazey et al., 2018a; Brand et al., 2020; Gram-Hanssen et al., 2021; Shi and Moser, 2021). They alter the governance and political economic arrangements through which unsustainable and unjust development logics and knowledges are implemented (Patterson et al., 2017; Shi and Moser, 2021) by shifting the goals of a system or altering the mindset or paradigm from which a system arises, for example, from individualism and nature-society disconnect to solidarity and nature-society connectedness along the CRD dimensions in Figure 18.1, and connecting inner and external dimensions of sustainability (Göpel, 2016; Abson et al., 2017; Wamsler and Brink, 2018; Fischer and Riechers, 2019; Horcea-Milcu et al., 2019; Wamsler, 2019).

There is no blueprint for how transformation is generated. An expanding literature suggests that transformation takes place through diverse modalities and context-dependent actions (O’Brien, 2021). Transformation may require actions that disrupt moral or social boundaries and structures that are perpetuating unsustainable systems and pathways (Vogel and O’Brien, 2021) (high confidence). Extreme events and long-term climatic changes can trigger a realigning of practices, politics and knowledge (Carr, 2019; Schipper et al., 2020b) (high confidence). While some see opportunities for generating social and political conditions needed for CRD in such actions and events (Beck, 2015; Han, 2015; Shim, 2015; Mythen and Walklate, 2016; Domingo, 2018), this is not guaranteed. Climate shocks, when managed within socio-political systems in ways that safeguard rather than alter practices and structures, can also reinforce rather than shift the status quo (Mosberg et al., 2017; Carr, 2019; Marmot and Allen, 2020; Arifeen and Nyborg, 2021) (high confidence). Further, in the absence of equitable and inclusive decision making and planning, realignments resulting from disruptive actions and events can limit inclusiveness and lead to poor or coercive decision-making processes that undermine the equity and justice foundations of sustainable development (Orlove et al., 2020; Shi and Moser, 2021) and lead to adverse socio-environmental outcomes that generate transformations away from CRD (Vogel and O’Brien, 2021) (high confidence, see also CROSS-CHAPTER BOX 2).

Evidence for transformative actions largely exists at the community or city level. While identifying how to rapidly and equitably generate transformations at a global scale has remained elusive, there is high agreement but limited evidence from studies of ecosystem services that suggest facilitating a wide range of locally appropriate management decisions and actions can bring about positive global-scale outcomes (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). Diverse local efforts to transform towards sustainability in the face of climate change have been observed, such as community mobilisation for equitable and just adaptation actions and alternative visions of societal well-being (Shi, 2020b) and farmer-led shifts in agricultural production systems (Rosenberg, 2021). There has been an increase in transformative actions taking place through city-level resilience building aimed at shifting inequitable relations and opening up space for a plurality of actors (Rosenzweig and Solecki, 2018; Ziervogel et al., 2021) (high confidence).

Box 18.1

Prospects for transformation towards CRD increase when key governance actors work together in inclusive and constructive ways through engagement in political, knowledge-technology, ecological, economic and socio-cultural arenas (high confidence, Section 18.4.3). Yet the interactions between key governance actors involve struggles and negotiations in addition to collaborations (Kakenmaster, 2019; Muok et al., 2021). Transformative actions meet resistance by precisely the political, social, knowledge and technical systems and structures they are attempting to transform (Blythe et al., 2018; Shi and Moser, 2021) (high confidence). There is expanding evidence that many adaptation efforts have failed to be transformative, but instead entrenched inequities, exacerbated power imbalances and reinforced vulnerability among marginalised groups and that, instead, marginalised groups and future trends in vulnerability need to be placed at the centre of adaptation planning (Atteridge and Remling, 2018; Mikulewicz, 2019; Owen, 2020; Eriksen et al., 2021a; Eriksen et al., 2021b; Garschagen et al., 2021) (high confidence). Beyond the enablers, drivers or modalities, another question tackled in the literature is how to evaluate transformation by establishing criteria for transformation assessments (Ofir, 2021; Patton, 2021; Williams et al., 2021), experience-based lessons on managing transformative adaptation processes (Vermeulen et al., 2018), climate policy integration (Plank et al., 2021), investment criteria (Kasdan et al., 2021) and political economy analysis frameworks for climate governance (Price, 2021).

Box 18.2 | Visions of Climate Resilient Development in Kenya

The government of Kenya’s (GoK) ambition through Vision 2030 is to create a globally competitive and prosperous country with a high quality of life by 2030. It aims to transform Kenya into a newly-industrialising, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.

(Government of Kenya, 2008). Dryland regions in Kenya occupy 80–90% of the land mass, are home to 36% of the population (Government of Kenya, 2012) and contribute about 10% of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) (Government of Kenya, 2012), which includes half of its agricultural GDP (Kabubo-Mariara, 2009). In dryland regions, pastoralism has long been the predominant form of livelihood and subsistence (Catley et al., 2013; Nyariki and Amwata, 2019). The GoK seeks to improve connectivity and communication infrastructure within the drylands to better exploit and develop livestock, agriculture, tourism, energy and extractive sectors (Government of Kenya, 2018). It argues that the transformation of dryland regions is crucial to enhance the development outcomes for the more than 15 million people who inhabit these areas (Government of Kenya, 2016: 17) and to help the country to realise its wider national ambitions including a 10% year on year growth in GDP (Government of Kenya, 2012). A key element within this vision is the promotion and implementation of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project. The LAPSSET Corridor consists of two elements: the 500 meter wide Infrastructure Corridor where the road, railway, pipelines, power transmission and other projects will be located and the Economic Corridor of 50 km on either sides of the infrastructure corridor which will be contain other industrial investments (Enns, 2018). Supporters of the LAPSSET project argue that it will help achieve priorities laid out in the Vision 2030 by opening up poorly connected regions, enabling the development of pertinent economic sectors such as agriculture, livestock and energy, and supporting the attainment of a range of social goals made possible as the economy grows (Stein and Kalina, 2019).

However, the development narrative surrounding LAPSSET remains controversial in its assumptions, not least because it is being promoted in the context of a highly complex and dynamic social, economic and biophysical setting (Cervigni and Morris, 2016; Atsiaya et al., 2019; Chome, 2020; Lesutis, 2020). Some of the key trends driving contemporary and likely future change in dryland regions are changing household organisation, evolving customary rules and institutions at local and community levels, and shifting cultures and aspirations (Catley et al., 2013; Washington-Ottombre and Pijanowski, 2013; Tari and Pattison, 2014; Cormack, 2016; Rao, 2019). Dryland regions are also witnessing demographic growth and change in land use patterns linked to shifts in the composition of livestock (for example from grazers to browsers), a decrease in nomadic and increase in semi-nomadic pastoralism, and transition to more urban and sedentary livelihoods (Mganga et al., 2015; Cervigni et al., 2016; Greiner, 2016; Watson et al., 2016). At a landscape level, land is becoming more fragmented and enclosed, often associated with increases in subsistence and commercial agriculture and the establishment of conservancies and other group or private land holdings (Reid et al., 2014; Carabine et al., 2015; Nyberg et al., 2015; Greiner, 2016; Mosley and Watson, 2016). In addition, there are political dynamics associated with Kenya Vision 2030 and decentralisation, the influence of international capital, foreign investors and incorporation into global markets (Cormack, 2016; Kochore, 2016; Mosley and Watson, 2016; Enns and Bersaglio, 2020), as well as increasing militarisation and conflict in the drylands (Lind, 2018). Allied to these social and political dynamics are ongoing processes of habitat modification and degradation and biophysical changes linked in part to climate variability (Galvin, 2009; Mganga et al., 2015). The interconnected nature of these drivers will intersect with LAPSSET in myriad ways. For example, the implementation of LAPSSET may accentuate some trends, such as increases in land enclosure and a shift towards more urban and sedentary livelihoods (Lesutis, 2020). Conversely, the perceived threat LAPSSET could pose to pastoral lifestyles may lead to greater visibility, solidarity and strength of pastoralist institutions (Cormack, 2016).

Box 18.2

There is a recognised need to adapt and chose development pathways that are resilient to climate change while addressing key developmental challenges within dryland regions, notably, poverty, water and food insecurity, and a highly dispersed population with poor access to services (Government of Kenya, 2012; Bizikova et al., 2015; Herrero et al., 2016). The current vision for development of dryland regions comes with both opportunities and threats to achieve a more climate-resilient future. For example, the growth in and exploitation of renewable energy resources, made possible through increased connectivity, brings climate mitigation gains but also risks. These risks include the uneven distribution of costs in terms of where the industry is sited compared with where benefits primarily accrue, and may exacerbate issues around water and food insecurity as strategic areas of land become harder to access (Opiyo et al., 2016; Cormack and Kurewa, 2018; Enns, 2018; Lind, 2018). While LAPSSET will bring greater freedom of movement for commodities, benefitting investors, improving access to markets and urban centres, supporting trade or ease of movement for tourists supporting economic goals, it can also result in the relocation of people and impede access to certain locations for the resident populations. Mobility is a key adaptation behaviour employed in the short and long term to address issues linked with climatic variability (Opiyo et al., 2014; Muricho et al., 2019). With modelled changes in the climate suggesting decreases in income associated with agricultural staples and livestock-dependent livelihoods, development that constrains mobility of local populations could retard resilience gains (Ochieng et al., 2017; ASSAR, 2018; Enns, 2018; Nkemelang et al., 2018). The likely increase in urban populations and the growth in tourism and agriculture may lead to increases in water demand at a time when water availability could become more constrained owing to the reliance on surface water sources and the modelled increases in evapotranspiration due to rising mean temperature, more heatwave days and greater percentage of precipitation falling as storms (ASSAR, 2018; Nkemelang et al., 2018; USAID, 2018). These pressures could make it harder to meet basic health and sanitation goals for rural and poorer urban populations, issues compounded further by likely increases in child malnutrition and diarrheal deaths linked to climate change (WHO, 2016; ASSAR, 2018; Hirpa et al., 2018; Nkemelang et al., 2018; Lesutis, 2020). Development must pay adequate attention to these interconnections to ensure that costs and benefits of achieving climate mitigation and adaptation goals are distributed fairly within a population.

18.2 Linking Development and Climate Action

The AR5 examined the relationship between climate and sustainable development in Chapter 13 (Olsson et al., 2014) and Chapter 20 (Denton et al., 2014) in Working Group II and Chapter 4 (Fleurbaey et al., 2014) in Working Group III. It concluded that dangerous levels of climate change would limit efforts to reduce poverty (Denton et al., 2014; Fleurbaey et al., 2014). Since the AR5, the adoption of the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030 have demonstrated increased international consensus regarding the need to pursue climate change as a component of sustainable development. For example, climate change impacts ‘undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development ’ (United Nations, 2015) and can reverse or erase improvements in living conditions and decades of development (Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). However, recent analysis shows that actions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement can undermine progress towards some SDGs (high agreement , medium evidence) (Pearce et al., 2018b; Liu et al., 2019; Hegre et al., 2020) (Section Meanwhile efforts to achieve the SDGs can contribute to worsening climate change (high agreement , medium evidence) (Fuso Nerini et al., 2018). These findings in the literature highlight the importance of identifying clear goals and priorities for both climate action and sustainable development as well as mechanisms for capitalising on potential synergies between them and for managing trade-offs. In assessing literature relevant to the intersection between climate action and development, we first explore the implications of different patterns of development and development trajectories followed by more focused assessment of the links between development and climate risk.

18.2.1 Implications of Current Development Trends

Understanding the interactions between climate change, climate action and sustainable development necessitates consideration for the current development context in which different communities, nations and regions find themselves. For example, wealthy economies of the Global North will encounter different opportunities and challenges vis-à-vis climate change and sustainable development than developing economies of the Global South. Moreover, all economies are already following an existing development trajectory that has implications for the type and scale of interventions associated with pursuing CRD and managing climate risk. Some nations may experience particular challenges with reducing greenhouse gas emissions owing to the carbon-intensive nature of their energy systems (very high confidence) (Section Others may experience acute challenges with adaptation due to existing vulnerability associated with poverty and social inequality (very high confidence) (Section Overcoming such challenges is fundamental to the pursuit of CRD.

While demonstrable progress has been made towards the SDGs and improving human well-being, globally and in specific nations, some observed patterns of development are inconsistent with sustainable development and the principles of CRD (very high confidence) (van Dooren et al., 2018; Eisenmenger et al., 2020; Leal Filho et al., 2020). A significant literature, for example, links development to the loss of biodiversity and the extinction crisis (Ceballos et al., 2017; Gonçalves-Souza et al., 2020; Oke et al., 2021). Meanwhile, in human systems, indicators such as the limited convergence in income, life expectancy and other measures of well-being between poor and wealthy countries (with notable outliers such as China) (Bangura, 2019), and the increase in income inequality and the decline in life expectancy and well-being in rich countries (Rougoor and van Marrewijk, 2015; Alvaredo et al., 2017; Goda et al., 2017; Harper et al., 2017; Goldman et al., 2018), suggest limitations of the current development paradigm to successfully deliver universal human and ecological well-being by the 2030s or even mid-century (TWI, 2019).

18.2.2 Understanding Development in CRD

Development in this report is defined as efforts, both formal and informal, to improve standards of human well-being, particularly in places historically disadvantaged by colonialism and other features of early global integration. Development is not limited to the SDGs, however these represent an internationally agreed sub-set of goals. Prior IPCC reports employed development as a typological framing of the current state of a given country or population (IPCC, 2014a) (Section 1.1.4). Such framings frequently rest upon measures of economic activity, using them as proxies for the wider well-being of the population whose activity is measured. For example, the level of GDP is often equated with levels of social welfare, even though as a measure of market output, it can be an inadequate metric for gauging well-being over time, particularly in its environmental and social dimensions (Van den Bergh, 2007; Stiglitz et al., 2009).

The result of this broad framing linking economic growth to human well-being has been decades of policies, programmes and projects aimed at growing economies at scales from the household to regional and global. However, linking development to past and current modes of economic growth creates significant challenges for CRD, as it implies that the very processes that have contributed to current climate challenges, including economic growth and the resource use and energy regimes it relies upon, are also the pathways to improvements in human well-being. This places climate resilience and development in opposition to one another.

While there are many possible successful pathways to future development in the context of climate change, history shows that pathways positive for the vast majority of people typically induce significant impacts and costs, especially on marginal and vulnerable people (high confidence) (Hickel, 2017). Frequently, considerations for social difference and equity are side-lined in these processes, for example through the assumption that a growing economy lifts opportunity for all, further marginalising those who are the most vulnerable to climate change (Matin et al., 2018; Diffenbaugh and Burke, 2019).

The Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs and 169 targets seeks to ‘leave no one behind’ through five pillars (5Ps): People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership (United Nations, 2015). The five pillars align with the dimensions of development that influence motion towards or away from CRD. The focus on people refers to inclusion rather than exclusion, and the extent to which people are empowered or disempowered to make decisions about their well-being, determine their futures and be in a position to assert their rights. This means being able to make decisions that determine whether people are on a pathway towards or away from CRD (Figure 18.1–18.3). The focus on planet refers to protecting the planet, ensuring a balance of ecosystems, biodiversity and human activities, and giving equal space and respect for its integrity. The focus on prosperity refers to equity in well-being grounded in unanimity over shared goals and resources, rather than individualism, and economic, social and technological progress grounded in stewardship and care, rather than exploitation. The focus on partnership refers to mutual respect embedded in solidarity that recognises multiple worldviews and their respective knowledges, rather than singular or hierarchy of knowledge, and acknowledges inherent nature-society connections, rather than posing nature as opposites or competitors. The focus on peace emphasises the need for just and equitable societies. These five pillars are inter-related but local and national contexts situate current status differently around the world. Successful achievement of Agenda 2030 is aligned with a safe climate with adequate mitigation and adaptation, and effective and inclusive systems transitions. With these conditions, a high CRD world can be attained, noting that when approached individually, the transformative potential of the SDGs is limited (Veland et al., 2021).

The need for transformational changes across sectors and scales to address the urgency and scope of action needed to enable a climate-resilient future in which goals such as the SDGs might be realised requires attention to the specific ways in which development action is defined and enacted (Box 18.1). Development Perspectives

Development is about ‘improvement’. However there have been different and often conflicting viewpoints on the improvement of ‘what’ and ‘how’ to improve. The diversity of positions has resulted in a multitude of metrics to track development, some more influential than others on policy. Alternative measures of development, while numerous, generally seek to nuance the connection between economic growth and human well-being. Because they maintain core notions of progress and, in some cases, economic growth seen in more mainstream models of development, they are less vehicles for transformation than continuations of thinking and action fundamentally at odds with the needs of CRD. These include the Measure of Economic Welfare (Nordhaus and Tobin, 1973), the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (Cobb and Daly, 1989), the Genuine Progress Indicator (Escobar, 1995), the Adjusted Net Saving Index or the Genuine Savings Index (GSI), The Human Development Index (HDI), the Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index (UNDP, 2016a), the Gender Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, the Multidimensional Poverty Index, the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) (Daly and Cobb, 1989), the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) (Kubiszewski et al., 2013), Gross National Happiness (GNH) (Ura and Galay, 2004), Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) (Trewin and Hall, 2004), the OECD Better Life Index (OECD, 2019a) and the Happy Planet Index (NEF, 2016).

In terms of their historical trajectory, different perspectives on development can be broadly divided into five categories.

  1. Development as economic growth (1950s onwards) : Equating development with economic growth was a natural outcome of the dominance of economics as the major discipline to study problems of newly independent countries in the 1950s (Escobar, 1995), measured through GDP. Environment was not a policy concern in the immediate period after decolonisation. The GDP measure has withstood the test of time, in spite of being an inexact measure of human well-being, and is the widely used metric globally to track development. Recent improvements to GDP have tried to account for environmental factors (Gundimeda et al., 2007; United Nations, 2021 ).
  2. Development as distributional improvements (1970s onwards) : That economic growth does not automatically result in decline in poverty and improved distribution of income became apparent in the 1970s. Welfare measures were thus promoted that involved ‘redistribution with growth’ (Chenery, 1974). These distributional concerns have re-emerged in the last two decades with the widening gap between the richer and poorer groups of the population (Chancel and Piketty, 2019) and also the increased attention to ‘ecological distribution conflicts’ (Martinez-Alier, 2021). The political economy perspective, highlighting continued dependencies of countries in the Global South on the Global North, now evolved into political ecology highlighting environmental concerns between and within countries. Environment was not yet a policy priority, despite the links between development and environment becoming clearer.
  3. Development as participation (1980s onwards) : Bottom-up responses emphasising sustainable livelihoods and local-level development emerged in the 1980s. The movement, which involved independent and uncoordinated efforts by grassroots activists, social movements and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), became ‘mainstreamed’ into development in the 1990s (Chambers, 2012). The multi-dimensional nature of poverty was acknowledged at the global policy level (World Bank, 2000) and there was wider acceptance of the role of non-economics social sciences as well as critical approaches in research on development and poverty (Thomas, 2008). Participatory development involved decentralisation and local planning, emphasising protection of local natural resources in addition to improving living standards.
  4. Development as expansion of human capabilities (1980s onwards) : The human development and capabilities approach was the first formidable response to the GDP-centric view of development (Sen, 2000; Deneulin and Shahani, 2009). Studies showed that improvements in income did not necessarily improve human well-being in other dimensions such as health and education, or more broadly put, ‘freedoms’ (Ruggeri Laderchi et al., 2003). The capabilities idea was influential in global policy making through Human Development Reports and metrics such as Human Development Index (HDI) and Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). However, environmental sustainability was not a major component in this approach until much later (Alkire and Jahan, 2018). Recent improvements to HDI such as the planetary pressures-adjusted HDI (United Nations, 2020) is a step in this direction.
  5. Development as post-growth (2010 onwards) : The late 1980s saw a big push towards taking the environment to the centre of the global policy agenda (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). However, progress in addressing environmental questions has been slow. As compared with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), SDGs aim to tackle environmental concerns by explicitly tracking progress on multiple indicators. Nevertheless, the approach in these policy propositions sits largely within the economic growth framework itself. The climate change challenge and the financial crisis of 2008 led many scholars, ecological economists and environmental social scientists in particular, to argue for a post-growth world. Post-growth (Jackson, 2021), degrowth (Kallis, 2018; Hickel et al., 2021) and other environmentalist scholarship takes inspiration from critiques of development such as post-development (Escobar, 1995). The argument here is not for better metrics but for imagining and working towards systemic change in the wake of the climate crisis. The challenge however is how to account for historical differences in economic growth and living standards between the Global North and the Global South and to protect the interests of Global South in the spirit of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ to climate change adaptation and mitigation. As empirical studies in the Global South have demonstrated (Lele et al., 2018), developing countries face multiple stressors, climate change being just one among them, and there are multiple normative concerns in developing country contexts, such as equity and justice, and not merely resilience (very high confidence).

Achieving CRD requires framings of development that move away from linear paradigms of development as material progress by focusing on diversity and heterogeneity, well-being and equality, not only in contemporary practices, but also pathways of change over time (Gibson-Graham, 2005; Gibson-Graham, 2006). Such approaches, which are fundamentally aligned with ecological and ecosystem-based environmental assessments that identified heterogeneity of approaches and actions as the most effective path to a sustainable world (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005), emphasise the importance of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, not merely as alternative sources of information about the world, but as different paradigms of well-being (Kallis, 2018). These include Indigenous and local knowledge that provide alternatives to these framings of the world (Cross-Chapter Box INDIG). This broad reframing of development includes a focus on visions such as ‘buen vivir’ (Cubillo-Guevara et al., 2014; Walsh, 2018; Acosta et al., 2019), ecological Swaraj (Kothari et al., 2014; Demaria and Kothari, 2017; Shiva, 2017) and Ubuntu (Dreyer, 2015; Ewuoso and Hall, 2019), among others. All are linked by relationships with nature radically different from the Western mechanistic vision, presenting not only framings of development and the environment that yield locally appropriate CRDPs, but serve as examples of alternative ways of living in balance with nature that might inform similar thinking in other places. Complexity of Development and Climate Action

Differing perspectives on development are in part determined by the multiple diverse priorities held by different actors and nations. Another reason is that development is not a linear process with a single goal, and active development planning requires simultaneously taking multiple processes and factors into account. This is well illustrated by growing attention to climate security. The AR5 delivered conflicting messages regarding climate change and security (Gleditsch and Nordås, 2014), yet the understanding of climate-related security risks has made substantial progress in recent years (von Uexkull and Buhaug, 2021). Although there remains considerable research gaps in certain regions (Adams et al., 2018), a large body of qualitative and quantitative studies from different disciplines provides new insight into the relationship of climate change and security (Buhaug, 2015; De Juan, 2015; Brzoska and Fröhlich, 2016; Abrahams and Carr, 2017; Sakaguchi et al., 2017; Moran et al, 2018; Scheffran, 2020). Though not the only cause (Sakaguchi et al., 2017; Mach et al., 2019), climate change undermines human livelihoods and security, because it increases the populations vulnerabilities, grievances and political tensions through an array of indirect—at times nonlinear—pathways, thereby increasing human insecurity and the risk of violent conflict (van Baalen and Mobjörk, 2018; Koubi, 2019; von Uexkull and Buhaug, 2021). Indeed, context, as well as timing and spatial distribution, matter and need to be accounted for (Abrahams, 2020).

In line with this better understanding, climate change and security have been reframed in the political space, to focus more on human security. The solutions to climate-related security risks cannot be military, but are linked to development and people’s vulnerabilities in complex social and politically fragile settings (Abrahams, 2020). This has resulted in integration of climate-related security risk into institutional and national frameworks (Dellmuth et al., 2018; Scott and Ku, 2018; Aminga and Krampe, 2020), including several Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) (Jernnäs and Linnér, 2019; Remling, 2021). One example is the UN Climate Security Mechanism—set up in 2018 between UNDP, UNEP and UN DPPA to help the UN more systematically address climate-related security risks and devise prevention and management strategies. Yet work remains in bridging these concerns with practical responses on the ground (Busby, 2021). Especially since emerging research building on the maladaptation literature shows that this practice cannot just mean adding adaptation and mitigation to the mix of development strategies in a given location, as this may have unintended and unanticipated effects and might even backfire completely (Dabelko et al., 2013; Magnan et al., 2020; Mirumachi et al., 2020; Schipper, 2020; Swatuk et al., 2021). In extremely underdeveloped, fragile contexts such as Afghanistan, the local-level side effects of climate adaptation and mitigation projects might result in different development outcomes and question the potential for sustainable peace (Krampe et al., 2021). Given the clearer understanding of the intertwined nature of climate change, security and development—especially in fragile and conflict affected regions—a rethinking of how to transfer this knowledge into policy solutions is necessary for the formulation of CRD.

18.2.3 Scenarios as a Method for Representing Future Development Trajectories

Sustainable development represents specific development processes and priorities that can affect climate risk. As a result, sustainable development both shapes the context in which different actors experience climate change and represents a potential opportunity, particularly by reducing climate risk by addressing vulnerability, inequity and shifting development towards more sustainable trajectories (IPCC, 2012; Denton et al., 2014; IPCC, 2014b; IPCC, 2014a; IPCC, 2018a; IPCC, 2019b). As assessed in past IPCC special reports and assessment reports, this same literature has also illustrated how different socioeconomic conditions affect mitigation options and costs. For example, variations in future economic growth, population size and composition, technology availability and cost, energy efficiency, resource availability, demand for goods and services, and non-climate-related policies (e.g., air quality, trade), individually and collectively have all been shown to result in different climates and contexts for mitigation and adaptation.

One common approach for exploring the implications of different development trajectories is the use of scenarios of future socioeconomic conditions, such as the SSPs (O’Neill et al., 2017 ). The SSPs represent sets of future global societal assumptions based on different societal, technological and economic assumptions that result in different development trajectories. Such scenarios often correspond to a small set of scenario archetypes (Harrison et al., 2019; Sitas et al., 2019; Fergnani and Song, 2020) in that they reflect core themes regarding the future of development such as sustainability versus rapid growth. Scenarios with assumptions more closely aligned with sustainability agendas (e.g., SSP1-Sustainability) commonly imply lower greenhouse gas emissions and projected climate change (Riahi et al., 2022), lower mitigation costs for ambitious climate goals (Riahi et al., 2022), lower climate exposure due in large part to the size of society (see Chapter 16) and greater adaptive capacity (Roy et al., 2018) (see also Chapter 16). In contrast, scenarios with rapid global economic and fossil energy growth (e.g., SSP5 Fossil-Fueled Development) imply higher emissions and project climate change and higher mitigation costs, as well as greater social and economic capacity to adapt to climate change impacts (Hunt et al., 2012) (Table 18.1).

The SSPs incorporate various assumptions regarding population, GDP and greenhouse gas emissions, for example, that are relevant to development and climate resilience. In addition, the SSPs have been used to explore a broad range of development outcomes for human and ecological systems (Table 18.1), including multiple studies exploring futures for food systems, water resources, human health and income inequality. Limited, top-down modelling studies have used the SSPs to explore issues such as societal resilience (Schleussner et al., 2021) or gender equity (Andrijevic et al., 2020a). Such studies indicate that different development trajectories have different implications for future development outcomes, but results vary significantly among different climate (e.g., representative concentration pathways [RCPs]) and development contexts, resulting in limited agreement among different SSPs (Table 18.1). Nevertheless, for some outcomes, SSPs are associated with generally similar outcomes. Over the near-term (e.g., 2030), those outcomes are strongly influenced by development inertia and path dependence, reducing differences among SSPs. Outcomes diverge later in the century, but fewer studies explore futures beyond 2050. Collectively, the scenarios reflect trade-offs associated with different development trajectories (Roy et al., 2018), with some SSPs foreshadowing outcomes that are positive in some contexts, but negative in others (Table 18.1). For example, pathways that lead to poverty reduction can have synergies with food security, water, gender, terrestrial and ocean ecosystems that support climate risk management, but also poverty alleviation projects with unintended negative consequences that increase vulnerability (e.g., Ley, 2017; Ley et al., 2020).

While the scenarios literature is useful for characterising the potential climate risk implications of different global societal futures, important limitations impact their use in climate risk management planning (very high confidence). The first is the often highly geographically aggregated nature of the SSPs and other scenarios, which, in the absence of application of nesting or downscaling methods, often lack regional, national, or sub-national context, particularly regarding social and cultural determinants of vulnerability (van Ruijven et al., 2014). Furthermore, there is limited understanding of the cost and process associated with transforming from today into each assumed socioeconomic future, or the opportunity to shift from one pathway to another (Section 18.3). Furthermore, the characteristics of the pathways suggest that they are not equally likely , there are relationships implied in assumptions that are uncertainties to consider (e.g., land productivity improvements are land saving), it is difficult to identify the role of different development characteristics, and policy implementation is stylised. In general, global assessments are not designed to inform local planning, given that there are many local circumstances consistent with a global future and unique local development context and uncertainties to manage—demographic, economic, technological, cultural and policy.

Overall, pursuing sustainable development in the future is shown to have synergies and trade-offs in its relationships with every element of climate risk: the emissions and mitigation determining hazard; the size, location and composition of development determining exposure; and the adaptive capacity determining vulnerability. Importantly, the scenarios literature overall has found trade-offs such that none of the global societal projections achieve all the SDGs (very high confidence) (Roy et al., 2018) (Section Historical evidence supports this as well, for example, finding low-cost energy and food access is historically associated with higher emissions but greater adaptive capacity, and energy efficiency innovation contributing to lower emissions and greater adaptive capacity (e.g., Blanford et al., 2012; Blanco et al., 2014; Mbow et al., 2019; USEPA, 2019). The literature suggests that trade-offs in the pursuit of sustainable development are inevitable. Managing those trade-offs, as well as capitalising on the synergies, will be important for CRD, particularly given trade-offs have distributional implications that could contribute to inequities (Section

Table 18.1 | Implications of different socioeconomic development pathways for CRD indicators. Studies presented in the above table include qualitative storylines and quantitative scenarios for two or more SSPs. Arrows and colour coding reflect the positive or negative impacts on sustainability based on aggregation of results for the 2030–2050 time horizon across the identified studies. Confidence language reflects the number of studies upon which results are based (evidence) and the agreement among studies regarding the direction of change (agreement).

Development indicator

Relevant SDG

Shared Socioeconomic Pathway







Middle of the road


Regional rivalry




Fossil-fuelled development


Agriculture, food and forestry

  • Agriculture production
  • Forestry production
  • Food security
  • Hunger


Low agreement/

robust evidence

(Hasegawa et al., 2015; Palazzo et al., 2017; Riahi et al., 2017; Duku et al., 2018; Chen et al., 2019; Daigneault et al., 2019; Mitter et al., 2020; Mora et al., 2020)

Health and well-being

  • Excess mortality
  • Air quality
  • Vector-borne disease
  • Life Satisfaction


Medium agreement/robust evidence

(Chen et al., 2017; Mora et al., 2017; Aleluia Reis et al., 2018; Asefi-Najafabady et al., 2018; Chen et al., 2018; Harrington and Otto, 2018; Marsha et al., 2018; Sellers and Ebi, 2018; Ikeda and Managi, 2019; Rohat et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2019; Chae et al., 2020)

Water and sanitation

  • Water use
  • Sanitation access
  • Sewage discharge


High agreement/medium evidence

(Wada et al., 2016); (van Puijenbroek et al., 2014; Yao et al., 2017); (Mouratiadou et al., 2016; Graham et al., 2018)


  • Gini coefficient

SDG 10

Medium agreement/limited evidence

(Rao et al., 2019b; Emmerling and Tavoni, 2021; Gazzotti et al., 2021)

Ecosystems and ecosystem services

  • Aquatic resources
  • Urban expansion
  • Habitat provision
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Biodiversity

SDG 14 SDG 15

High agreement/medium evidence

(Li et al., 2017; Chen et al., 2019; Li et al., 2019b; Chen et al., 2020b; Song et al., 2020b; McManamay et al., 2021; Pinnegar et al., 2021)


Balance of studies suggest large increasing threat to sustainable development

Balance of studies suggest moderate increasing threat to sustainable development

Studies suggest both threats and benefits to sustainable development

Balance of studies suggest moderate increasing benefit to sustainable development

Balance of studies suggest large increasing benefit to sustainable development

Studies presented in the above table include qualitative storylines and quantitative scenarios for two or more SSPs. Arrows and colour coding reflect the positive or negative impacts on sustainability based on aggregation of results for the 2030–2050 time horizon across the identified studies. Confidence language reflects the number of studies upon which results are based (evidence) and the agreement among studies regarding the direction of change (agreement).

18.2.4 Climate Change Risks to Development

In the near-term, additional climate change is expected regardless of the scale of greenhouse gas mitigation efforts (IPCC, 2021a). Across the global scenarios analysed in the AR6, global average temperature changes relative to the reference period 1850–1900 range from 1.2°C to 1.9°C for the period 2021–2040 and 1.2°C to 3.0°C for the period 2041–2060 (WGI AR6 SPM [IPCC, 2021b ], very likely range). However, the feasibility of emissions pathways (particularly RCP8.5) affect the plausibility of the associated climate projections, potentially lowering the upper end of these ranges because the likelihood of the higher warming levels is a function of the likelihood of the higher emissions scenarios (Riahi et al., 2022) . There is significant overlap between climate scenario ensemble ranges from different emissions scenarios through 2050, more so than through 2100 (Lee et al., 2021). There is also overlap between emissions scenario ensembles consistent with different temperature outcomes (Riahi et al., 2022) . Emissions pathway ranges represent uncertainties for policymakers and organisations to consider and manage (Rose and Scott, 2018, 2020) regarding, among other things, economic growth and structure, available technologies, markets, behavioural dynamics, policies and non-CO2 climate forcings (Riahi et al., 2022), while climate pathway ranges represent bio-physical climate systems and carbon cycle uncertainties (Lee et al., 2021). For all climate projections and variables, there is significant regional heterogeneity and uncertainty in projected climate change (very high confidence) (IPCC, 2021a). Figure 18.4 apresents examples for average and extreme temperature precipitation change (see also Section 18.5 and Tables 18.4–18.5 for more regional detail and ranges of climate outcomes). Higher global warming levels also can affect geographic patterns of change and probability distributions of regional climate outcomes (Ahmad, 2019). Similarly, for all emissions projections, there is significant regional, sectoral and local heterogeneity and uncertainty regarding potential pathways for climate action (Lecocq et al., 2022; Riahi et al., 2022). Not all uncertainties are represented in projected emissions pathway ensembles, such as policy timing and design (e.g., Rose and Scott, 2018) or climate projection ensembles.

Figure 18.4 | Regional projected select climate change and sustainable-development-related climate impact indicators by global warming level. Sources: WGI AR6 Interactive Atlas ( and WGII Figures 3.21, 4.17, 5.19, and 6.3. The GWLs shown are multi-model means derived from Hauser et al. (2019) for the respective RCP and SSP and time periods associated with each figure.

Figure 18.4 | Regional projected select climate change and sustainable-development-related climate impact indicators by global warming level. Sources: WGI AR6 Interactive Atlas ( and WGII Figures 3.21, 4.17, 5.19, and 6.3. The GWLs shown are multi-model means derived from Hauser et al. (2019) for the respective RCP and SSP and time periods associated with each figure.

The projected ranges for near- and mid-term global average warming levels are estimated to result in increasing key risks and reasons for concern (Chapter 16). Chapter 16 developed aggregate ‘Representative Key Risks’ (RKRs) as indicators for subsets of approximately 100 sectoral and regional key risks indicators. The RKRs include risks to coastal socio-ecological systems, terrestrial and ocean ecosystems, critical physical infrastructure, networks and services, living standards and equity, human health, food security, water security, and peace and migration. The majority of these risks are directly linked to sustainable development priorities and the SDGs (Chapters 2 to 16; (Roy et al., 2018; IPCC, 2019d; IPCC, 2019b). Therefore, climate risks represent a potential additional challenge to pursuing sustainable development priorities, but also potential opportunities due to geographic variation in climate impacts. In addition, positive synergies have been found between sustainable development and adaptation, but trade-offs are also possible (e.g., Roy et al., 2018).

For all RKRs, additional global average warming is expected to increase risk. However, the increases vary significantly by RKR, and across the underlying key risks represented within each RKR. Geographic variation in key risk implications is only partially assessed in Chapter 16, but evidence can be drawn from the WGII individual regional chapters. Regionally, key risks are found to be potentially greatest in developing and transition economies (Chapter 16 and sectoral chapters), which is also where the least-cost emissions reductions globally are projected to be (Riahi et al., 2022).See Figure 18.4 for an example of key risk geographic heterogeneity (see also Section 18.5 for regional detail). Chapter 16 also maps the RKRs to an updated aggregate ‘Reasons for Concern’ (RFC) framing. Thus, increasing RKR implies increasing RFC associated with unique and threatened systems, extreme weather events, distribution of impacts, global aggregate impacts and large-scale singular events.

Climate risks are found to vary with future warming levels, the development context and trajectory, as well as by the level of investment in adaptation. Together, these three dimensions define risk—with projected climate changes defining the hazard, development defining the exposure, and development and adaptation defining vulnerability. However, how these different dimensions interact and the level of scientific understanding vary significantly among different types of risk. For human systems, in general, the poor and marginalised are found to have greater vulnerability for a given hazard and exposure level. With some level of global average warming expected regardless of mitigation efforts, human and natural systems will be exposed to new conditions, but some level of adaptation should also be expected.

18.2.5 Options for Managing Future Climate Risks to Climate Resilient Development

The pursuit of CRD requires not only the implementation of individual adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development initiatives, but also their careful coordination and integration. This section assesses the literature on CRD in the context of key climate change risks (Chapter 16); gaps in adaptation that contribute to risk; potential synergies and trade-offs among mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development; and the mechanisms for managing those trade-offs. Adaptation Adaptation and Climate Resilient Development

Given that adaptation is recognised as a key element of addressing climate risk and CRD, the capacity for adaptation implementation is an important consideration for CRD. The AR5 noted a significant overlap between indicators of sustainable development and the determinants of adaptive capacity, and suggested that adaptation presents an opportunity to reduce stresses on development processes and the socio-ecological foundations upon which they depend (Denton et al., 2014). At the same time, it also noted that building adaptive capacity for sustainable development might require transformational changes that shift impacted systems to new patterns, dynamics or places (Denton et al., 2014). Thus, adaptation interventions and pathways can further the achievement of development goals such as food security (Campbell et al., 2016; Douxchamps et al., 2016; Richardson et al., 2018; Bezner Kerr et al., 2019) and improvements in human health (Watts et al., 2019) including in systems where animals and humans live in close proximity (very high confidence) (Zinsstag et al., 2018). However, to do so requires not only the avoidance of incremental adaptation actions that extend current unsustainable practices, but also the ability to manage and overcome the barriers which arise when the limits of incremental adaptation are reached (high agreement , medium evidence) (Few et al., 2017; Vermeulen et al., 2018; Fedele et al., 2019).

Since AR5, the scientific community has deepened its understanding of the relationship between adaptation and sustainable development (very high confidence), particularly with regard to the place of resilience at the intersection of these two arenas. The literature has moved forward in its identification of specific overlaps in sustainable development indicators and determinants of adaptive capacity, how adaptation might reduce stress on development processes and their socio-ecological foundation, and how building adaptive capacity might facilitate needed transformative changes. Broadly speaking, work on these topics comes from one of two perspectives. One perspective speaks to adaptation practices that might further sustainable development outcomes, while another perspective draws on deeper understandings of the socio-ecological dynamics of the systems in which we live, and which we may have to transform in the face of climate change impacts. These two literatures are not yet well integrated, leaving gaps in our knowledge of how best to implement adaptation in a manner that achieves sustainable development.

The literature considering adaptation and development in practice since AR5 suggests that efforts to connect adaptation to sustainable development should address proximate and systemic drivers of vulnerability (Wise et al., 2016), while remaining flexible and reversable to avoid the lock-in of undesirable or maladaptive trajectories (Cannon and Müller-Mahn, 2010; Wise et al., 2016). Such goals require critical reflection on processes for decision making and learning. In the AR5, more inclusive, participatory adaptation processes were presumed to benefit development planning by including a wider set of actors in discussions of future goals (Denton et al., 2014). The post-AR5 literature expands on these critical perspectives to provide context regarding when participation is most effective. For example, (Eriksen et al., 2015) emphasise the need to build participatory adaptation processes to avoid subsuming adaptation goals to development-as-usual, while (Kim et al., 2017b) argues that this practice is most effective when it is focused on development efforts and considers how climate change will challenge the goals of those efforts. Adaptation, while presenting an opportunity to foster transformations needed to address the impacts of climate change on human well-being, is also a contested process that is inherently political (medium agreement , medium evidence) (Eriksen et al., 2015; Mikulewicz, 2019; Nightingale Böhler, 2019; Eriksen et al., 2021b). How adaptation can challenge development and create a situation where CRD effectively becomes transformative adaptation, adaptation that generates transformation of broader aspects of development, remains unclear (medium agreement , limited evidence) (Few et al., 2017; Schipper et al., 2020c).

The critical literature on socio-ecological resilience, which has grown substantially since the last AR (very high confidence), speaks to some of these questions. Since AR5, the IPCC and the wider literature on socio-ecological resilience have shifted their use of the term to reflect not only the capacity to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance, but also the ability to adapt, learn and transform in ways that maintains socio-ecology’s essential function, identity and structure (Chapter 1; Glossary, Annex II). This change in usage is significant in that it shifts resilience from an emergent property of complex socio-ecological systems to a deeply human product of efforts to manage ecology, economy and society to specific ends. This definition of resilience recognises the need to define what is an essential identity, function and structure for a given system, questions rooted not in ecological dynamics, but in politics, agency, difference and power that emerge around the management of ecological dynamics (Cote and Nightingale, 2011; Brown, 2013; Cretney, 2014; Forsyth, 2018; Matin et al., 2018; Carr, 2019).

By connecting this framing of socio-ecological dynamics to the literature on the principles for adaptation efforts that meet development goals, new work has begun to identify 1) how adaptation can reduce stress on development processes, 2) how it might facilitate transformative change and 3) where adaptation interventions might either drive system rigidity and precarity, or otherwise challenge development goals (Castells-Quintana et al., 2018; Carr, 2020). For example, Jordan (2019) draws upon these contemporary framings of resilience to highlight the ways in which coping strategies perpetuate the gendered norms and practices at the heart of women’s vulnerability in Bangladesh. Forsyth (2018) draws upon this work to highlight the ways in which the theory of change processes used by development organisations tend to exclude local experiences and sources of risk, and thus foreclose the need for transformative pathways to achieve development goals. Carr (Carr, 2019; 2020) draws upon evidence from sub-Saharan Africa to develop more nuanced understandings of the ways in which different stressors and interventions either facilitate or foreclose transformative pathways, while pointing to the existence of yet poorly understood thresholds for transformation in systems that can be identified and targeted by interventions. Adaptation gaps

Adaptation gaps are defined as ‘the difference between actually implemented adaptation and a societally set goal, determined largely by preferences related to tolerated climate change impacts and reflecting resource limitations and competing priorities’ (UNEP, 2014; UNEP, 2018a). Adaptation deficit is a similar concept, described as an inadequate or insufficient adaptation to current conditions (Chapter 1). Adaptation gaps or deficits arise from a lack of adequate technological, financial, social, and institutional capacities to adapt effectively to climate change and extreme weather events, which are in turn linked to development (very high confidence) (Fankhauser and McDermott, 2014; Milman and Arsano, 2014; Chen et al., 2016; Asfaw et al., 2018) (Section 18.2.2).

Currently, there is no consensus around approaches to assess the effectiveness of adaptation actions across contexts and therefore measure adaptation gaps at a global scale (Singh et al., 2021a). UNEP (2021) suggests that comprehensiveness, inclusiveness, implementability, integration and monitoring, and evaluation can be used to assess them (see also Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB). However, limited information is available about future trends in national-level adaptation and the development of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Despite the challenges of measurement associated with adaptation gaps, available evidence from smaller scales across several regions, communities and businesses suggest that significant adaptation gaps have existed in historical contexts of climate change, while expectations of extreme heat, increasing storm intensity and rising sea levels will create the context for the emergence of new gaps (very high confidence) (Hallegatte et al., 2018; UNEP, 2018a; Dellink et al., 2019; UNEP, 2021). These adaptation gaps create risks to well-being, economic growth, equity, the health of natural systems and other societal goals. The negative impacts of these gaps can be compounded by adaptation efforts that are considered maladaptive or by development actions that are labelled as adaptation (see Chapter 16).

A higher level of adaptation finance is critical to enhance adaptation planning and implementation and reduce adaptation gaps, particularly in developing countries (very high confidence) (UNEP, 2021) (Cross-Chapter Box FINANCE in Chapter 17, Section However, adaptation finance is not keeping pace with the rising adaptation costs in the context of increasing and accelerating climate change, as ‘annual adaptation costs in developing countries alone are currently estimated to be in the range of US$70 billion, with the expectation of reaching US$140–300 billion in 2030 and US$280–500 billion in 2050’ (UNEP, 2021). Investment in attaining SDGs helps bridge adaptation gaps (Birkmann et al., 2021), but care needs to be taken to avoid maladaptation through mislabelling. Integration of the Indigenous and local knowledge systems is anticipated to reduce existing adaptation gaps and secure livelihood transitions.

Analysis of investments by four major climate and development funds (the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund and the International Climate Initiative) by UNEP (2021) suggests that support for green and hybrid adaptation solutions has been increasing over the past two decades. These could be effective at reducing climate risks and bridging adaptation gaps while simultaneously bringing important additional benefits for the economy, environment and livelihoods (UNEP, 2021) (see also Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL in Chapter 2).

Lately, the evidence of adaptation activity in the health sector has been increasing (Watts et al., 2019), yet substantial adaptation gaps persist (UNEP, 2018a; UNEP, 2021), including gaps in humanitarian response to climate-related disasters (Watts et al., 2019). It is the under-investment in climate and health research in general and health adaptation in particular that has led to adaptation gaps in the health sector (Ebi et al., 2017).

Costs of implementing efficient adaptation measures and water-related infrastructure in water-deficient regions have received attention at the global and regional level to bridge the ‘adaptation gap’ (Hallegatte et al., 2018; UNEP, 2018a; Dellink et al., 2019; UNEP, 2021). Livelihood sustainability in the drylands, which cover more than 40% of the land surface area, are home to roughly 2.5 billion people, and support approximately 50% of the livestock and 45% of the food production, is threatened by a complex and inter-related range of social, economic and environmental changes that present significant challenges to rural communities, especially women (Abu-Rabia-Queder and Morris, 2018; Gaur and Squires, 2018). Adaptation deficits in arid and semi-arid regions are of high order (see CROSS-CHAPTER BOX 3). To reduce adaptation deficit in arid and semi-arid regions, comprehensive and efficient adaptation interventions integrating better water management, use of non-traditional water sources, changes in reservoir operations, soil ecosystem rejuvenation and enhanced institutional effectiveness are needed (Section 18.5) (Makuvaro et al., 2017; Mohammed and Scholz, 2017; Morote et al., 2019). Communities facing the lack of adequate technological, financial, human and institutional capacities to adapt effectively to current and future climate change often encounter adaptation deficits. To address current adaptation barriers and adaptation deficits, there is a need to promote efficient adaptation measures, coupled with inclusive and adaptive governance involving marginalised groups such as Indigenous communities and women.

Although unevenly distributed urban adaptation gaps exist in all world regions (see Chapter 6). Such gaps are higher in the urban centres of the poorer nations. Chapter 6 identified that the critical capacity gaps at city and community levels responsible for adaptation gaps are the ‘ability to identify social vulnerability and community strengths, and to plan in integrated ways to protect communities, alongside the ability to access innovative funding arrangements and manage finance and commercial insurance; and locally accountable decision making with sufficient access to science, technology and local knowledge to support the application of adaptation solutions at scale’.

Insufficient financial resources are the main reasons for the coastal adaptation gap, particularly in the Global South (see CROSS-CHAPTER BOX 2). Engaging the private sector with a range of financial tools is crucial to address such gaps (see CROSS-CHAPTER BOX 2). An urgent and transformative action to institutionalise locally relevant integrative adaptation pathways is crucial for closing coastal adaptation gaps. Additional efforts are in place for assessing global adaptation progress (see Cross-Chapter Box PROGRESS in Chapter 17). Adaptation implementation

As discussed in Chapter 16, adaptation is a key mechanism for managing climate risks, and therefore for pursuing CRD. The lower estimates in Table 18.2 are associated with higher levels of adaptation and more conducive development conditions. Furthermore, additional adaptation demand is associated with greater levels of climate change. Adaptation is a broad term referring to many different levels of response and options for natural and human systems, from individuals, specific locations and specific technologies, to nations, markets, global dynamics and strategies at the system level. Adaptation also includes endogenous reflexive and exogenous policy responses. Perspectives on limits to adaptation, synergies, trade-offs and feasibility therefore depend on where the boundaries are drawn and the objective. Overall, there are a broad range of adaptation options relevant to reducing risks posed by climate change to development. However, current understanding of how such options are implemented in practice, their effectiveness across a range of possible climate futures and their potential limits, is modest.

The IPCC’s SR1.5 report evaluated individual adaptation options in terms of economic, technological, institutional, socio-cultural, environmental/ecological and geophysical feasibility (de Coninck et al., 2018). This analysis has been updated for AR6 (Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB). These assessments identify types of barriers that could affect an option’s feasibility. Among other things, this work finds that every adaptation option evaluated had at least one feasibility dimension that represented a barrier or obstacle. The barriers also imply that there are trade-offs in these feasibility dimensions to consider. Overall, insights from this work are high-level and difficult to apply to a specific adaptation context. The feasibility and ranking of adaptation opportunities, as well as the list of opportunities themselves, for a given location will vary from location to location, with different criteria and weighting of criteria that reflect the priorities of society and decision-makers as well as differences in markets, technology options and policies for managing risks and trade-offs. Integrated evaluation of criteria and options is needed, that accounts for the relevant geographic context and interactions between options and systems (Section 18.5).

Sustainable development is regarded as generally consistent with climate change adaptation, helping build adaptive capacity by addressing poverty and inequalities and improving inclusion and institutions (Roy et al., 2018). Some sustainable development strategies could facilitate adaptation effectiveness by addressing wider socioeconomic barriers, addressing social inequalities and promoting livelihood security (Roy et al., 2018). With a common goal of reducing risks, sustainable development and adaptation are relatively synergistic. For example, “low-regrets” adaptation strategies have been identified, such as improvements in health systems that reduce climate health impacts in cities (Barata, 2018). However, trade-offs also have been found and are important to consider and potentially address. Synergies have been found between adaptation and poverty reduction, hunger reduction, clean water access and health; while, trade-offs have also been found, particularly when adaptation strategies prioritise one development objective (e.g., food security or heat-stress risk reduction) or promote high-cost solutions with budget allocation and equity implications (Roy et al., 2018) (Sections, 18.5, Box 18.4). There are also opportunities for addressing the trade-offs, in particular distributional effects—by recognising that there are trade-offs and considering alternatives and complementary strategies to address those trade-offs (Section Mitigation

Mitigation, including greenhouse gas emissions reductions, avoidance, and removal and sequestration, as well as management of other climate forcing factors (WGIII AR6), is a key element of addressing climate risk and pursuing CRD. There are numerous individual and system mitigation options throughout the economy and within human and natural systems (very high confidence) (Chapter 16; Section 18.5). Limiting global average warming has been found to reduce climate risks (IPCC, 2018a; IPCC, 2019b), and limiting global average warming to any temperature level has also been found to be associated with broad ranges of potential global emissions pathways that represent future uncertainty in the evolution of socioeconomic, technological, market and physical systems (very high confidence) (Rose and Scott, 2018; Rose and Scott, 2020). Pathways consistent with limiting warming to 2°C and below have been found to require significant deployment of mitigation options spanning energy, land use and societal transformation ((Lecocq et al., 2022; Riahi et al., 2022); Section 18.3). and substantial economic, energy, land use, policy and societal transformation (Lecocq et al., 2022; Riahi et al., 2022). Such emissions pathways would represent deviations from current trends that raise issues about their feasibility and therefore plausibility (Rose and Scott, 2018; Rose and Scott, 2020).

The technical and economic challenge of limiting warming has been found to increase nonlinearly with greater ambition, fewer mitigation options, less than global cooperative policy designs and delayed mitigation action ((Riahi et al., 2022); Table 18.2). Table 18.2 provides a high-level summary of pathway characteristic ranges based on the WGIII AR6 assessment. Global pathways find large regional differences in mitigation potential, as well as the degree of regional nonlinearity with greater mitigation ambition. These represent opportunities for mitigation, but how this effort and cost would be facilitated and distributed respectively is a policy question.

Table 18.2 illustrates that greater climate ambition implies more aggressive emissions reductions in each region, and earlier regional peaking of emissions (if they have not peaked to date). Near-term regional emissions increases are possible, even for 1.5°C compatible pathways, but significantly lower emissions than today are shown in all regions by 2050. Increases in total regional energy consumption and fossil energy are observed for many pathways, even in the most ambitious where energy consumption growth is potentially slower compared with less ambitious pathways. By 2050, regional fossil energy declines, but is not eliminated in any region. Regional growth in electricity use is substantial in all pathways, even the most ambitious, with the growth continuing and accelerating with time and regional dependence on electricity (share of total energy consumption) also growing significantly. The broad ranges are an indication of uncertainty and risk for regional transitions, noting that full uncertainty is likely broader than what is captured by emissions scenario databases (Rose and Scott, 2018; Rose and Scott, 2020). Among other things, pathways commonly assume idealised climate policies with immediate implementation, and model infeasibilities (i.e., models unable to solve) increase with climate ambition and pessimism about mitigation technologies (e.g., Clarke et al., 2014; Bauer et al., 2018; Rogelj et al., 2018; Muratori et al., 2020), highlighting the increasing challenge and potential for actual infeasibility with lower global warming targets. Together, Table 18.2 provides insights into the increasingly demanding system and development transitions associated with lower global warming levels, as well as some of the low-carbon transition uncertainties and risks (see also Figure 18.5).

Figure 18.5 | Regional implications of climate mitigation pathways in 2050 for different global mean peak temperature outcomes (during the century) for various development and sustainable development proxy variables. Each row reports results for a different variable for each of the five global regions (columns) used by WGIII, and SDG associated with each variable is noted. Blue dots represent individual emissions scenario results from each of the respective WGIII climate outcome scenario categories, with red bars the median results. All results are changes (percentage or fraction) relative to each WGIII scenario’s reference scenario. In some circumstances the reference case emissions are below those from the scenario consistent with a global warming level, which can produce results that appear counter-intuitive (e.g., increases in GDP or consumption). Data sample sizes vary substantially across temperature levels for a given variable and across variables due to model infeasibilities and model differences in reporting. Model infeasibilities, in particular, result in significantly fewer data points for 1.5°C compatible emissions pathways compared to 2°C pathways (i.e., models are more often unable to solve for a 1.5°C consistent pathway, than a 2°C pathway, with a given set of assumptions). Food/feed crop price results were not available for 1.5°C and 4°C warming levels. Sample sizes for each variable and warming level respectively—1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C, and 4°C—are as follows (and apply to all regions): GDP (n = 2, 93, 29, 12); Consumption (2, 93, 30, 13); Black Carbon (2, 100, 39, 16), NOx (2, 100, 39, 15), SO2 (2, 100, 39, 16), price food/feed crops (0, 44, 23, 0); price electricity (2, 94, 38, 15); price natural gas (10, 86, 44, 10). The sample sizes are very small for the 1.5°C and 4°C results; therefore, the medians for these warming levels are statistically unreliable, which should be considered in comparing across warming levels. Individual values in the samples exceed y-axis’ ranges in a few cases: black carbon 2°C Latin America minimum equals 0.08, food/feed price change 3°C minimums in Asia, Latin America, Middle East/Africa, OECD, and Reforming Economies equal respectively -33%, -28%, -28%, -29%, and -29%, natural gas price change 2°C maximums in Asia, Latin America, Middle East/Africa, OECD, and Reforming Economies equal respectively 962%, 1240%, 2768%, 917%, and 3588%. Figure developed from the WGIII AR6 scenarios database, with scenarios filtered according to WGIII exclusions and regional vetting.

Past assessment has evaluated representative mitigation strategies in terms of economic, technological, institutional, socio-cultural, environmental/ecological and geophysical viability, as well as relationships to SDGs (de Coninck et al., 2018). The strategies assessment analysis has been updated for AR6 (Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB). These assessments identify types of barriers that could affect an option’s feasibility. Among other things, this work finds that, other than public transport and non-motorised transport, every other mitigation option evaluated had at least one feasibility dimension that represented a barrier or obstacle. The barriers also imply that there are trade-offs in these feasibility dimensions to consider. The assessment of mitigation option-sustainable development relationships identifies related literature and derives aggregate characterisations. Concerns about the potential sustainable development implications of some mitigation technologies may be motivation for precluding the use of some mitigation options. For instance, the potential food security and environmental quality implications of bioenergy have received significant attention in the literature (e.g., Smith et al., 2013). However, constraining or precluding the use of bioenergy without or with CCS could have significant implications for the cost of pursuing ambitious climate goals, and potentially the attainability of those goals (e.g., Clarke et al., 2014; Bauer et al., 2018; Rogelj et al., 2018; Muratori et al., 2020). Bioenergy is not unique in this regard. Social, environmental, and sustainability concerns have also been raised about the large-scale deployment of many low-carbon technologies, for example, REDD+, wind, solar, nuclear, fossil with CCS and batteries. See WGIII Chapter 3 (Riahi et al., 2022) for examples of the potential implications of limiting or precluding different low-carbon technologies.

Overall, as with adaptation options, insights from this aggregate feasibility and sustainable development mapping work are high level and difficult to apply to a specific mitigation context. The feasibility, ranking and sustainable development implications of mitigation options, as well as the list of options themselves, for a given location will vary from location to location, with different criteria and weighting of criteria that reflect the relevant social priorities and differences in markets, technology options and policies for managing risks and trade-offs. Integrated evaluation of criteria and options is needed here as well, that accounts for the relevant geographic context and interactions between options, systems and implications.

Analyses of the potential implications of mitigation on sustainable development has various strands of literature—studies exploring general greenhouse gas mitigation feedbacks to society, assessments of mitigation implications on specific societal objectives other than climate and literature evaluating mitigation implications specifically for sustainable development objectives (Denton et al., 2022; Lecocq et al., 2022; Riahi et al., 2022). In general, mitigation alters development opportunities by constraining the emissions future society can produce, which affects markets, resource allocation, economic structure, income distribution, consumers and the environment (besides climate) (very high confidence). Examples of general development feedbacks from mitigation include estimated price changes, macroeconomic costs, and low carbon energy and land system transformations (Fisher et al., 2007; Clarke et al., 2014; Popp et al., 2014; Rose et al., 2014; Weyant and Kriegler, 2014; Bauer et al., 2018; Rogelj et al., 2018). Examples of mitigation implications for other specific variables of societal interest include evaluating potential effects on air pollutant emissions, crop prices, water and land use change (e.g., McCollum et al., 2018b; Roy et al., 2018), while the literature evaluating mitigation implications specifically for sustainable development objectives includes evaluations on energy access, food security and income equality (e.g., Roy et al., 2018; Arneth et al., 2019; Mbow et al., 2019). Proxy indicators are frequently used to represent whether there might be implications for a sustainable development objective. For example, changes in energy prices are used as a proxy for effects on energy security (e.g., Roy et al., 2018). This is common with aggregate modelling studies, such as those associated with global or regional emissions scenarios and energy systems.

Figure 18.5, derived from WGIII scenarios data, illustrates estimated relationships between mitigation and various sustainable development proxy variables for different global regions. Figure 18.5 illustrates synergies and trade-offs with mitigation, as well as regional heterogeneity, that can intensify with the level of climate ambition—synergies in air pollutants, such as black carbon, NOx and SO2; and trade-offs in overall economic development, household consumption, food crop prices and energy prices for electricity and natural gas. For comparison, recent IPCC assessments also observed similar synergies and trade-offs but did not directly make comparisons regarding overall development nor evaluate potential climates above 2°C (Rogelj et al., 2018; Roy et al., 2018; Mbow et al., 2019). Regional nonlinearity in the economic costs of mitigation with greater climate ambition (i.e., costs rising at an increasing rate with lower warming goals) can be significant within individual models (Rose and Scott, 2018; Rose and Scott, 2020). Figure 18.5 also illustrates transition risks in the potential for significant synergistic and trade-off implications with, for instance, potentially large regional commodity price implications and household consumption losses, as well as more significant air pollution benefits. Note that the 1.5°C results in Figure 18.5 (and Table 18.2) are biased by model infeasibilities. Many models are unable to solve, especially with less optimistic assumptions, resulting in small sample sizes and a different representation of models compared to the 2°C and higher results.

Results such as those in Figure 18.5 illustrate that mitigation–development trade-offs are inevitable and need to be considered and addressed. For instance, Roy (2018) found that although limiting warming to 1.5°C would make it markedly easier to achieve most of the UN’s SDGs, none of the 1.5°C pathways assessed achieved all of the SDGs. A similar conclusion follows from the results in Figure 18.5 based on WGIII AR6 scenarios.. A newer literature is developing, evaluating the potential for managing SDG trade-offs. Results like those in Figure 18.5 provide insights regarding some of the types of strategy sets to consider. Roy et al. (2018) discuss the potential for policies that address distributional implications, such as payments, food support and revenue recycling, as well as education, retraining and technology outreach, subsidies or prioritisation. Recent studies have begun to estimate potential payments to offset trade-offs, such as related to food, water and energy access (e.g., McCollum et al., 2018a). These analyses estimate investments to address specific trade-offs; however, with mitigation redirecting resources away from other productive activities, there is a need to also evaluate the aggregate economy-wide, distributional and welfare effects, including the redistribution effects of managing sustainable development trade-offs.

There are a wide range of mitigation options and systems to consider, with assessment suggesting that a diverse portfolio is practical for pursing climate policy ambitions. However, local context will impact mitigation choices, with unique sustainable development priorities, available mitigation options, sustainable development synergies and trade-offs, and policy design and implementation possibilities. Combining Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development Options

In practice, adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development interventions are likely to be implemented in portfolio packages rather than as individual discrete options in isolation (high agreement , limited evidence). However, there is a dearth of literature estimating optimal portfolios of global adaptation and mitigation strategies. This is not surprising given the geographic-specific nature of climate impacts and adaptation and the information and computational complexity of representing that detail, as well as mitigation options and interactions. There are, however, different literatures relevant to considering potential combinations of adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development.

At the most aggregate level, there is a long-standing literature exploring economically optimal global trade-offs between climate risks and mitigation (e.g., Manne and Richels, 1992; Nordhaus, 2017; Rose, 2017), as well as global stochastic analysis exploring global risk hedging for a small number of uncertainties (e.g., (Lemoine and Traeger, 2014). Recent work has found optimal global emissions and climate pathways to be highly sensitive to uncertainties and plausible alternative assumptions, with uncertainties throughout the causal chain from society to emissions to climate to climate damages shown to imply a wide range of different possible economically optimal pathways (Rose, 2017). Among other things, this work identifies assumptions consistent with limiting warming to different temperature levels. For example, the combination of potential annual climate damages of 15% of global GDP at 4°C of warming and a less sensitive climate system were consistent with an economically efficient global pathway limiting warming to 2°C. In addition, this work highlights the importance of characterising and managing uncertainties. These types of global aggregate analyses inform discussions regarding long-run global pathways and goals but are not designed to inform local planning.

As discussed in Section, there are synergies and trade-offs in mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development. For instance, the literature on the global cost-effectiveness of mitigation pathways provides insights regarding aggregate synergies and trade-offs between mitigation and sustainable development (e.g., Figure 18.5). Furthermore, linkages between mitigation and adaptation options have been shown, such as expected changes in energy demand due to climate change interacting with energy system development and mitigation options, changes in future agricultural production practices to manage the risks of potential changes in weather patterns affecting land-based emissions and mitigation strategies, or mitigation strategies placing additional demands on resources and markets. This increases pressure on and costs for adaptation, or ecosystem restoration that provides carbon sequestration and natural and managed ecosystem resiliency benefits, but also could constrain mitigation and impact consumer welfare (WGIII AR6).

Nonlinearities are an important consideration in evaluating risk management combinations. Nonlinearities have been estimated in global and regional mitigation costs and potential economic damages from climate change (very high confidence) ((Riahi et al., 2022); (Clarke et al., 2014; Burke et al., 2015; Rose, 2017). Nonlinear mitigation costs mean increasingly higher costs for each additional incremental reduction in emissions (or incremental reduction in global average temperature). Nonlinear increases in estimated economic climate damage means increasingly higher damages for each additional incremental increase in climate change (e.g., global average temperature). However, the evidence on whether damages increase at an increasing or decreasing rate is mixed (Chapter 16 CWGB: ECONOMIC). Nonlinearities are also suggested in estimated changes in key risks and adaptation costs (Chapters 2 to 16). However, to date, they have not been as explicitly characterised. These nonlinearities imply nonlinearities in climate risk management synergies and trade-offs with sustainable development. Not only do trade-offs vary by climate level, as do synergies, but they increase at an increasing rate and their relative importance can shift across climate levels (very high confidence). Some of this is evident in results such as those shown in Figure 18.5 for mitigation (keeping in mind differences in sample sizes across temperature levels). Uncertainty about the degree of nonlinearity in mitigation, climate damages, key risks and adaptation costs creates uncertainties in the strength of the trade-offs and synergies, but also represents opportunities. For instance, additional mitigation options and more economically efficient policy designs have been shown to reduce mitigation costs and the nonlinearities in mitigation costs (very high confidence) (Riahi et al., 2022). The same is true for adaptation options and adaptation costs.

Infeasibilities of mitigation and adaptation options (Sections,, as well as global pathways (Riahi et al., 2022) , are also relevant to consideration of combinations of risk management options. Infeasibility of options implies higher costs and greater cost nonlinearity due to fewer and/or more expensive options, while infeasibility of pathways bounds some of the uncertainty about the pathways relevant to decision making and planning. Trade-offs and synergies in adaptation, mitigation and climate resilient development

Since AR5, a growing body of literature has emerged that frames adaptation processes as endogenous socioeconomic dynamics, exogenous driving forces and explicit decisions (Barnett et al., 2014; Maru et al., 2014; Butler et al., 2016; Kingsborough et al., 2016; Werners et al., 2018). Central to this framing is a shift away from viewing adaptation as discrete sets of options that are selected and implemented to manage risk, to thinking about adaptation as a social process that evolves over time, includes multiple decision points, and requires dynamic adjustments in response to new information about climate risk, socioeconomic conditions and the value of potential adaptation responses (very high confidence) (Haasnoot et al., 2013; Wise et al., 2016). This aligns adaptation with aspects of development thinking, including questions around the capacity and agency of different actors to effect change, the governance of adaptation, and the contingent nature of adaptation needs and effectiveness on the future evolution of society and climate change risk.

While ensuring development and adaptation produce synergies that allow for the achievement of sustainable development is challenging, modelling exercises suggest that there are pathways where synergies among the SDGs are realised (very high confidence) (Roy et al., 2018; Van Vuuren et al., 2019) (Section 18.5), particularly if longer time horizons are used. These pathways require progress on multiple social, economic, technological, institutional and governance aspects of development, including building human capacity, managing consumption behaviour, decarbonisation of the global economy, improving food and water security, modernising cities and infrastructure, and innovations in science and technology (Van Vuuren et al., 2019) (Section 18.3). In addition, Olsson et al, (Olsson et al., 2014) and Roy et al. (2018) emphasise the importance of integrating considerations for social justice and equity in the pursuit of sustainable development (Gupta and Pouw, 2017).

The significant overlaps and linkages between development and adaptation practice and a lack of conceptual clarity about adaptation pose a conundrum for scholars (e.g., Bassett and Fogelman, 2013; Webber, 2016), who raise concerns that this potentially leads to trade-offs or mislabelling (Few et al., 2017). This framing of adaptation and development can result in competition between attainment of sustainable development and policies to reduce the impacts of climate change (Ribot, 2011). Such trade-offs are illustrated by (Moyer and Bohl, 2019) who use a baseline development trajectory based on current trends to project progress on SDGs by 2030. This work concluded that only marginal gains are likely to be achieved under that pathway over the next decade (Barnes et al., 2019).

Emerging evidence also suggests that many adaptation-labelled strategies may exacerbate existing poverty and vulnerability or introduce new inequalities, for example by affecting certain disadvantaged groups more than others, even to the point of protecting the wealthy elite at the expense of the most vulnerable (Eriksen et al., 2019). Pelling et al. (2016) find that adaptation has been conceived and implemented in such a manner that most projects preserve rather than challenge the status quo. Specifically, the potential for knowledge and the goals of adaptation to be contested by different actors and stakeholders and the need to sustain progress over extended periods of time can constrain the ability to effectively implement actions that lead to sustainable development outcomes that are protected from the impacts of climate change while also delivering climate mitigation outcomes, that is, for CRD (Bosomworth et al., 2017; Bloemen et al., 2019). This creates the possibility for specific adaptation actions to result in outcomes that undermine greenhouse gas mitigation and/or broader development goals (Fazey et al., 2016; Wise et al., 2016; Magnan et al., 2020). For example, a study in Bangladesh revealed how local elites and donors used adaptation projects as a lever to push vulnerable populations away from their agrarian livelihoods and into uncertain urban wage labour (Paprocki, 2018). These types of outcomes are categorised as maladaptation, interventions that increase rather than decrease vulnerability, and/or undermine or eradicate future opportunities for adaptation and development (Barnett and O’Neill, 2010; Juhola et al., 2015; Magnan et al., 2016; Antwi-Agyei et al., 2017; Schipper, 2020). This inadvertent impact on equity appears to fundamentally contradict a benevolent understanding of transformative adaptation that also champions social justice (Patterson et al., 2018), thus posing long-term maladaptation in opposition to transformative adaptation (Magnan et al., 2020).

Similarly, mitigation efforts, while reducing emissions, can also increase climate impacts vulnerability and undermine adaptation efforts. The same can be said for some poverty alleviation and sustainable development efforts that increase vulnerability for specific segments of the population. For example, in Central America, an evaluation of 12 rural renewable energy projects (either forthe clean development mechanism, early warning systems or rural electrification goals) found that some mitigation and poverty alleviation projects increased vulnerability to families—by excluding them, not adhering to local safety and quality codes and standards, or significantly altering community power dynamics and contributing to conflict (Ley, 2017; Ley et al., 2020).

Synergies between adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development might be promoted by prioritising those CRD strategies most likely to generate synergies (very high confidence) (Roy et al., 2018; Karlsson et al., 2020). This could include focusing on poverty alleviation that improves adaptive capacity (e.g., Kaya and Chinsamy, 2016; Kuper et al., 2017; Ley, 2017; Sánchez and Izzo, 2017; Stańczuk-Gałwiaczek et al., 2018; Ley et al., 2020); renewable energy systems that improve water management and preservation of river ecological integrity (e.g., Berga, 2016; Rasul and Sharma, 2016); or internalising positive externalities, such as subsidies for mitigation options thought to also improve water use efficiency (e.g., Roy et al., 2018). Similarly, trade-offs might be managed by prioritising strategies such as disqualifying mitigation options thought to have negative social implications (Section, internalising externalities, such as placing a fee or constraint on a negative externality or related activity (Dubash et al., 2022) (Bistline and Rose, 2018), or using complementary policies, such as transfer payments to offset negative mitigation, adaptation or sustainable development strategy implications (very high confidence) (e.g., McCollum et al., 2018b). Roy et al. (2018) discusses the latter, noting, for instance, the possibility of complementary sustainable development payments to avoid global energy access, food security and clean water trade-offs (Box 4.7).

SR1.5 and AR6 assessments of system transitions also find opportunities for synergies and managing trade-offs (Section 18.3; Cross-Chapter Box FEASIB). Within each system, mitigation and adaptation options are assessed for their specific benefits and the impacts they can have on one another, as well as with sustainable development. For example, within energy system transitions, the three adaptation options (power infrastructure resilience, reliability of power systems, efficient water use management) have strong synergies with mitigation. While not all mitigation options have strong synergies, the trade-offs can be managed when adaptation and SDGs are also considered. Under land and other ecosystems system transitions, the main trade-off is the competition for land use between potential alternative uses, for example, sustainable agriculture, afforestation/reforestation, purpose-grown biomass for energy. On the other hand, assessment of urban and infrastructure system transitions finds mainly synergies between mitigation and adaptation options with trade-offs that are considered manageable, and there is growing evidence of rural landscape infrastructure benefits to adaptation.

Overall, this literature is relatively new and still developing. It highlights the importance of societal priorities and policy design for realizing synergies. However, the literature is not well developed in terms of how to optimize mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development interventions to achieve multiple priorities. Risk management combinations with lower to higher climate change

Given the global climate system is committed to additional future warming, different portfolios of adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development interventions are relevant for climate risk management. The different strands of literature discussed above can be integrated to help inform thinking about combinations of approaches to climate risk management. Globally, low climate change projections, versus higher climate change projections, imply greater mitigation, lower climate risks and less adaptation. This implies greater mitigation trade-offs in terms of overall economic development, food crop prices, energy prices and overall household consumption, but lower climate risk, with sustainable development synergies such as human health and lower adaptation trade-offs, and an uneven distribution of effects (very high confidence) (Roy et al., 2018).

Sustainable development considerations could be used to prioritise mitigation options, but as noted earlier, there are trade-offs, with a potentially significant impact on the economic cost of mitigation, as well as a potential trade-off in terms of the climate outcomes that are still viable (Riahi et al., 2022). For instance, all of the 1.5°C scenarios used in IPCC (2018a) deploy carbon dioxide removal technologies (Rogelj et al., 2018). Without these technologies, most models cannot generate pathways that limit warming to 1.5°C, and those that are able to adopt strong assumptions about global policy development and socioeconomic changes. Sustainable development might also affect the design of policies by prioritising specific sustainable development objectives. However, there are trade-offs here as well, with costs and the distribution of costs varying with alternative policy designs. For instance, prioritising air quality has climate co-benefits but does not ensure the lowest cost climate strategy (Arneth et al., 2009; Kandlikar et al., 2009). Similarly, prioritising land protection has a variety of co-benefits but could increase food prices significantly, as well as the overall cost of climate mitigation (IPCC, 2019b). In this context, with lower climate risk and adaptation levels and larger mitigation effort, managing mitigation trade-offs could be a sustainable development priority. Furthermore, sustainable development could also be tailored to facilitate adaptation and manage mitigation costs.

Globally, high climate change projections imply lower mitigation effort, higher climate risks and greater adaptation. This implies lower mitigation trade-offs, but greater climate risk with greater demand of adaptation and potential for trade-offs in terms of competing sustainable development priorities. Sustainable development considerations could affect adaptation options. For instance, constraining options such as relocation or facilitating adaptation capacity and community resilience. Sustainable development might also be tailored to affect the climate outcome by shaping the development of emissions. In this context, with greater climate risk and adaptation levels and less mitigation effort, facilitating adaptation addressing adaptation costs and trade-offs could be a sustainable development priority.

Locally, there are many qualitative similarities to the global perspective in thinking about risk management combinations across lower versus higher levels of warming. However, there is one very important difference. Local decision makers are confronted with uncertainty about what others will do beyond their local jurisdiction. With future climate a function of the sum of global decisions, sustainable development planning needs to consider the possibility of more and less emissions reduction action globally and the potential associated climates. This implies the need for sustainable development to manage for the possibility of higher levels of warming by further facilitating adaptation and managing adaptation trade-offs. Prioritising sustainable development locally is also supported by the insight that the impacts on poverty depend at least as much or more on development than on the level of climate change (very high confidence) (Wiebe et al., 2015; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017).

With surpassing 1.5°C a distinct possibility, considering higher levels of warming is a necessity. CRD could be pursued with additional adaptation, recognizing increasing challenges for adaptation and sustainable development with higher warming, just as there are increasing challenges for mitigation and sustainable development with limiting warming to lower levels. There are many possible pathways for pursuing climate resilient development, though our understanding of the possibilities with different levels of warming is currently limited (e.g., David Tàbara et al., 2018; O’Brien, 2018). The current literature suggests that different mixes of adaptation and mitigation strategies, and sustainable development and trade-off management priorities, measures and reallocations (Section, will be appropriate for different expected climates and locations (Section 18.1.2); while trade-offs between climates will be dictated by relative nonlinearities, feasibilities, shifts in priorities, and trade-off and reallocation options across future climates.

Finally, it is important to note that there is currently limited information available regarding the following: (1) local implications of 1.5°C versus warmer futures with respect to local climate outcomes, avoided impacts and sustainable development implications and interactions, given that applying global conclusions to local, national and regional settings can be misleading; (2) local context-specific synergies and trade-offs with respect to adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development for 1.5°C futures; and (3) standard indicators for monitoring factors related to CRD (Roy et al., 2018).

Box 18.3 | Climate Resilient Development in Small Islands

Small islands are particularly vulnerable to climate change and many are already pursuing climate resilient development pathways that enable integrated responses (Allen et al., 2018a; Mycoo, 2018; Hay et al., 2019; Robinson et al., 2021). Countries such as Belize have opted for a systems approach and are working across the sustainable development goals (SDGs) to increase integration (Allen et al., 2018a). This includes rethinking disaster reconstruction mechanisms in the Caribbean and introducing more diversified and sustainable tourism economies that can better withstand external shocks such as disruptions and loss of markets from COVID-19 (Sheller, 2021). In the Seychelles, various government and tourism industry initiatives are focused on the promotion of sustainable tourism ventures that lower emissions, protect and promote biodiversity conservation (e.g., new marine protected areas with mitigation and adaptation benefits), and are climate resilient (Robinson et al., 2021). In 2016, the Seychelles signed the world’s first nature-for-debt swap, wherein a non-governmental organisation (NGO; The Nature Conservancy) agreed to pay off Seychelles’ public debt to the Paris Club (foreign creditors) in return for the Seychelles government establishing marine conservation areas (Silver and Campbell, 2018).

One key area where enhanced climate risk integration is critical is infrastructure-related decisions, especially on coastal areas (World Bank, 2017). However, despite increasing awareness of climate risks and experienced impacts, decisions on, for example, infrastructure locations still reflect cultural preferences. For example, Hay et al. (2019) report that, despite recommendations to relocate the redevelopment site of the Parliamentary Complex in Samoa away from the coast, multiple cultural and historical factors influenced the decisions to redevelop at the original site. In the Solomon Islands, however, emerging evidence suggests that adaptation efforts to enhance the resilience of infrastructure are also serving to help urban areas address problems associated with rapid urbanisation and provide new opportunities for sustainable development (Robinson et al., 2021).

Box 18.3

Energy system transitions in small islands can produce synergies with SDG implementation and can lead to transformational outcomes. The Pacific Island territory of Tokelau has demonstrated a nationwide energy transition, sourcing 100% of their energy needs from solar power (Michalena and Hills, 2018), and many other countries such as Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Cook Islands also have 100% renewable energy targets. Benefits of small island distributed energy systems (such as solar photovoltaic [PV] systems) include less need for large, centralised infrastructure; reduced reliance on volatile fossil fuel markets; enhanced international climate negotiations power; and enhanced local job markets/skills (Dornan, 2015; Cole and Banks, 2017; Weir, 2018). Additionally, renewable systems can enhance resilience to hydro-meteorological disasters (Weir and Kumar, 2020). For example, well-secured ground-based PV systems withstood cyclones in the Pacific Island of Tonga during cyclone Gita and across the Caribbean during Hurricane Maria, with power restored in days rather than weeks associated with more centralised systems (Weir and Kumar, 2020). Yet a multitude of challenges remain. In the Pacific islands region, these include: the high up front capital investment of renewables; lack of private sector investment; limited renewable energy data for policymaking; land tenure/rent costs; ongoing infrastructure maintenance skills and requirements; political turnover; failed experimentation; difficulty in obtaining and transporting replacement parts; and a highly corrosive environment for equipment (Dornan, 2015; Cole and Banks, 2017; Lucas et al., 2017; Weir, 2018; Weir and Kumar, 2020). The example of Pacific energy transitions demonstrates that a nuanced and context specific analysis of synergies and trade-offs for energy transitions is required to lessen the impact on fragile economies and maximise benefits for remote populations.

Labour migration is increasingly recognised as a significant factor that can contribute to climate resilient development pathways for small islands. In the Pacific islands region, labour mobility schemes are already allowing for climate change adaptation and economic development to occur in labour migrants’ countries of origin (Smith and McNamara, 2015; Klepp and Herbeck, 2016; Dun et al., 2020). Dun et al. (2020) demonstrates that temporary or circular migrants from the Solomon Islands, working in Australia under its Seasonal Worker Programme (similar programmes operate in other developed countries), are using the money they earn to invest in adaptation and development activities back home. Similarly, labour migrants from Vanuatu, Kiribati and Samoa contribute to development and in situ climate change adaptation (at a household, village and regional level) that enable discussions about more resilient futures for their countries (Barnett and McMichael, 2018; Parsons et al., 2018).

Box 18.4 | Adaptation and the Sustainable Development Goals

The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represents near-term positive sustainability as well as indicating the quality of development processes and actions (inclusion and social justice, alternative development models, planetary health, well-being, equity, solidary, different forms of knowledge and human–nature connectivity) that enable climate resilient development (CRD) in the long term (Sections, A key question is the extent to which adaptation actions (or non-action) may contribute to (or undermine) SDG achievement and, in particular, shift the quality of development processes and engagement within the political, economic, ecological, socio-ethical and knowledge-technology arenas, and hence contribute to climate resilient development pathways (CRDPs).

Table Box 18.4.1 (below) provides a set of examples of how adaptation actions can either contribute to or undermine SDG achievement for SDGs 2, 3, 6, 11 and 16. In general, formal adaptation policies as well as household and community-based adaptation strategies can generate positive outcomes, particularly if they are responsive to the local context and needs, with real participation and leadership by target populations (Remling and Veitayaki, 2016; Buckwell et al., 2020; McNamara et al., 2020; Owen, 2020). For example, integrated adaptation approaches to the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus aiming to build resilience in those sectors can lead to increased resource use efficiency and coherent strategies for managing the complex interactions and trade-offs among the water, energy and food SDGs (Mpandeli et al., 2018; Nhamo et al., 2020). One such approach could involve cultivating indigenous crops suited to harsh growing conditions, which would allow for agricultural expansion for food and energy without increased water withdrawals (Mpandeli et al., 2018). Overall, adaptation commitments aiming to build resilience of vulnerable populations have typically shown to contribute to SDGs focused on ending extreme poverty (SDG 1), improving food security (SDG 2), improving access to water (SDG 6), ensuring clean energy (SDG 7), tackling climate change (SDG 13) and halting land degradation and deforestation (SDG 15) (Antwi-Agyei et al., 2018).

However, evidence also suggests limitations of adaptation actions, with the objectives and actions often being too narrow to address social justice and enable CRD. As such, adaptation actions can sometimes undermine SDG achievement through exacerbating social vulnerability, inequity and uneven power relations (Antwi-Agyei et al., 2018; Atteridge and Remling, 2018; Paprocki, 2018; Mikulewicz, 2019; Satyal et al., 2020; Scoville-Simonds et al., 2020). This is due to adaptation practices often not accounting for the differentiated ways in which minority groups are especially vulnerable. For example, designs of emergency shelters should consider the fear of social stigma or abuse faced by women and girls (Pelling and Garschagen, 2019).

Box 18.4

Such maladaptive adaptation practices can undermine SDG achievement through increasing vulnerability of marginalised groups by failing to address the underlying root causes of vulnerability and poverty that are related to political economy, power dynamics and vested interests more broadly, instead treating the symptoms as the cause (Magnan et al., 2016; Ajibade and Egge, 2019; Schipper, 2020). For example, evidence exists of flood defence measures through large-scale infrastructure development leading to the violent displacement of poor communities, forcibly resettling people in areas far from their employment or pushing up land and housing costs without providing compensation (Fuso Nerini et al., 2018; Reckien et al., 2018). Moreover, sectoral approaches to adaptation that fail to acknowledge the linkages between SDGs can counter development efforts and generate further trade-offs (Terry, 2009; Rasul and Sharma, 2016; von Stechow et al., 2016; Klinsky et al., 2017; Hallegatte et al., 2019).

The literature recommends a set of strategies for ensuring that adaptation actions are aligned with SDG achievement and do not further perpetuate poverty and inequality. These include ensuring that marginalised voices are central to adaptation decision making, with participatory approaches that empower and compensate affected communities (Moser and Ekstrom, 2011; Broto et al., 2015; Pelling and Garschagen, 2019; Palermo and Hernandez, 2020). Gender mainstreaming and gender transformative approaches within climate policies can also help ensure gender-sensitive design of adaptation projects, with appropriate equity analyses of policy (Klinsky et al., 2017) decisions to identify the actual implications of trade-offs for vulnerable groups (Beuchelt and Badstue, 2013; Alston, 2014; Bowen et al., 2017; Fuso Nerini et al., 2018).

In addition, a substantial literature also argues for policy coherence measures that adopt whole-of-government approaches and mainstream and nationalise SDG targets within national climate policies (Nilsson et al., 2012; Le Blanc, 2015; Ari, 2017; Collste et al., 2017; Dzebo et al., 2017; Nilsson and Weitz, 2019). Institutional coordination mechanisms that aim to break down silos between different agencies and actors at the national level are suggested as beneficial for avoiding trade-offs between adaptation actions and SDGs (Mirzabaev et al., 2015; Howlett and Saguin, 2018; Scherer et al., 2018). However, these need to be paired with an investigation of the deep-seated ideologies and vested interests that are creating goal conflicts and negatively impacting marginalised groups to begin with (Purdon, 2014; Bocquillon, 2018). Ultimately, adaptation measures need to acknowledge and address the underlying drivers that make certain groups particularly vulnerable, such as social disenfranchisement, unequal power dynamics and historical legacies of colonialism and exploitation (Magnan et al., 2016; Schipper, 2020)

Table Box 18.4.1 | Examples of linkages between adaptation and the SDGs. For several key SDGs aligned with the concept of CRD, the table below identifies evidence from the literature where adaptation policies and practices contribute to achievement of the SDG, as well as where they undermine achievement of the SDG.


Evidence of adaptation contributing to SDG

Evidence of adaptation undermining SDG

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

Adaptation measures implemented by smallholder farmers (e.g., adjustments in farm operations timing, on-farm diversification, soil–water management) exhibit higher levels of productivity and technical efficiency in food production (Bai et al., 2019; Sloat et al., 2020; Khanal et al., 2021)

Some climate smart agriculture measures (e.g., intercropping) can significantly increase yields and contribute to zero hunger (Lipper et al., 2014; Arslan et al., 2015; Saj et al., 2017)

Some adaptation policies can increase land and food prices, negatively impacting smallholder farmers (Fuso Nerini et al., 2018; Zavaleta et al., 2018; Albizua et al., 2019)

Potential trade-offs for food production through adaptation actions within the water or energy sector, if integrated approaches not taken (Howells et al., 2013; FAO, 2014; Biswas and Tortajada, 2016)

SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

Increased resilience of societies and reduced vulnerability through investments in public health care and access (Marmot, 2020; Mullins and White, 2020 )

Adaptation measures that leverage solidarity, equity and nature connectedness contribute to physical and psychological health and well-being (Gambrel and Cafaro, 2009; Capaldi et al., 2015; Soga and Gaston, 2016; Woiwode, 2020)

Societal measures beyond adaptation required to address underlying causes of inequities that drive poor health and well-being, including cuts in public spending and neoliberalisation and commodification of healthcare (Hall, 2020; Walsh and Dillard-Wright, 2020)

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Integrated water resources management as an adaptation strategy (Tan and Foo, 2018; Sadoff et al., 2020)

Potential trade-offs for water security through adaptation actions within the food or energy sector, if integrated approaches not taken (Howells et al., 2013; Rasul and Sharma, 2016; Mpandeli et al., 2018)

Local, regional or national ‘grabs’ for water from shared resources with poorly defined property rights (Olmstead, 2014)

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Vulnerability reducing adaptation measures that aim to upgrade informal settlements, create affordable housing and protect populations living in disaster prone areas (Major et al., 2018; Sanchez Rodriguez et al., 2018; Ajibade and Egge, 2019)

Need to ensure that adaptation measures understand how power dynamics and cultural norms shape urban form and communities’ vulnerability and adaptive capacity (Sanchez Rodriguez et al., 2018)

Risk of built infrastructure aiming to increase resilience ignoring local population needs and creating low-skilled jobs that concentrate land, capital and resources in the hands of the elite (Ajibade and Egge, 2019)

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Potential for adaptation projects to support livelihood incomes and resource management, and thereby reduce tensions and the risk of conflicts (Matthew, 2014; Dresse et al., 2018; Barnett, 2019)

Studies from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal found that climate change adaptation-related policies and projects were an underlying cause of natural resource-based conflicts, as well as land dispossession and exclusion, entrenchment of dependency relations, elite capture and inequity (Sovacool, 2018; Sultana et al., 2019)

Adaptation projects can reinforce top-down knowledge and decision-making processes, asymmetric power relations and elite capture of adaptation resources (Nightingale, 2017; Eriksen et al., 2021b)

Need for conflict-sensitive adaptation approaches that aim to ‘do no harm’ (Babcicky, 2013; Ide, 2020)

18.3 Transitions to Climate Resilient Development

A key finding emerging from the IPCC SR1.5 is the critical role that system transitions play in enabling mitigation pathways consistent with a 1.5°C or less world (IPCC, 2018a; IPCC, 2019b).Such transitions are similarly critical for the broader pursuit of CRD, and the various AR6 special reports as well as subsequent literature provide new evidence of why such transitions are needed for CRD, as well as both the opportunities for accelerating system transitions and their limitations for delivering on the goals of CRD.

18.3.1 System Transitions as a Foundation for Climate Resilient Development

In the AR6, system transitions are defined as ‘the process of changing (the system in focus) from one state or condition to another in a given period of time’ (IPCC, 2018a; IPCC, 2019b). In the climate change solution space, system transitions represent an important mechanism for linking and enabling mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development options and actions (very high confidence). SR1.5C identified the need for rapid and far-reaching transitions in four systems—energy, land and terrestrial ecosystems, urban and infrastructure, and industrial systems (IPCC, 2018b; IPCC, 2018a) (Sections 1.5.1 and 18.1). The SRCCL expanded on this with a focus on terrestrial systems, while SROCC added additional evidence from ocean and cryosphere systems. This section assesses the four system transitions discussed in the SR1.5C assessment in the context of CRD, while also extending the assessment to consider societal transitions as a cross-cutting, fifth transition important for CRD. Literature to support this assessment is also drawn from AR6 regional and sectoral chapters, which is synthesised later in this chapter (Section 18.5).

As discussed in Box 18.3 (Hölscher et al., 2018), system transitions are linked to system transformation, which is defined as ‘a change in the fundamental attributes of a system including altered goals or values’ (Figure 18.1) (IPCC, 2018a). In a systems context, transitions focus on ‘complex adaptive systems; social, institutional and technological change in societal sub-systems’, while transformations are ‘large scale societal change processes … involving social-ecological interactions (IPCC, 2018a) (Box 18.1). Although system transitions are often identified in the literature as being necessary processes for large-scale transformations (Roggema et al., 2012; Hölscher et al., 2018), thereby making them a core enabler of CRD, they are not necessarily transformative in themselves. Energy Systems

Recent observed changes in global energy systems include continued growth in energy demand, led by increased demand for electricity by industry and buildings (very high confidence)(Dhakal et al., 2022) . Growth in energy demand has also been driven by increased demand for industrial products, materials, building energy services, floor space and all modes of transportation. This growth in demand, however, has been moderated by improvements in energy efficiency in industry, buildings and transportation sectors (very high confidence) (Dhakal et al., 2022). There is also a trend of moving away from coal towards cleaner fuels, owing to lower natural gas prices and lower cost renewable technologies, and structural changes away from more energy-intensive industry.

Features of sustainable development, such as enhanced energy access, energy security, reductions in air pollution and economic growth, continue to be the dominant influence on the evolution of energy systems and decision making regarding energy investments and portfolios (very high confidence) (Clarke et al., 2022) . To date, climate policy has been comparatively less influential in driving energy transitions globally. Yet there are examples at the local, regional and national level of policy incentivising rapid changes in energy systems (very high confidence) (Clarke et al., 2022) . Many sustainable development priorities have co-benefits in terms of climate mitigation, such as air pollution and conservation policies reducing short-lived climate forcers and sequestering carbon respectively, as well adaptation benefits, such as improved energy access and environmental quality enhancing adaptive capacity (very high confidence) (Clarke et al., 2022) (de Coninck et al., 2018). Alternatively, sustainable development projects can have negative climate implications with, for instance, hydroelectric projects shut down by droughts or floods resulting in greater use of bunker and fuel oil, as well as natural gas.

In addition to sustainable development priorities driving change in energy systems, observed energy system trends have implications for sustainable development (e.g., IEA et al., 2019). Observed changes in energy system size, rate of growth, composition and operations impact energy access, equity, environmental quality and well-being, with both synergies and trade-offs, including recent improvements in global access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services. For instance, in some countries, such as the USA, there has been a significant shift away from coal as a fuel source for electricity generation in favour of natural gas. More recently, however, renewables have emerged as the dominant form of new electricity generation (Gielen et al., 2019). Similarly, for energy access in developing countries, renewable energy or hybrid distributed generation systems are increasingly being prioritised because of challenges associated with access, costs and environmental impacts from traditional fossil fuel-based energy technologies (Mulugetta et al., 2019).

Energy systems have been a historical driver of climate change, but are also adversely affected by climate change impacts, including short-term shocks and stressors from extreme weather as well as long-term shifts in climatic conditions (very high confidence). The potential for such factors is often incorporated into local system designs, operations and response strategies. There have been changes in observed weather and extreme event hazards for the energy system, but to date, many are not attributable solely to anthropogenic climate change (USGCRP, 2017; IPCC, 2021a). Nevertheless, with observed extremes shifting outside of what has been observed historically, existing design criteria and operations may not be optimal for future climate conditions and contingencies (Chapters 2 to 16). Overall, there is limited historical evidence on the efficacy of adaptation responses in reducing vulnerability of energy systems (high agreement , limited evidence). However, sustainable development trends, such as improving incomes, reducing poverty, and improving health and education have reduced vulnerability (Chapter 16), and improvements in system resiliency to extreme weather events and more efficient water management have occurred that have synergies with adaptation and sustainable development in general.

Available literature indicates that greenhouse gas emissions reductions have been achieved in response to climate actions including financial incentives to promote renewable energy, carbon taxes and emissions trading, removal of fossil fuel subsidies, and promotion of energy efficiency standards (very high confidence) (Clarke et al., 2022). Such policies tend to lead to a lower carbon intensity of GDP, due to structural changes in the use of energy and the adoption of new energy technologies. However, other drivers of change are also present and thus ongoing energy transitions and their future evolution are a response to both climatic and non-climatic considerations, with broader sustainable development priorities being a significant driver of change {Clarke, 2022 #4316.} Urban and Infrastructure Systems

Urban areas and their associated infrastructure are critical targets for CRD processes. This is a function of urban areas being the dominant settlement pattern, with over 55% of the global population living in cities (World Bank, 2021). As a consequence, urban areas are also the focal point for energy use, land use change and consumption of natural resources, thereby making them responsible for an estimated 70% of global CO2 emissions (Johansson et al., 2012; Ribeiro et al., 2019). The trend towards increasing urbanisation is anticipated to create both challenges and opportunities for sustainable development, as well as climate action (Güneralp et al., 2017; Li et al., 2019a).

The built environment is increasingly exposed to climate stresses and more frequent co-occurrences of climate shocks than in the past. This has the potential to increase rates of building and infrastructure degradation and increase damage from extreme weather events. The existing adaptation gaps and everyday risks within many cities, particularly those of the Global South, combined with escalating risk from climate change, makes rapid progress in enhancing urban resilience a high priority for CRD (Pelling et al., 2018; Davidson et al., 2019; Lenzholzer et al., 2020). Strategic investments in disaster risk reduction, including climate-resilient green infrastructure, updated building codes and land use planning can provide significant long-term cost savings and social benefits. Moreover, evaluating the relative merits of ‘fail safe’ versus ‘safe to fail’ approaches to infrastructure planning can help to identify more design principles that are more robust to the uncertainties of climate change and urbanisation (Kim et al., 2017a; Kim et al., 2019).

Much of the literature on urban resilience and sustainability focuses on addressing discrete challenges for urban infrastructure subsystems. Climate change has the potential to enhance stress on lifeline infrastructure services such as the provision of electricity, water and wastewater, communications and transportation—subsystems which are often underdeveloped in many regions of the world (Arku and Marais, 2021; Sitas et al., 2021). For example, a warming and more variable climate can increase stress on electricity grids by reducing transmission efficiency, increasing cooling demand requirements, and by increasing exposure to climate shocks such as heatwaves, floods and storms (Bartos and Chester, 2015; Auffhammer et al., 2017; Perera et al., 2020). Accordingly, a significant focus on the energy transition is on achieving the dual goals of reducing the carbon footprint of energy while also increasing resilience of energy supply to current and future threats. For example, renewable energy generation and storage technologies that are modular and distributed and provide enhanced resilience to shocks and stresses from climate change (Venema and Temmer, 2017a).

Similarly, building and maintaining urban water systems that are resilient to climate shocks requires significant changes in water demand, infrastructure and management. Enhancing redundancy in water supply and the flexibility to shift between surface and groundwater options aids adaptation. Decentralised water supply and sanitation options are now feasible and can provide greater resilience than most centralised systems (Parry, 2017), provided they have adequate supply (Leigh and Lee, 2019; Rabaey et al., 2020). Water conservation and green infrastructure options for stormwater management are proven approaches for reducing climate risks (Venema and Temmer, 2017b), with adaptation and mitigation co-benefits. Water demand management and rainwater harvesting contribute to climate change mitigation and increase adaptive capacity by increasing resilience to climate change impacts such as drought and flooding (Paton et al., 2014; Berry et al., 2015). In addition, they can contribute to restoring urban ecosystems that offer multiple ecosystem services to citizens (Berry et al., 2015) {Lwasa, 2022 #4317}. The context-appropriate development of green spaces, protecting ecosystem services and developing nature-based solutions, can increase the set of available urban adaptation options (IPCC, 2018b), while creating opportunities for more complex and dynamic approaches to urban water management (Franco-Torres et al., 2020). For example, the Netherlands’ ‘Room for the River’ policy focuses on not only achieving higher flood resilience, but also improving the quality of riverine areas for human and ecological well-being (Busscher et al., 2019).

An overarching focus of urban sustainability is the reversal of long-standing trends of ecosystem fragmentation and degradation that have resulted in growing separation between human and natural systems within urban environments (IPBES, 2019) (Lwasa et al., 2022). Urban ecosystems and the integration of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure into urban areas can yield benefits that facilitate achievement of the SDGs. There has been growing recognition of urban ecosystems as social, cultural and economic assets that can support economic development while also enhancing resilience to extreme weather events and improving air and water quality (Shaneyfelt et al., 2017; Matos et al., 2019). Investing in urban ecosystems and green infrastructure can provide lower-cost solutions to multiple urban development challenges when compared with traditional infrastructure systems (Terton, 2017). Relatedly, agriculture, while largely a rural system, is increasingly expanding within urban areas. Urban agriculture enables citizens to fulfil some of their food needs, improving urban resilience to food shortages, enhancing biodiversity and increasing coping capacity during disasters (Demuzere et al., 2014; Clucas et al., 2018) (Lwasa et al., 2022). Strengthening urban agroecosystems therefore increases resilience to supply shocks from climate change impacts and can contribute to community cohesion (Temmer, 2017a).

Overall, the discourse in the literature regarding the future of cities emphasises the importance of viewing cities as more than just their physical infrastructure that can be made more resilient through engineering solutions (Davidson et al., 2019). Rather, urban areas are increasingly conceptualised as complex socio-ecological or socio-technical systems (very high confidence) (Patorniti et al., 2017; Patorniti et al., 2018; Visvizi et al., 2018; Savaget et al., 2019). Such frameworks integrate physical, cyber, social and ecological elements of cities in pursuit of resilience and sustainability transitions, and they recognise the role of governance and engagement processes as being central to system change (Temmer, 2017b). Nevertheless, some authors have cautioned that urban transitions will be associated with synergies as well as trade-offs with respect to sustainable development (very high confidence) (Maes et al., 2019; Sharifi, 2020). Land, Oceans and Ecosystems

Land, oceans and terrestrial ecosystems are in transition globally, with anthropogenic factors including climate change being a major driving force (very high confidence) (IPBES, 2019) (Box 6). Seventy-five percent of the land surface has been significantly altered, 66% of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative impacts and over 85% of wetland areas have been lost (IPBES, 2019). Since 1970, only four out of eighteen recognised ecosystem services assessed have improved in their functioning: agricultural production, fish harvest, bioenergy production and material harvests. The other 14 ecosystem services have declined (IPBES, 2019), raising concerns about the capacity of ecosystems and their services to support sustainable and CRD.

Given the pressures on land, oceans and ecosystems, enhancing resilience to climate change and other pressures of human development is a core priority of transition in these systems. Yet there are a few recorded initiatives that provide evidence of successful improvement in ecosystem resilience (high agreement , limited evidence). Similarly, although there is significant evidence that a broad range of adaptation initiatives have been pursued across global regions and sectors, including a rapid expansion of nature- or ecosystem-based solutions (Mainali et al., 2020), there is limited evidence of how these planned climate adaptation efforts have contributed to enhanced ecosystem resilience. Additional research is necessary to evaluate these efforts in terms of their performance and also to identify mechanisms for scaling them up in different contexts. As an example, Paik et al. (Paik et al., 2020) record the increased diffusion of salt tolerant rice varieties in the Mekong River Delta, which is at risk of sea level rise and an associated saline intrusion. This is a low-cost adaption to saline ingress, that increases food productivity and reduces the risk of outmigration for this vulnerable agricultural region.

Evidence of the interactions between ecosystems and resilience come from a range of sources including both regional and sectoral examples (Box 18.2; Tables 18.7–18.8. For example, regional examples suggest that the use of land to produce biofuels could increase the resilience of production systems and address mitigation needs (Box 2.2). Nevertheless, the potential of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to induce maladaptation needs deeper analysis (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2019). Climate Smart Forestry (CSF) in Europe provides an example of the use of sustainable forest management to unlock the EU’s forest sector potential (Nabuurs et al., 2017). This is in response to diverse climate impacts ranging from pressure on spruce stocks in Norway and the Baltics, on regional biodiversity in the Mediterranean region, and the opportunity to use afforestation and reforestation to store carbon in forests (Nabuurs et al., 2019). CSF considers the full value chain from forest to wood products and energy and uses a wide range of measures to provide positive incentives to firmly integrate climate objectives into the forestry sector. CSF has three main objectives; (i) reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions; (ii) adapting and building forest resilience to climate change; and (iii) sustainably increasing forest productivity and incomes (Verkerk et al., 2020).

Other solutions focus on specific subsectors. Mutually supportive climate and land policies have the potential to save resources, amplify social resilience, support ecological restoration, and foster engagement and collaboration between multiple stakeholders (IPCC, 2019 f, C.1). Land-based solutions can combat desertification in specific contexts: water harvesting and micro-irrigation, restoring degraded lands using drought-resilient ecologically appropriate plants, agroforestry and other agroecological and ecosystem-based adaptation practices (IPCC, 2019 f, B.4.1). Reducing dust, sandstorms and sand dune movement can lessen the negative effects of wind erosion and improve air quality and health. Depending on water availability and soil conditions, afforestation, tree planting and ecosystem restoration programmes using native and other climate-resilient tree species with low water needs, can reduce sand storms, avert wind erosion and contribute to carbon sinks, while improving micro-climates, soil nutrients and water retention (IPCC, 2019 f, B.4.2).

Coastal blue carbon ecosystems, such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses, can help reduce the risks and impacts of climate change, with multiple co-benefits. Over 150 countries contain at least one of these coastal blue carbon ecosystems and over 70 contain all three. Successful implementation of measures of carbon storage in coastal ecosystems could assist several countries in achieving a balance between emissions and removal of greenhouse gases. Carbon storage in marine habitats can be up to 1,000 tC ha –1, higher than most terrestrial ecosystems. Conservation of these habitats would also sustain a wide range of ecosystem services, assist with climate adaptation by improving critical habitats for biodiversity, enhance local fishery production and protect coastal communities from sea level rise (SLR) and storm events (IPCC, 2019b). Ecosystem-based adaptation is a cost-effective coastal protection tool that can have many co-benefits, including supporting livelihoods, contributing to carbon sequestration and the provision of a range of other valuable ecosystem services (IPCC, 2019b).

Diversification of food systems is another component of land, ocean and ecosystem transitions that are consistent with CRD. Balanced diets, featuring plant-based foods such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal-sourced food produced in a resilient, sustainable and low-greenhouse gas (GHG) emission manner, are major opportunities for adaptation and mitigation and improving human health. By 2050, dietary changes could free several million km 2 of land and provide a mitigation potential of 0.7–8.0 Gt CO2-eq yr -1, relative to Business-As-Usual projections.

For coastal systems, many frameworks for climate resilience and adaptation have been developed since the AR5 (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2014; Settele et al., 2014) with substantial variations in approach between and within countries and across development status. Few studies have assessed the success of implementing these frameworks owing to the time-lag between implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting (IPCC, 2019g). As an example, the Nature-Based Climate Solutions for Oceans initiative has the potential to restore, protect and manage coastal and marine ecosystems, adapt to climate change, improve coastal resilience, and enhance their ability to sequester and store carbon (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2019).

Polar regions will be profoundly different in the future. The degree and nature of that difference will depend strongly on the rate and magnitude of global climate change, which will influence adaptation responses regionally and worldwide. Future climate-induced changes in the polar oceans, sea ice, snow and permafrost will drive habitat and biome shifts, with associated changes in the ranges and abundance of ecologically important species (IPCC, 2019g). Innovative tools and practices in polar resource management and planning show strong potential in improving society’s capacity to respond to climate change. Networks of protected areas, participatory scenario analysis, decision support systems and community-based ecological monitoring that draws on local and Indigenous knowledge and self-assessments of community resilience contribute to strategic plans for sustaining biodiversity and limit risk to human livelihoods and well-being. Experimenting, assessing and continually refining practices while strengthening links with decision making has the potential to ready society for the expected and unexpected impacts of climate change (IPCC, 2019g). Industrial Systems

Industrial emissions have been growing faster since 2000 compared with emissions in any other sector, driven by increased extraction and production of basic materials (Crippa et al., 2019; IEA, 2019) (very high confidence). About one-third of the total emissions are contributed by the industry sector, if indirect emissions from energy use are considered (Crippa et al., 2019). The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decrease in demand for fuels, oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy (IEA, 2020). However, there is concern that the rebound in the crisis will reverse this trend (IEA, 2020). Accordingly, the literature suggests a combined set of measures is beneficial for facilitation a transition of industrial systems in support of CRD. This includes (i) dematerialisation and decarbonisation of industrial systems, (ii) establishment of supportive governance, policies and regulations, and (iii) implementation of enabling corporate strategies.

Decarbonisation and dematerialisation strategies have been proposed as key drivers for the transition of industrial systems (Fischedick et al., 2014; Worrell et al., 2016). The former involves limiting carbon emissions from industrial processes (IEA, 2017; Hildingsson et al., 2019), while the latter involves improving material efficiency, developing circular economies, raw material demand management, environmentally friendly product and process innovations, and environmentally friendly supply chain management (Worrell et al., 2016; Petrides et al., 2018).

Recent modelling suggests that stocks of manufactured capital, including buildings, infrastructure, machinery and equipment, stabilise as countries develop and decouple from GDP (high agreement , medium evidence). For instance, Bleischwitz et al. (2018) confirmed the occurrence of a saturation effect for materials in four energy-intensive sectors (steel, cement, aluminum and copper) in five industrialised countries (Germany, Japan, the UK, the USA and China). High growth in the supply of materials may still drive global demand for new products in the coming years for developing countries that are still far from saturation levels. Therefore, accelerating industrial transitions to drive the decoupling of industrial emissions from economic growth and facilitate broader transformation in industrial systems can be one component of CRD.

Continued transitions in the industrial sector will be contingent on technological innovation. Although technologies exist to drive emissions in industrial sectors to very low or zero emissions, they require 5–15 years of innovation, commercialisation and intensive policies to ensure uptake (Åhman et al., 2017) (high agreement , medium evidence). For instance, several options exist to reduce GHG emissions related to steel production process including increasing the share of the secondary route (Pauliuk et al., 2013), hydrogen-based direct reduced iron (Vogl et al., 2018), aqueous electrolysis rout (Cavaliere, 2019) and plasma process (Quader et al., 2016).

Industrial transitions are also contingent upon consumer behaviour in terms of preferences for, and rates of, consumption of industrial products. Sustainable consumption can play an important role in sustainable production (Allwood et al., 2013; Allwood et al., 2019). This suggests feedbacks between industrial production and consumption in driving industrial transitions. For example, sustainable consumption could be triggered and/or enabled through sustainable production processes that provide more sustainable options to consumers as well as public or private promotional campaigns that promote those options. Meanwhile, demand from consumers for more sustainable options could help to drive the expansion of markets and innovation among industrial producers to meet that demand. However, some have argued that such promotional campaigns that target consumers do little to incentivize sustainable development and climate action (Farrell, 2015; Grydehøj and Kelman, 2017). Societal Systems

This chapter contributes a fifth system transition in addition to the four which have already been introduced by SR1.5: the societal systems transition. While society and people also feature in the other systems transitions, the purpose of defining a fifth transition is to explicitly highlight the challenges associated with changes in behaviour, attitudes, values and consciousness required to achieve CRD. One caveat of considering transitions in societal systems is the limit to which the nature of change is known: transitions accomplish reconfigurations towards a relatively known destination. Historical and current differences between and within nations translate to a multitude of equally valid but diverse priorities for development, for example the understanding of development towards progress as linear has been challenged as being a Western concept by scholars of colonialisation (Sultana et al., 2019). Thus, societal transitions are understood as being intrinsically diverse for the purpose of achieving CRD.

The four systems transitions identified in SR1.5 already include a component of societal change—for example, attitude change is part of public acceptance that facilitates shifts in energy including changing electricity to renewables (Chapter 4 SR1.5, Section and developing nuclear power (Section, and behavioural change is a part of shifting irrigation practices to drive required land and ecosystems transitions (Section Extracting societal transitions also allows for a detailed examination of other societal dimensions that facilitate systems transitions, for example justice issues relating to water and energy access and distribution, and land use. Societal transition, sometimes known as ‘societal transformation’, is an established concept in different literatures, as described below. Transformation and transition are terms often used as synonyms (Hölscher et al., 2018), although different schools of thought understand them as sub-components of each other, for example transition driving transformation, or transformation driving transition. For a more detailed discussion on the differences between transition and transformation represented in the literature, see Box 18.1.

Societal transitions for the purpose of this report are understood as the collection of shifts in attitudes, values, consciousness and behaviour required to move towards CRD. This builds on the SR1.5 (IPCC, 2018a: 599) definition of societal (social) transformation: ‘A profound and often deliberate shift initiated by communities towards sustainability, facilitated by changes in individual and collective values and behaviours, and a fairer balance of political, cultural, and institutional power in society’. This includes accepting Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge (IKLK) as an equally valid form of knowledge as compared with Western, scientific knowledge (see Cross-Chapter Box INDIG) and recognition of the role of shifting gender norms to achieve climate resilience (see Cross-Chapter Box GENDER). Changes associated with societal transitions are not specific to defined systems (e.g., energy, industry, land/ecosystems or urban/infrastructure). Rather, these sectoral systems are embedded within broader societal systems, including for example political systems, economic systems, knowledge systems and cultural systems (Davelaar, 2021; Turnhout et al., 2021; Visseren-Hamakers et al., 2021). Changes that happen in these broader social systems can therefore prompt changes in all systems embedded within them, meaning that societal transition is key to transforming across a range of sectors and topics (Leventon et al., 2021). Furthermore, societal transition requires changes in individual behaviours, but also in the broader conditions that shape these behaviours. These broader conditions are largely related to questions of power, in enforcing dominant political economies and social-technological mindsets (Stoddard et al., 2021). This section also briefly describes the various trains of research on societal transitions and transformation.

Because of the multiple sectors, interests and scales that are involved in societal transitions, understanding and creating evidence on transitions requires shifting across system boundaries and finding ways to transcend disciplinary silos. Relevant research includes work within the topic of transformation and transitions (Hölscher et al., 2018). Transformations literature can be split into multiple sub-concepts and requires engagement with multiple schools of thought (Feola, 2015; Feola et al., 2021). Much focus within transformations research is currently related to biodiversity conservation (Massarella et al., 2021), and transitions work tends towards a focus in urban areas (Loorbach et al., 2017). Though there is also work in both that is more broadly labelled as sustainability transformations or transitions (Luederitz et al., 2017). Furthermore, there is likely to be much relevant literature that does not explicitly label itself as transformations or transitions (Feola et al., 2021). For example, we could look to political science theories on policy change (Leventon et al., 2021) and historical perspectives on social change. Bridging these divides will require a deeper rethinking in the research community to undo power structures that marginalise diverse knowledge (Caniglia et al., 2021; Lahsen and Turnhout, 2021).

There are a number of concepts proposed as pathways to creating societal transitions; usually centred around the idea of working with individuals and communities to change their mindsets as a way to change the way they manage their local environments or behave. Transformations work explores how values are pathways towards sustainability, for example by changing values, through making values explicit, through negotiation and by eliciting values (Horcea-Milcu et al., 2019). Human nature connections is a further concept that is identified as a way to shift values and behaviours across a range of disciplines (Ives et al., 2017). The role of learning and Indigenous knowledge is also explored (Lam et al., 2020). These three concepts have had particular salience in discussions around transformations for biodiversity conservation and restoration, related to the IPBES assessment on Values (Pascual et al., 2017; Peterson et al., 2018). They largely focus on the need to engage with people’s values, connections and knowledge to better manage the social–ecological system they are in.

Focusing on bottom-up and community-led transformations, there is emphasis on the role of grassroots organisations in transformations. Community actions around specific locations or topics have parallels to the idea of transformative spaces. They are sites of innovative activity (Seyfang and Smith, 2007). Grassroots organisations can bridge the local and the political scales by politicising actors and creating new interactions between individuals and political processes (Novák, 2021). They are a collective approach to pushing for both individual and societal change (Sage et al., 2021).

Despite a current lack of empirical evidence, there are numerous frameworks emerging for exploring societal transitions across levels. There is focus on pathways for sustainability transitions, which tends to look at projected, normative scenarios for the future, and explore or back-cast the institutional and societal changes that are required to get there (Westley et al., 2011; Sharpe et al., 2016). There is also work that looks at scaling up of smaller sustainability initiatives, through processes of scaling up, scaling out and scaling deep (Moore et al., 2015; Lam et al., 2020). In particular, systems thinking provides an organising framework for bringing together multiple disciplines and perspectives, to understand problem framings, and normative and design aspects of social systems and behaviours (Foster-Fishman et al., 2007). Within this, Meadows (1999) framework of leverage points for systems transformation has been operationalised within the sustainability transformations debate (Abson et al., 2017). Here, system properties relating to system paradigms and design are leverage points where interventions can create greatest system change; shallower leverage points relate to materials and processes. This framework is increasingly being used across a range of sustainability problems as boundary objects for cross-disciplinary, critical research (Fischer and Riechers, 2019; Leventon et al., 2021; Riechers et al., 2021).

Analyses of societal transitions have had limited engagement with adaptation questions. The focus of the sub-field of sustainability transitions on a few industrialised nations, mostly in North America and Europe, limited the field’s development to assumptions born from the experiences in those areas. More recent studies have sought to understand sustainability transitions in other countries, especially emerging economies (Wieczorek, 2018; Köhler et al., 2019). In particular, China has received attention from scholars on sustainability transitions (Huang et al., 2018; Lo and Castán Broto, 2019; Castán Broto et al., 2020; Huang and Sun, 2020). As a result, some pressing issues related to societal transitions for adaptation have received limited attention compared with that paid to other system transitions. However, more recently, scholarship has begun examining transitions that have turned to nature and nature-based solutions. Adaptive transitions are an intermediary step towards sustainability transitions, whereby multiple actions at material and institutional levels are combined towards improving adaptation outcomes (Pant et al., 2015; Scarano, 2017).

Box 18.5 | The Role of Ecosystems in Climate Resilient Development

Ecosystems and their services closely relate to climate resilient development (CRD). Climate change has impacted ecosystems across a range of scales, and those impacts have been exacerbated by other ecological impacts associated with human activities. Ecosystem-based adaptation strategies have been developed and are crucial to CRD. However, knowledge and evidence still missing, and cultural services—in contrast to provision and regulation services as main benefits and supporting services as co-benefits—are less well addressed in the literature.

Ecosystems Play a Key Role in CRD

A key element of CRD is ensuring that actions taken to mitigate climate change do not compromise adaptation, biodiversity and human needs. Maintaining ecosystem health, linked to planetary health, is an integral part of the goals of CRD. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) defined ecosystem services as ‘the benefits people obtain from ecosystems’, and categorised the services in to provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural services (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005; IPBES, 2019). The 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) broadened the definition to ‘the contributions, both positive and negative, of living nature to the quality of life for people’, and developed a classification of 18 categories (IPBES, 2019).

Table Box 18.5.1 demonstrates how ecosystem services connect to sustainable development goals (SDGs) and CRD. MEA’s provisioning service generally connects to the IPBES’ material services, mostly contributing to the SDG cluster associated with nature’s contribution to people (NCP) (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005; IPBES, 2019) and to ‘D evelopment’ in CRD. MEA’s regulating and supporting services connect to IPBES’ non-material services, contributing to SDG clusters of Nature and Driver of change in nature and NCP and to ‘R esilience’ in CRD. MEA’s cultural services connect to IPBES’ non-material services, contributing to SDG clusters of good quality of lift (GQL) and to E nabling conditions for CRD.

Table Box 18.5.1 | Ecosystem services (based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment [MEA] and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services [IPBES] classifications) and their connections to sustainable development goals (SDGs) and climate resilient development (CRD) (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005; IPBES, 2019).

Ecosystem services





P rovisioning services

11 Energy

12 Food and feed

13 Materials and assistance

14 Medicinal, biochemical and genetic resources

1 No poverty

2 Zero hunger

3 Good health and well-being

11 Sustainable cities communities

7 Affordable clean energy

8 Decent work and economic growth

9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

12 Responsible consumption and production

D evelopment

R egulating services

3 Regulation of air quality

4 Regulation of climate

5 Regulation of ocean acidification

6 Regulation of freshwater quantity, location and timing

7 Regulation of freshwater and coastal water quality

9 Regulation of hazards and extreme events

10 Regulation of organisms detrimental to humans

6 Clean water and sanitation

13 Climate action

C limate adaptation and mitigation

S upporting services

1 Habitat creation and maintenance

2 Pollination and dispersal of seeds

8 Formation, protection and decontamination of soils and sediments

18 Maintenance of options

14 Life below water

15 Life on land

C ultural services

15 Learning and inspiration

16 Physical and psychological experiences

17 Supporting identities

4 Quality education

5 Gender equality

10 Reduce inequality

16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

17 Partnerships for the goals

E nabling conditions

Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystems and their Services

Climate change connects to ecosystem services through two links: climate change and its influence on ecosystems as well as its influence on services (Section 2.2). The key climatic drivers are changes in temperature, precipitation and extreme events, which are unprecedented over millennia and highly variable by regions (Sections 2.3, 3.2; Cross-Chapter Box EXTREMES in Chapter 2). These climatic drivers influence physical and chemical conditions of the environment and worsen the impacts of non-climate anthropogenic drivers including eutrophication, hypoxia and sedimentation (Section 3.4). Such changes have led to changes in terrestrial, freshwater, oceanic and coastal ecosystems at all different levels, from species shifts and extinctions, to biome migration, and to ecosystem structure and processes changes (Sections 2.4, 2.5, 3.4, Cross-Chapter Box MOVING PLATE in Chapter 5). Changes in ecosystems leads to changes in ecosystem services including food and limber prevision, air and water quality regulation, biodiversity and habitat conservation, and cultural and mental support (Sections 2.4, 3.5). Table Box 18.5.2 presents examples of climate change’s impact on ecosystems and their services from other chapters in the WGII report. The degradation of ecosystem services is felt disproportionately by people who are already vulnerable because of historical and systemic injustices, including women and children in low-income households, Indigenous or other minority groups, small-scale producers and fishing communities, and low-income countries (Sections 3.5, 4.3, 5.13).

Box 18.5

Table Box 18.5.2 | Examples of key risks to ecosystems from climate change and their connections to ecosystem services (ES) in the WGII report and cross-chapter papers (CCPs). (See Table 1 for the description of the categories of ES)

Climate factors

Key risk






Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems (Chapters 2, 4, 5; CCP 1; CCP 7; CCP 3; CCP 5)

  • Increase in average and extreme temperatures
  • Changes in precipitation amount and timing
  • Increase in aridity
  • Increase in frequency and severity of drought
  • Increased atmospheric CO2

Species extinction and range shifts




Ecosystem structure and process change



Ecosystem carbon loss






Water cycle and scarcity



Ocean and coastal (Chapter 3; CCP 1; CCP 6)

  • Ocean warming
  • Marine heatwaves
  • Ocean acidification
  • Loss of oxygen
  • Sea level rise
  • Increased atmospheric CO2
  • Extreme events

Species extinction and range shifts




Ecosystem structure and process change



Habitat loss



Ocean carbon sink less effective


Erosion and land loss



Food, fibre and other ecosystem products (Chapter 5)

  • Global warming
  • Water stress
  • Extreme events
  • Ocean acidification
  • Salt intrusion

Species distribution


Timing of key biological events change


Corp productivity and quality decrease


Diseases and insect


Adaptation Practices and Enabling Conditions for CRD

Ecosystem protection and restoration, ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA), and nature-based solutions (NBS) can lower climate risk to people and achieve multiple benefits including food and material provision, climate mitigation and social benefits (Sections 2.6, 3.6, 4.6, 5.13, 6.3, 8.6). Table Box 18.5.3 presents some examples of ecosystem adaptation practices reported in WGII sectoral and regional chapters and CCPs, as well as their co-benefits, potential for maladaptation and enabling conditions. Many of the strategies focus on integrated systems (managing for multiple objectives and trade-offs) as well as the fair use of resources. However, there is limited evidence of the extent to which adaptation is taking place and virtually no evaluation of the effectiveness of adaptation in the scientific literature (Sections 2.6, 3.5). Enabling conditions for the successful implementation ecosystem-based practice include regional and community-based based approaches, multi-stakeholder and multi-level governance approaches, Integration of local knowledge and Indigenous knowledge, finance and social equity (Sections 2.6, 3.6).

Table Box 18.5.3 | Examples of adaptation practices and their connections to ecosystem services (ES) and climate resilient development pathways (CRDP) in the WGII sectoral and regional chapters and cross-chapter papers (CCPs). (See Table 1 for the description of the categories of ES and CRDP)

Adaptation practices (and –examples)

Main benefit (and & co-benefit; – trade off; + enabling conditions; X barrier and potential maladaptation)






Agroforestry (Table 2.7; Table 5 ES; Section 5.10.4; Section; Box 5.10; Table 16.2)

  • Climate Adaptation and Maladaptation in Cocoa and Coffee Production (Box 5.7)

Food provision

  1. & Fuel (wood) provision, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, diversification and improved economic incomes, water and soil conservation, and aesthetics
  1. + Secure tenure arrangements, supporting Indigenous knowledge, inclusive networks and socio-cultural values, access to information and management skill
  1. X Higher water demand; disruption of hydrology; loss of native biodiversity; reduced resilience of certain plants; degraded soil and water quality; improper and increased use of agrochemicals, pesticides and fertilizers




Forest maintenance and restoration (Box 2.2; Table 16.2; Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2)

Ecosystem conservation

  1. & Food provision, fuel provision, job creation, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, air quality regulation, water and soil conservation, vector-borne disease control, improved mental health, cultural benefits, natural resources relative conflict prevention
  1. +Cooperation of Indigenous peoples and other local communities
  1. X Planting large-scale non-native monocultures leads to loss of biodiversity and poor climate change resilience, increased vulnerability to landslide, increased sensitivity of new tree species, reduced resilience of certain plants, high water demand, trees planted damaged buildings during heavy storms, lack of carbon rights in national legislations





Traditional practices/Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge (IKLK) (Table 2.7; Section 5.6.3; Section 5.1 4.2.2; Table 16.2)

  • Crop and Livestock Farmers on Observed Changes in Climate in the Sahel (Box 5.6)
  • Karuk Tribe in Northern California (Section

Food and material provision

  1. & Carbon sequestration
  1. + Partnerships between key stakeholders such as researchers, forest managers and local actors, Indigenous and local knowledge



Restoring natural fire regimes (Table 2.7)

  • Protecting Gondwanan wildfire refugia in Tasmania, Australia (Section

Fire regulation

  1. & Biodiversity conservation


Natural flood risk management (Table 2.7)

Water security, flood regulation, sediment retention

  1. & Biodiversity and ecosystem conservation



Coastal ecosystem conservation (Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2) (Tables 16.2, 2.7)

Coastal protection against sea level rise and storm surges

  1. & Fisheries, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, flood regulation, water purification, recreation and cultural benefits
  1. X NH4 emissions, digging channels and sand walls around homes, loss of recreational value of beaches, shifted the flood impacts to poor informal urban settlers, erosion and degraded coastal lands




Eco-tourism within protected areas (Table 2.7)


  1. & Habitat protection



Aquaculture (Section 5.9.4; Table 16.2; Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2)

Food provision

  1. & Biodiversity conservation
  1. +Farmer incentives, participatory adaptation to context
  1. X Lack of financial, technical or institutional capacity; short value chains; productivity varies by system; over-fertilising; deforestation of mangroves; salt intrusion; increased flood vulnerability



Water–energy–food (WEF) nexus (Box 4.7)

  • Food Water Energy Nexus in Asia (Section 10.6.3)
  • New Zealand’s Land, Water and People Nexus under a Changing Climate (Box 11.7)

Water, energy and food provision

  1. X Insufficient data, information, and knowledge in understanding the WEF inter-linkages; lack of systematic tools to address trade-offs involved in the nexus


Urban greening (Tables 2.7, 16.2; Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2)

Urban flood management, water savings, urban heat island mitigation

  1. & Reduced carbon emissions, air and noise regulation, improved mental health, energy savings, recreation and aesthetics
  1. + Meaningful partnerships, long-term financial commitments and significant political and administrative
  1. X Storage of large quantities of water in the home; water contamination; increased breeding sites for mosquitoes and flies; vectors and diseases; intensified cultivation of marginal lands; clearing of virgin forests for farmland; frequent weeding; increased competition for water and nutrients; reduced soil fertility, invasive species



Box 18.5

Box 18.5

Table 18.3 | Specific options for facilitating the five system transitions that can support CRD




Energy systems

Fuel switching from coal to natural gas

Expansion of renewable energy technologies

Financial incentives to promote renewable energy

Reduced energy intensity of industry

Improvements in power system resilience and reliability

Increased water use efficiency in electricity generation

Energy demand management strategies

(Gielen et al., 2019); (Mulugetta et al., 2019); (IEA et al., 2019); AR6 WGIII Chapter 2

Urban and infrastructure systems

Increased investment in physical and social infrastructure

Enhance urban and regional planning

Enhanced governance and institutional capacity supports post-disaster recovery and reconstruction (Kull, 2016)

(IPCC, 2018b): D3.1)

Land, oceans and ecosystems

Expanding access to agricultural and climate services

Strengthening land tenure security and access to land

Empowering women farmers

Improved access to markets

Facilitating payments for ecosystem services

Promotion of healthy and sustainable diets

Enhancing multi-level governance by supporting local management of natural resources

Strengthening cooperation between institutions and actors

Building on local, indigenous and scientific knowledge funding, and institutional support

Monitoring and forecasting

Education and climate literacy and social learning and participation

(IPCC, 2019 f): C2.1; (IPCC, 2019 f): C4.5; (IPCC, 2019 f): C4

Industrial systems

Promote material efficiency and high-quality circularity

Materials demand management (IEA 2019, 2020)

Application of new processes and technologies for GHG emission reduction

Carbon pricing or regulations with provisions on competitiveness to drive innovation and systemic carbon efficiency

Low-cost, long-term financing mechanisms to enable investment and reduce risk

Better planning of transport infrastructure

Labour market training and transition support

Electricity market reform

Regulations—standards and labelling, material efficiency

Mandating technologies and targets

Green taxes and carbon pricing, preferential loans and subsidies

Voluntary action agreements, expanded producer responsibilities

Information programmes: monitoring, evaluation, partnerships, and research and development

Government provisioning of services—government procurements, technology push and market-pull

(Åhman et al., 2017; Bataille et al., 2018; Material, 2019); (Tanaka, 2011; Schwarz et al., 2020); (Ciwmb, 2003); (Romero Mosquera, 2019); (Tanaka, 2011); (Ryan et al., 2011; Boyce, 2018); (Taylor, 2008); (UNEP, 2018b); (Kaza et al., 2018); (Söderholm and Tilton, 2012); (Bataille et al., 2018); (Ghisetti et al., 2017); (Taylor, 2008; Fischedick et al., 2014; Hansen and Lema, 2019); (Crippa et al., 2019; IEA, 2019); (Cavaliere, 2019; IEA, 2020); Vogl et al. (2018); (Pauliuk et al., 2013; Quader et al., 2016)

Societal systems

Inclusive governance

Empowerment of excluded stakeholders, especially women and youth

Transforming economies

Finance and technology aligned with local needs

Overcoming uneven consumption and production patterns

Allowing people to live a life in dignity and enhancing their capabilities

Involving local governments, enterprises and civil society organisations across different scales

Reconceptualising development around well-being rather than economic growth (Gupta and Pouw, 2017),

Rethinking, prevailing values, ethics and behaviour

Improving decision making processes that incorporate diverse values and world views

Creating space for negotiating diverse interests and preferences

(Fazey et al., 2018b; O’Brien, 2018; Patterson et al., 2018); (MRFCJ, 2015; Dumont et al., 2019); (Popescu et al., 2017; David Tàbara et al., 2018); (de Coninck and Sagar, 2015; IEA, 2015; Parikh et al., 2018); (Dearing et al., 2014; Häyhä et al., 2016; Raworth, 2017); (Klinsky and Winkler, 2018); (Hajer et al., 2015; Labriet et al., 2015; Hale, 2016; Pelling et al., 2016; Kalafatis, 2017; Lyon, 2018); (Holden et al., 2017); (Cundill et al., 2014; Butler et al., 2016; Ensor, 2016; Fazey et al., 2016; Gorddard et al., 2016; Aipira et al., 2017; Chung Tiam Fook, 2017; Maor et al., 2017); (O’Brien and Selboe, 2015; Gillard et al., 2016; DeCaro et al., 2017; Harris et al., 2018; Lahn, 2018; Roy et al., 2018); Sections 5.6.1 and

18.3.2 Accelerating Transitions

Successfully implementing climate actions and managing trade-offs between mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development (Section 18.2.4) has important time considerations that imply significant urgency, making substantive progress in system transitions critical for CRD. Both the SDGs and the Sendai Framework, for example, have target dates of 2030. Meanwhile, the Paris Agreement sets specific time horizons for NDCs and the SR1.5 indicated that limiting warming to 1.5°C would similarly require substantial climate action by 2030 (IPCC, 2018a). While the literature is unambiguous regarding the need for significant system transitions to achieve CRD (Section 18.1.3), the current pace of global emissions reductions, poverty alleviation and development of equitable systems of governance is incommensurate with these policy time tables (Rogelj et al., 2010; Burke et al., 2016; Oleribe and Taylor-Robinson, 2016; Kriegler et al., 2018; Frank et al., 2019; Sadoff et al., 2020). As noted previously in the AR5, ‘delaying action in the present may reduce options for climate-resilient pathways in the future’ (Denton et al., 2014: 1123). Accordingly, significant acceleration in the pace of system transitions is necessary to enable the implementation of mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development initiatives consistent with CRD (very high confidence).

Studies since the AR5 directly address the issue of how to accelerate transitions within the broader system transitions, sustainability transitions and socio-technical transitions literature (Frantzeskaki et al., 2017; Gliedt et al., 2018; Gorissen et al., 2018; Johnstone and Newell, 2018; Kuokkanen et al., 2019; Markard et al., 2020). Such literature explores several core themes to facilitate acceleration, which are aligned with the discussion later in this chapter on arenas of engagement for CRD (Section 18.4.3). One dominant theme is accelerating the implementation of sustainability or low-carbon policies that target specific sectors or industries (Bhamidipati et al., 2019). For example, Altenburg and Rodrik (Altenburg and Rodrik, 2017) discuss green industrial polices including taxes, mandated technology phase outs and the removal of subsidies as means of constraining polluting industries. Kivimaa et al. (Kivimaa and Martiskainen, 2018; Kivimaa et al., 2019a; Kivimaa et al., 2019b; Kivimaa et al., 2020) and Vihemäki et al. (2020) discuss low-carbon transitions in buildings, noting the important role that intermediaries play in facilitating policy reform. Nikulina et al. (2019) identify mechanisms for facilitating policy change in personal mobility including political leadership, combining carrots and sticks to incentivise behavioural change and challenging current policy frameworks. These various examples reflect a fragmented approach to system transitions, suggesting a large portfolio of such transition initiatives would be required to accelerate change or more fundamental and cross-cutting policy drivers are needed (high agreement , limited evidence). Policies that seek to promote social justice and equity, for example, could ultimately catalyse a broader range of sustainability and climate actions than policies designed to address a specific sector or class of technology (Delina and Sovacool, 2018 ; White, 2020).

In contrast with formal government policies, a second theme in accelerating transitions is that of civic engagement (see also Section 18.4.3), which is reported to be an important opportunity for driving transitions forward (high agreement , medium evidence). Ehnert et al. (2018) describe local organisations and civic engagement in policy processes as an important engine for sustainability activities in European states. Similarly, Ruggiero et al. (2021) note the potential to use civic organisations to appeal to local identities in order to mobilise citizens to pursue energy transition initiatives among communities in the Baltic Sea region. Gernert et al. (2018) attribute such influence to the ability of grassroots movements to bypass traditional social and political norms and thereby experiment with new behaviours and processes. Moreover, civic engagement is also the foundation for collective action including protest and civil disobedience (Welch and Yates, 2018, Section However, Haukkala (2018) observes that while green-transition coalitions in Finland could be an agent of change driving energy transitions, the diversity of views among the various grassroots actors could make consensus building difficult, thereby slowing transition initiatives.

A third theme is that of innovation, generally, and sustainability-oriented innovation, specifically (de Vries et al., 2016; Geradts and Bocken, 2019; Loorbach et al., 2020), which creates opportunities for overcoming existing transition barriers (very high confidence). For example, Valta (2020) describes the role of innovation ecosystems—partnerships among companies, investors, governments and academics—in accelerating innovation (see also World Economic Forum, 2019). Burch et al. (Burch et al., 2016) describe the role of small- and medium-sized business entrepreneurship in promoting rapid innovation. Innovation extends beyond pure technology considerations to consider innovation in practices and social organisation (Li et al., 2018; Psaltoglou and Calle, 2018; Repo and Matschoss, 2020). Zivkovic (2018), for example, discusses ‘innovation labs’ as accelerators for addressing so-called wicked problems such as climate change through multi-stakeholder groups. Meanwhile, Chaminade and Randelli (2020) describe a case study where structural preconditions and place-based agency were important drivers of transitions to organic viticulture in Tuscany, Italy.

The fourth theme is that of transition management (Goddard and Farrelly, 2018), particularly vis-à-vis, disruptive technologies (Iñigo and Albareda, 2016; Kuokkanen et al., 2019) or broader societal disruptions (Brundiers, 2020; Davidsson, 2020; Hepburn et al., 2020; Schipper et al., 2020b). Recent literature has given attention to how actors can use disruptive events, such as disasters, as a window of opportunity for accelerating changes in policies, practices and behaviours (high agreement , medium evidence) (Brundiers, 2018; Brundiers and Eakin, 2018). This is consistent with concepts in resilience thinking around ‘building back better’ after disasters (Fernandez and Ahmed, 2019). For example, Hepburn et al. discuss fiscal recovery packages for COVID-19 as a means of accelerating climate action, with a particular influence on clean physical infrastructure, building efficiency retrofits, investment in education and training, natural capital investment, and clean research and development (Andrijevic et al., 2020b).

Table 18.2 | Emissions pathway regional characteristics from WGIII scenarios database for pathways associated with different global warming levels (1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C and 4°C). Sample sizes: n= 2, 120–126, 56, and 26 emissions pathways for 1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C and 4°C global warming levels, respectively. Sample size ranges indicate that the sample size varies by variable due to differences in model reporting. Sample size varies by warming level due to model infeasibilities and differences in model reporting.


Peak global warming to 2100


Latin America

Middle East/Africa


Reforming economies


Peak CO2 emissions year









2015 to 2030

2010 to 2035

2010 to 2030

2010 to 2020

2015 to 2030



2020 to 2080

2010 to 2100

2030 to 2100

2010 to 2020

2015 to 2100



2025 to 2100

2010 to 2100

2070 to 2100

2010 to 2100

2040 to 2100



Peak global warming to 2100


Latin America

Middle East/Africa


Reforming economies












Net CO2 emissions (% change from 2010)


−18 to −24%

−73 to −69%

−61 to −57%

−94 to −92%

−26 to −1%

−65 to −50%

−50 to −46%

−91 to −90%

−42 to −41%

−92 to −91%



−31 to 38%

−89 to −33%

−62 to 31%

−98 to −3%

−30 to 67%

−73 to −1%

−51 to −13%

−97 to −59%

−52 to 32%

−105 to −30%



10 to 50%

−5 to 49%

−58 to 16%

−132 to 50%

7 to 84%

33 to 101%

−44 to 2%

−67 to −12%

−18 to 33%

−37 to 41%



26 to 76%

37 to 103%

−49 to 5%

−41 to 22%

19 to 121%

78 to 225%

−34 to −8%

−53 to −7%

−13 to 38%

0 to 53%


Energy consumption growth (% change from 2010)


48 to 48%

49 to 62%

23 to 27%

26 to 39%

40 to 46%

55 to 62%

−15 to −12%

−43 to −28

−21 to −15%

−41 to −34%



17 to 90%

16 to 130%

3 to 72%

12 to 160%

18 to 82%

43 to 145%

−16 to 10%

−35 to 11%

−15 to 37%

−33 to 29%



43 to 80%

70 to 129%

−9 to 74%

17 to 170%

21 to 82%

79 to 174%

−16 to 13%

−29 to 21%

−3 to 37%

−15 to 86%



47 to 91%

73 to 175%

19 to 65%

34 to 137%

46 to 95%

91 to 197%

−9 to 3%

−21 to 18%

−8 to 18%

−4 to 27%


Fossil energy use growth (% change from 2010


7 to 8%

−34 to 34%

−9 to −6%

−53 to −46%

15 to 25%

−23 to −20%

−42 to −38%

−81 to −76%

−38 to −34%

−81 to −80%



−33 to 64%

−73 to 14%

−20 to 65%

−78 to 61%

−6 to 71%

−78 to 61%

−47 to −8%

−81 to −32%

−51 to 31%

−85 to −5%



15 to 70%

29 to 89%

−20 to 65%

3 to 124%

7 to 79%

31 to 158%

−37 to 3%

−57 to 3%

−24 to 32%

−30 to 43%



38 to 88%

59 to 149%

10 to 63%

21 to 149%

41 to 115%

103 to 247%

−26 to −5%

−45 to −1%

14 to 18%

−5 to 32%


Electricity consumption growth (% change from 2010)


159 to 165%

330 to 417%

91 to 93%

275 to 338%

119 to 132%

500 to 588%

3 to 12%

32 to 86%

28 to 30%

67 to 116%



41 to 231%

120 to 580%

34 to 127%

140 to 489%

64 to 172%

177 to 801%

−2 to 33%

18 to 143%

−1 to 112%

36 to 187%



57 to 198%

126 to 472%

34 to 129%

140 to 348%

75 to 175%

260 to 600%

−3 to 39%

10 to 128%

3 to 112%

38 to 221%



107 to 208%

203 to 478%

47 to 123%

156 to 320%

84 to 200%

332 to 586%

1 to 33%

20 to 88%

36 to 83%

78 to 143%


Growth in electricity share of energy consumption (% change from 2010)


76 to ‘79%

188 to 219%

53 to 56%

198 to 215%

56 to 60%

288 to 324%

22 to 27%

132 to 160%

54 to 61%

182 to228%



−6 to 79%

13 to 240%

9 to 85%

43 to 238%

13 to 94%

77 to 386%

−7 to 42%

22 to 182%

−8 to 75%

7 to 262%



−2 to 76%

6 to 158%

7 to 85%

37 to 180%

13 to 94%

70 to 204%

14 to 39%

8 to 112%

−4 to 57%

7 to 127%



29 to 72%

41 to 150%

20 to 46%

37 to 103%

26 to 57%

70 to 149%

9 to 33%

22 to 79%

26 to 58%

43 to 102%


Cross-Chapter Box GENDER | Gender, Climate Justice and Transformative Pathways

Authors: Anjal Prakash (India), Cecilia Conde (Mexico), Ayansina Ayanlade (Nigeria), Rachel Bezner Kerr (Canada/USA), Emily Boyd (Sweden), Martina A Caretta (Sweden), Susan Clayton (USA), Marta G. Rivera Ferre (Spain), Laura Ramajo Gallardo (Chile), Sharina Abdul Halim (Malaysia), Nina Lansbury (Australia), Oksana Lipka (Russia), Ruth Morgan (Australia), Joyashree Roy (India), Diana Reckien (the Netherlands/Germany), E. Lisa F. Schipper (Sweden/UK), Chandni Singh (India), Maria Cristina Tirado von der Pahlen (Spain/USA), Edmond Totin (Benin), Kripa Vasant (India), Morgan Wairiu (Solomon Islands), Zelina Zaiton Ibrahim (Malaysia).

Contributing Authors: Seema Arora-Jonsson (Sweden/India), Emily Baker (USA), Graeme Dean (Ireland), Emily Hillenbrand (USA), Alison Irvine (Canada), Farjana Islam (Bangladesh/ UK), Katriona McGlade (UK/Germany), Hanson Nyantakyi-Frimpong (Ghana), Nitya Rao (UK/India), Federica Ravera (Italy), Emilia Reyes (Mexico), Diana Hinge Salili (Fiji), Corinne Schuster-Wallace (Canada), Alcade C. Segnon (Benin), Divya Solomon (India), Shreya Some (India), Indrakshi Tandon (India), Sumit Vij (India), Katharine Vincent (UK/South Africa), Margreet Zwarteveen (the Netherlands)

Key Messages

  • Gender and other social inequities (e.g., racial, ethnic, age, income, geographic location) compound vulnerability to climate change impacts (high confidence). Climate justice initiatives explicitly address these multi-dimensional inequalities as part of a climate change adaptation strategy (Box 9.2: Vulnerability Synthesis: Differential Vulnerability by Gender and Age in Chapter 9).
  • Addressing inequities in access to resources, assets and services, as well as participation in decision making and leadership is essential to achieving gender and climate justice (high confidence).
  • Intentional long-term policy and programme measures and investments to support shifts in social rules, norms and behaviours are essential to address structural inequalities and support an enabling environment for marginalised groups to effectively adapt to climate change (very high confidence) (Equity and Justice box in Chapter 17).
  • Climate adaptation actions are grounded in local realities so understanding links with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 is important to ensure that adaptive actions do not worsen existing gender and other inequities within society (e.g., leading to maladaptation practices) (high confidence). [Section 17.5.1]
  • Adaptation actions do not automatically have positive outcomes for gender equality. Understanding the positive and negative links of adaptation actions with gender equality goals, (i.e., SDG 5), is important to ensure that adaptive actions do not exacerbate existing gender-based and other social inequalities [Section]. Efforts are needed to change unequal power dynamics and to foster inclusive decision making for climate adaptation to have a positive impact for gender equality (high confidence).
  • There are very few examples of successful integration of gender and other social inequities in climate policies to address climate change vulnerabilities and questions of social justice (very high confidence).

Gender, Climate Justice and Climate Change

This Cross-Chapter Box highlights the intersecting issues of gender, climate change adaptation, climate justice and transformative pathways. A gender perspective does not centre only on women or men but examines structures, processes and relationships of power between and among groups of men and women and how gender, particularly in its non-binary form, intersects with other social categories such as race, class, socioeconomic status, nationality or education to create multi-dimensional inequalities (Hopkins, 2019). A gender transformative approach aims to change structural inequalities. Attention to gender in climate change adaptation is thus central to questions of climate justice that aim for a radically different future (Bhavnani et al., 2019). As a normative concept highlighting the unequal distribution of climate change impacts and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation, climate justice (Wood, 2017; Jafry et al., 2018; Chu and Michael, 2019; Shi, 2020a) calls for transformative pathways for human and ecological well-being. These address the concentration of wealth, unsustainable extraction and distribution of resources (Schipper et al., 2020a; Vander Stichele, 2020) as well as the importance of equitable participation in environmental decision making for climate justice (Arora-Jonsson, 2019).

Research on gender and climate change demonstrates that an understanding of gendered relations is central to addressing the issue of climate change. This is because gender relations mediate experiences with climate change, whether in relation to water (Köhler et al., 2019) (see also Sections 4.7, 4.3.3, 4.6.4, 5.3), forests (Arora-Jonsson, 2019), agriculture (Carr and Thompson, 2014; Balehey et al., 2018; Garcia et al., 2020) (see also Chapter 4, Section 5.4), marine systems (Mcleod et al., 2018; Garcia et al., 2020) (see also Section 5.9) or urban environments (Reckien et al., 2018; Susan Solomon et al., 2021) (see also Chapter 6). Climate change has direct negative impacts on women’s livelihoods due to their unequal control over and access to resources (e.g., land, credit) and because they are often the ones with the least formal protection (Eastin, 2018) (see also Box 9.2 in Chapter 9). Women represent 43% of the agricultural labour force globally, but only 15% of agricultural landholders (OECD, 2019b). Gendered and other social inequities also exist with non-land assets and financial services (OECD, 2019b) often due to social norms, local institutions and inadequate social protection (Collins et al., 2019b). Men may experience different adverse impacts due to gender roles and expectations (Bryant and Garnham, 2015; Gonda, 2017). These impacts can lead to irreversible losses and damages from climate change across vulnerability hotspots (Section 8.3).

Participation in environmental decision making tends to favour certain social groups of men, whether in local environmental committees, international climate negotiations (Gay-Antaki and Liverman, 2018) or the IPCC (Nhamo and Nhamo, 2018). Addressing climate justice reinforces the importance of considering the legacy of colonialism on developing regional and local adaptation strategies. Scholars have criticised climate programmes for setting aside forestland that poor people rely on and appropriating the labour of women in the Global South without compensatory social policy or rights; where women are expected to work with non-timber forest products to compensate for the lack of logging and for global climate goals, but where their work of social reproduction and care is paid little attention (Westholm and Arora-Jonsson, 2015; Arora-Jonsson et al., 2016). A global ecologically unequal exchange, biopiracy, damage from toxic exports or the disproportionate use of carbon sinks and reservoirs by high-income countries enhance the negative impacts of climate change. Women in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) also endure the harshest impacts of the debt crisis due to imposed debt measures in their countries (Appiah and Gbeddy, 2018; Fresnillo Sallan, 2020). The austerity measures derived as conditionalities for fiscal consolidation in public services increases gender-based violence (Castañeda Carney et al., 2020) and brings additional burdens for women in the form of increasing unpaid care and domestic work (Bohoslavsky, 2019).

Cross-Chapter Box GENDER

Gendered Vulnerability

Land, ecosystem and urban transitions to climate resilient development need to address gender and other social inequities to meet sustainability and equity goals, otherwise, marginalised groups may continue to be excluded from climate change adaptation. In the water sector, increasing floods and droughts and diminishing groundwater and runoff have gendered effects on both production systems and domestic use (Sections 4.3.1, 4.3.3, 4.5.3). Climate change is reducing the quantity and quality of safe water available in many regions of the world and increasing domestic water management responsibilities (high confidence). In regions with poor drinking water infrastructure, it is forcing, primarily women and girls, to walk long distances to access water, and limiting time available for other activities, including education and income generation (Eakin et al., 2014; Kookana et al., 2016; Yadav and Lal, 2018). Water insecurity and the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure have resulted in psychosocial distress and gender-based violence, as well as poor maternal and child health and nutrition (Collins et al., 2019a; Wilson et al., 2019; Geere and Hunter, 2020; Islam et al., 2020; Mainali et al., 2020) (Sections 4.3.3 and (high confidence). Climate-related extreme events also affect women’s health—by increasing the risk of maternal and infant mortality, disrupting access to family planning and prevention of mother to child transmission regimens for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive pregnant women (UNDRR, 2019) (see also Section 7.2). Women and the elderly are also disproportionately affected by heat events (Sections,, 13.7.1).

Extreme events impact food prices and reduce food availability and quality, especially affecting vulnerable groups, including low-income urban consumers, wage labourers and low-income rural households who are net food buyers (Green et al., 2013; Fao, 2016) (Section 5.12). Low-income women, ethnic minorities and Indigenous communities are often more vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition from climate change impacts, as poverty, discrimination and marginalisation intersect in their cases (Vinyeta et al., 2016; Clay et al., 2018) (Section 5.12). Increased domestic responsibilities of women and youth, due to migration of men, can increase their vulnerability due to their reduced capacity for investment in off-farm activities and reduced access to information (Sugden et al., 2014; O’Neil et al., 2017) (Sections 4.3, 4.6) (high confidence).

In the forest sector, the increased frequency and severity of drought, fires, pests and diseases, and changes to growing seasons, has led to reduced harvest revenues, fluctuations in timber supply and availability of wood (Lamsal et al., 2017; Fadrique et al., 2018; Esquivel-Muelbert et al., 2019). Climate programmes in the Global South such as REDD+ have led to greater social insecurity and the conservation of the forests have led to more pressure on women to contribute to household incomes, but without enough supporting market access mechanisms or social policy (Westholm and Arora-Jonsson, 2015; Arora-Jonsson et al., 2016). In countries in the Global North, reduced harvestable wood and revenues have led to employment restructuring that has important gendered effects and negatively affects community transition opportunities (Reed et al., 2014).

Integrating Gender in Climate Policy and Practice

Climate change policies and programmes across regions reveal wide variation in the degree and approach to addressing gender inequities (see Table SMCCB GENDER.2). In most regions where there are climate change policies that consider gender, they inadequately address structural inequalities resulting from climate change impacts, or how gender and other social inequalities can compound risk (high confidence). Experiences show that it is more frequent to address specific gender inequality gaps in access to resources. Regionally, Central and South American countries (Section 12.5.8) have a range of gender-sensitive or gender-specific policies such as the intersectoral coordination initiative Gender and Climate Change Action Plans (PAGcc), adopted in Perú, Cuba, Costa Rica and Panamá (Casas Varez, 2017), or the Gender Environmental policy in Guatemala that has a focus on climate change (Bárcena-Martín et al., 2021). However, countries often have limited commitment and capacity to evaluate the impact of such policies (Tramutola, 2019). In North and South America, policies have failed to address how climate change vulnerability is compounded by the intersection of race, ethnicity and gender (Radcliffe, 2014; Vinyeta et al., 2016) (see also Section 14.6.3). Gender is rarely discussed in African national policies or programmes beyond the initial consultation stage (Holvoet and Inberg, 2014; Mersha and van Laerhoven, 2019), although there are gender and climate change action strategies in countries such as Liberia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia (Mozambique and IUCN, 2014; Zambia and IUCN, 2017). European climate change adaptation strategies and policies are weak on gender and other social equity issues (Allwood, 2014; Boeckmann and Zeeb, 2014; Allwood, 2020), while in Australasia, there is a lack of gender-responsive climate change policies. In Asia, there are several countries that recognise gendered vulnerability to climate change (Jafry, 2016; Singh et al., 2021b), but policies tend to be gender-specific, with a focus on targeting women, for example in the national action plan on climate change as in India (Roy et al., 2018) or in national climate change plan as in Malaysia (Susskind et al., 2020).

Cross-Chapter Box GENDER

Potential for Change and Solutions

The sexual division of labour, systemic racism and other social structural inequities lead to increased vulnerabilities and climate change impacts for social groups such as women, youth, Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. Their marginal positions not only affect their lives negatively but their work in maintaining healthy environments is ignored and invisible in policy affecting their ability to work towards sustainable adaptation and aspirations in the SDGs (Arora-Jonsson, 2019). However, attention to the following has the potential to bring about change:

Creation of new, deliberative policymaking spaces that support inclusive decision making processes and opportunities to (re)negotiate pervasive gender and other social inequalities in the context of climate change for transformation (Tschakert et al., 2016; Harris et al., 2018; Ziervogel, 2019; Garcia et al., 2020) (high confidence).

Increased access to reproductive health and family planning services, which contributes to climate change resilience and socioeconomic development through improved health and well-being of women and their children, including increased access to education, gender equity and economic status (Onarheim et al., 2016; Starbird et al., 2016; Lopez-Carr, 2017; Hardee et al., 2018) (Section 7.4) (high confidence).

Engagement with women’s collectives is important for sustainable environments and better climate decision making whether at the global, national or local levels (Westholm and Arora-Jonsson, 2018; Agarwal, 2020). The work of such collectives in maintaining their societies and environments and in resisting gendered and community violence is unacknowledged (Jenkins, 2017; Arora-Jonsson, 2019) but is indispensable especially when combined with good leadership, community acceptance and long-term economic sustainability (Chu, 2018; Singh, 2019) (Section 4.6.4). Networking by gender experts in environmental organisations and bureaucracies has also been important for ensuring questions of social justice (Arora-Jonsson and Sijapati, 2018).

Investment in appropriate reliable water supplies, storage techniques and climate-proofed WASH infrastructure as key adaptation strategies that reduce both burdens and impacts on women and girls (Alam et al., 2011; Woroniecki, 2019) (Sections 4.3.3, 4.6.44).

Improved gender-sensitive early warning system design and vulnerability assessments to reduce vulnerabilities, prioritising effective adaptation pathways to women and marginalised groups (Mustafa et al., 2019; Tanner et al., 2019; Werners et al., 2021).

Established effective social protection, including both cash and food transfers, such as the universal public distribution system (PDS) for cereals in India, or pensions and social grants in Namibia, that have been demonstrated to contribute towards relieving immediate pressures on survival and support processes at the community level, including climate effects (Kattumuri et al., 2017; Lindoso et al., 2018; Rao et al., 2019a; Carr, 2020).

Strengthened adaptive capacity and resilience through integrated approaches to adaptation that include social protection measures, disaster risk management and ecosystem-based climate change adaptation (high confidence), particularly when undertaken within a gender-transformative framework (Gumucio et al., 2018; Bezner Kerr et al., 2019; Deaconu et al., 2019) (Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL in Chapter 2, Sections 5.12, 5.14).

For example, gender-transformative and nutrition-sensitive agroecological approaches strengthen adaptive capacities and enable more resilient food systems by increasing leadership for women and their participation in decision making and a gender-equitable domestic work (high confidence) (Gumucio et al., 2018; Bezner Kerr et al., 2019; Deaconu et al., 2019) (Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL in Chapter 2, Sections 5.12, 5.14)

New initiatives, such as the Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Program, represent an integrated approach to resilience that promotes coordination among social protection, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. Accompanying measures include health, education, nutrition and family planning, among others (Daron et al., 2021).

Climate Change Adaptation and SDG 5

Adaptation actions may reinforce social inequities, including gender, unless explicit efforts are made to change (Nagoda and Nightingale, 2017 ; Garcia et al., 2020) (robust evidence, high agreement ). Participation in climate action increases if it is inclusive and fair (Huntjens and Zhang, 2016). Roy et al. (2018) assessed links among various SDGs and mitigation options. Adaptation actions are grounded in local realities, especially in terms of their impacts, so understanding links with the goals of SDG 5 becomes more important to make sure that adaptive actions do not worsen prevalent gender and other social inequities within society (robust evidence, high agreement). In the IPCC 1.5°C Special Report, Roy et al. (2018) assessed links between various SDGs and mitigation options, adaptation options were not considered. The current SDG 13 climate action targets do not specifically mention gender as a component for action, which makes it even more imperative to link SDG 5 targets and other gender-related targets to adaptive actions under SDG 13 to ensure that adaptation projects are synergistic rather than maladaptive (Section, Table 16.6) (Susan Solomon et al., 2021; Roy et al., Submitted).

This assessment is based on a systematic rapid review of scientific publications (McCartney et al., 2017; Liem et al., 2020) published on adaptation actions in nine sectors from 2014 to 2020 (see Table SMCCB GENDER.1) (Roy et al., Submitted)(Roy et al., Submitted)(Roy et al., Submitted)and how they integrated gender perspectives impacting gender equity. The assessment is based on over 17,000 titles and abstracts that were initially found through keyword search and were reviewed. Finally, 319 relevant papers on case studies, regional assessments and meta-reviews were assessed. Gender impact was classified by various targets under SDG 5. Following the approach taken in Roy et al. (2018) and (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2019), the linkages were classified into synergies (positive impacts or co-benefits) and trade-offs (negative impacts) based on the evidence obtained from the literature review which is finally used to develop net impact (positive or negative) scores (see Table Cross-Chapter Box GENDER.1 and Supplementary Material).

Table Cross-Chapter Box GENDER.1 | Inter-relations between SDG5 (gender equality) and adaptation initiatives in nine major sectors

Potential net synergies and trade-offs between a sectoral portfolio of adaptation actions and SDG 5 are shown. Colour codes showing the relative strength of net positive and net negative impacts and confidence levels. The strength of net positive and net negative connections across all adaptation actions within a sector are aggregated to show sector-specific links. The links are only one-sided on how adaptation action is linked to gender equality (SDG 5) targets and not vice versa. 22 adaptation options were assessed in ecosystem-based actions, 10 options in technological/infrastructure/information, 17 in institutional and 13 in behavioural/cultural. The assessment presented here is based on literature presenting impacts on gender equality and equity of various adaptation actions implemented in various local contexts and in regional climate change policies (Table SMCCB GENDER.2).

Adaptation actions being implemented in each sector in different local contexts can have positive (synergies) or negative (trade-offs) effects with SDG 5. This can potentially lead to net positive or net negative connections at an aggregate level. How they are finally realised depends on how they are implemented, managed and combined with various other interventions, in particular, place-based circumstances. Ecosystem-based adaptation actions and terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems have higher potential for net positive connections (Roy et al., 2018) (Table Cross-Chapter Box GENDER.1 and Supplementary Material). Adaptation in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems has the strongest net positive links with all SDG 5 targets (medium evidence, low agreement ). For example, community-based natural resource management increases the participation of women, especially when they are organised into women’s groups (Pineda-López et al., 2015; de la Torre-Castro et al., 2017) (Supplementary Material). For poverty, livelihood and sustainable development sectors, adaptation actions have generated more net negative scores (limited evidence, low agreement ) (Table Cross-Chapter Box GENDER.1). For example, patriarchal institutions and structural discriminations curtail access to services or economic resources as compared with men, including less control over income, fewer productive assets and lack of property rights, as well as less access to credit, irrigation, climate information and seeds which devaluate women’s farm-related adaptation options (Adzawla et al., 2019; Friedman et al., 2019; Ullah et al., 2019) (Supplementary Material).

Cross-Chapter Box GENDER

Among the adaptation actions, ecosystem-based actions have the strongest net positive links with SDG 5 targets (Table Cross-Chapter Box GENDER.1, Table SMCCB GENDER.1). In the health, well-being and changing communities’ sector, this is with robust evidence and medium agreement , while in all other sectors there is medium evidence and low agreement . Net negative links are most prominent in institutional adaptation actions (Table Cross-Chapter Box GENDER.1). For example, in mountain ecosystems, changes in gender roles in response to climatic and socioeconomic stressors is not supported by institutional practices, mechanisms and policies that remain patriarchal (Goodrich et al., 2019). Additionally, women often have less access to credit for climate change adaptation practices, including post-disaster relief, for example, to deal with salinisation of water or flooding impacts (Hossain and Zaman 2018). Lack of coordination among different city authorities can also limit women’s contribution in informal settlements towards adaptation. Women are typically under-represented in decision making on home construction and planning and home-design decisions in informal settlements, but examples from Bangladesh show they play a significant role in adopting climate-resilient measures (e.g., the use of corrugated metal roofs and partitions which is important in protection from heat) (Jabeen, 2014; Jabeen and Guy, 2015; Araos et al., 2017; Susan Solomon et al., 2021).

Towards Climate-Resilient, Gender-Responsive Transformative Pathways

The climate change adaptation and gender literature call for research and adaptation interventions that are ‘gender-sensitive’ (Jost et al., 2016; Thompson-Hall et al., 2016; Kristjanson et al., 2017; Pearce et al., 2018a) and ‘gender-responsive’, as established in Article 7 of the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2015). In addition, attention is drawn to the importance of ‘mainstreaming’ gender in climate/development policy (Alston, 2014; Rochette, 2016; Mcleod et al., 2018; Westholm and Arora-Jonsson, 2018). Many calls have been made to consider gender in policy and practice (Ford et al., 2015; Jost et al., 2016; Rochette, 2016; Thompson-Hall et al., 2016; Kristjanson et al., 2017; Mcleod et al., 2018; Lau et al., 2021; Singh et al., 2021b). Rather than merely emphasising the inclusion of women in patriarchal systems, transforming systems that perpetuate inequality can help to address broader structural inequalities not only in relation to gender, but also other dimensions such as race and ethnicity (Djoudi et al., 2016; Pearse, 2017; Gay-Antaki, 2020). Adaptation researchers and practitioners play a critical role here and can enable gender-transformative processes by creating new, deliberative spaces that foster inclusive decision making and opportunities for renegotiating inequitable power relations (Tschakert et al., 2016; Ziervogel, 2019; Garcia et al., 2020).

To date, empirical evidence on such transformational change is sparse, although there is some evidence of incremental change (e.g., increasing women’s participation in specific adaptation projects, mainstreaming gender in national climate policies). Even when national policies attempt to be more gendered, there is criticism that they use gender-neutral language or include gender analysis without proposing how to alter differential vulnerability (Mersha and van Laerhoven, 2019; Singh et al., 2021b). More importantly, the mere inclusion of women and men in planning does not necessarily translate to substantial gender-transformative action, for example in National Adaptation Programmes of Action across sub-Saharan Africa (Holvoet and Inberg, 2014; Nyasimi et al., 2018) and national and sub-national climate action plans in India (Singh et al., 2021b). Importantly, there is often an overemphasis on the gender binary (and household headship as an entry point), which masks complex ways in which marginalisation and oppression can be augmented due to the interaction of gender with other social factors and intra-household dynamics (Djoudi et al., 2016; Thompson-Hall et al., 2016; Rao et al., 2019a; Lau et al., 2021; Singh et al., 2021b).

Climate justice and gender transformative adaptation can provide multiple beneficial impacts that align with sustainable development. Addressing poverty (SDG 1), energy poverty (SDG 7), WaSH (SDG 6), health (SDG 3), education (SDG 4) and hunger (SDG 2)––along with inequalities (SDG 5 and SDG 10)—improves resilience to climate impacts for those groups that are disproportionately affected (women, low-income and marginalised groups). Inclusive and fair decision making can enhance resilience (SDG 16; Section 13.4.4), although adaptation measures may also lead to resource conflicts (SDG 16; Section 13.7). Nature-based solutions attentive to gender equity also support ecosystem health (SDGs 14 and 15) (Dzebo et al., 2019). Gender and climate justice will be achieved when the root causes of global and structural issues are addressed, challenging unethical and unacceptable use of power for the benefit of the powerful and elites (MacGregor, 2014; Wijsman and Feagan, 2019; Vander Stichele, 2020). Justice and equality need to be at the centre of climate adaptation decision-making processes. A transformative pathway needs to include the voice of the disenfranchised (MacGregor, 2020; Schipper et al., 2020a).

18.4 Agency and Empowerment for Climate Resilient Development

As reflected in the discussion of societal transitions (Section 18.3), people and their values and choices play an instrumental role in CRD. The agency of people to act on CRD is grounded in their worldviews, beliefs, values and consciousness (Woiwode, 2020), and is shaped through social and political processes including how policies and decision making recognise the voices, knowledges and rights of particular actors over others (very high confidence) (Harris and Clarke, 2017; Nightingale, 2017; Bond and Barth, 2020; Muok et al., 2021). Since the AR5, evidence on diverse forms of engagement by and among social, political and economic actors to support CRD and sustainability outcomes, has increased. New forms of decision making and engagement are emerging within the formal policymaking and planning sphere, including co-production of knowledge, interventions grounded in the arts and humanities, civil participation and partnerships with business (Ziervogel et al., 2016a; Roberts et al., 2020). In addition, the set of actors that drive climate and development actions are recognised to extend beyond government and formal policy actors to include civil society, education, industry, media, science and art (Ojwang et al., 2017; Solecki et al., 2018; Heinrichs, 2020; Omukuti, 2020). This makes the power dynamics among actors and institutions critical for understanding the role of actors in CRD (Buggy and McNamara, 2016; Camargo and Ojeda, 2017; Silva Rodríguez de San Miguel, 2018).

The formal space for national, sub-national and international adaptation governance emerged at COP 16 (UNFCCC, 2010) when adaptation was recognised as a similar level of priority as GHG mitigation. The Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2015) built on this and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (United Nations, 2015) to link adaptation to development and climate justice. It also highlighted the importance of multi-level adaptation governance, including new non-state voices and climate actors that widen the scope of adaptation governance beyond formal government institutions. For example, individuals can act as agents of changes in their own behaviour, such as via change in their consumption patterns, but also generate change within organisations, fields of practice and the political landscape of governance. Accordingly, these interactions among actors across different scales implies the need for wider modes of, and arena for, engagement around adaptation to accommodate a diversity of perspectives (high agreement , medium evidence) (Chung Tiam Fook, 2017; Lesnikowski et al., 2017; IPCC, 2018a).

In most regions, such new institutional and informal arrangements are at an early stage of development (high agreement , limited evidence). Further clarification and strengthening are needed to enable the fair sharing of resources, responsibilities and authorities to enable climate action to enable CRD (Wood et al., 2017; IPCC, 2018a; Reckien et al., 2018). These are strongly linked to contested and complementary worldviews of climate change and the actors that use these worldviews to justify, direct, accelerate and deepen transformational adaptation and climate action.

18.4.1 Political Economy of Climate Resilient Development

Political economy studies (i.e., the origins, nature and distribution of wealth, and the ideologies, interests and institutions that shape it) explicitly addressing CRD are quite limited. Yet there is an extensive post-AR5 literature on political economy associated with various elements relevant to CRD including climate change and development (Naess et al., 2015); vulnerability, adaptation, and climate risk (Sovacool et al., 2015; Sovacool et al., 2017; Barnett, 2020); energy, decarbonisation and negative emissions technologies (Kuzemko et al., 2019; Newell, 2019); degrowth and low-carbon economies (Perkins, 2019; Newell and Lane, 2020); solar radiation management (Ott, 2018); planetary health and sustainability transitions and transformation (Kohler et al., 2019) (Gill and Benatar, 2020). Review and assessment of this literature reveals our key insights about the relationship between the political economy and CRD.

First, the political economy drives coupled development–climate change trajectories and determines vulnerability, thereby potentially subjecting those least responsible for climate change to the greatest risk (Sovacool et al., 2015; Barnett, 2020). The legitimacy, viability and sustainability of the prevailing political economy is being called into question because of its role in driving vulnerability in a changing climate (Barnett, 2020), thus undermining the prospects for CRD.As underpinning political economy ideologies, interests and institutions change, the cause of the vulnerable is being appropriated, the drivers of vulnerability and the adaptation agenda are depoliticised, and market-based solutions advocated in ways that sustain the prevailing political economy at the expense of those most at risk. Political economy interests and institutions that drive vulnerability are thus themselves at risk because worsening climate change raises questions about their legitimacy and political and economic viability (Barnett, 2020).

Second, assessment of this literature suggests four attributes of the political economy of adaptation influence development trajectories in diverse settings, from Australia to Honduras and the Maldives (Sovacool et al., 2015), as delivered through the Global Environment Facility’s Least Developed Countries Fund (Sovacool et al., 2017). These include enclosure (public resources or authority captured by private interests); exclusion (stakeholders are marginalised from decision making); encroachment (natural systems and ecosystem services compromised); and entrenchment (inequality exacerbated). These attributes hamper adaptation efforts, and reveal the political nature of adaptation (Dolšak and Prakash, 2018) and, by extension, CRD. Paradoxically, development initiatives labelled as ‘risk’ reduction or resilience building or ‘equitable and environmentally sustainable’, such as coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana, USA, can compound inequity and climate risk, and perpetuate unsustainable development (Gotham, 2016; Eriksen et al., 2021b).

Third, a long-held view is that the effects of mitigation are global, while those of adaptation are local. A political economy perspective, however, underscores cross-scale linkages, and shows that local adaptation efforts, vulnerability and climate resilience are manifest in development trajectories that are shaped by both local and trans-local drivers, and defined by unequal power relations that cross scales and levels (Sovacool et al., 2015; Barnett, 2020; Newell, 2020), including in key sectors such as energy (Baker et al., 2014) and agriculture (Houser et al., 2019), as well as emergent blocs such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) (Power et al., 2016; Schmitz, 2017); and sub-national constellations such as cities (Fragkias and Boone, 2016; Béné et al., 2018).

Fourth, transitions towards CRD may be technically and economically feasible but are ‘saturated’ with power and politics (Tanner and Allouche, 2011) (Section 18.3), necessitating focused attention to political barriers and enablers of CRD (Newell, 2019). With a narrow window of time to contain dangerous levels of global warming, political economy research calls for CRD trajectories that counter the tendency of the prevailing political economy to compound climate change impacts and risk (Newell and Lane, 2020), especially given the opportunity to realise co-benefits through pandemic recovery efforts that take into account vulnerability and the intersection of economic power and public health, environmental quality, climate change, and human and indigenous rights (Bernauer and Slowey, 2020; Schipper et al., 2020b).

Given these insights, CRD can be understood as the sum of complex multi-dimensional processes consisting of large numbers of actions and societal choices made by multiple actors from government, the private sector and civil society, with important influences by science and the media (very high confidence). These actions and social choices are determined by the available solution space and options, along with a range of enabling conditions (Section 18.4.2) that are largely bounded by individual and collective worldviews, and related ethics and values. This view is consistent with sustainable development being a process constituted by multiple inter-related societal choices and actions that are often contested as the needs and interests of current and future generations are addressed. Development choices have path dependencies and context-sensitive synergies and trade-offs with natural and embedded human systems , and they are bounded by multiple and contested knowledges and worldviews (Goldman et al., 2018; Heinrichs, 2020; Nightingale et al., 2020; Schipper et al., 2020b). Consequently, societal choices about the political economy underpin prospects for moving towards or away from CRD.

18.4.2 Enabling Conditions for Near-Term System Transitions

Given actors, institutions and their engagement is fundamental to supporting system transitions needed for CRD (Section 18.3), this section assesses recent literature with respect to how the values, choices and behaviours of those actors enable or constrain specific enabling conditions. Such enabling conditions represent opportunities for policymakers to pursue actions that contribute to CRD beyond direct risk management options such as climate adaptation and GHG mitigation (Sections, Governance and Policy

An overarching enabling condition for achieving system transitions and transformations is the presence of enabling governance systems (very high confidence). Recent literature on the translation of governance into system transitions in practice suggests four key actions are important. The first is the critical reflection on so-called ‘development solutions’, alternatively framed by some as ‘empty promises’, that worsen climate risk, inequity, injustice and ultimately lead to unsustainable development (Mikulewicz, 2018; Mikulewicz and Taylor, 2020). Examples include development aid (Scoville-Simonds et al., 2020), large-scale development projects such as biofuel production in Ethiopia (Tufa et al., 2018) and urban growth management in Vietnam (DiGregorio, 2015). The second is the recognition that while the power of different actors and institutions is often tied to access to resources and the ability to constrain the actions of others, other dimensions of power such as its ability to produce knowledge as well as its contingency on circumstances and relationships are also important in enabling energy transitions (Avelino et al., 2016; Avelino and Wittmayer, 2016; Lockwood et al., 2016; Ahlborg, 2017; Avelino and Grin, 2017; Partzsch, 2017; Smith and Stirling, 2018). Third, governance systems can help to develop productive interactions between formal government institutions, the private sector and civil society including the provision ‘safe arenas’ for social actors to deliberate and pursue transitional and transformational change (Haukkala, 2018; Törnberg, 2018; Strazds; Ferragina et al., 2020; Koch, 2020) (Section 18.3.1, Box 18.1). Fourth, governance can address challenges such as climate change from a systems perspective and pursue interventions that address the interactions among development, climate change, equity and justice, and planetary health (Harvey et al., 2019; Hölscher et al., 2019). This is evidenced by recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic response as well as ongoing escalation of disaster risk associated with extreme weather events (Walch, 2019; Cohen, 2020; Schipper et al., 2020b; Wells et al., 2020).

One output from systems of governance is formal policy frameworks and policies that influence processes and outcomes of system transitions that support CRD (Section 18.1.3). The Paris Agreement, for example, provides a framework for CRD by defining a mitigation-centric goal of ‘limiting warming to well below 2°C and enabling a transition to 1.5°C’ (UNFCCC, 2015). It also provides for a broadly defined global adaptation goal (UNFCCC, 2015: Art. 7.1). The NDCs are the core mechanism for achieving and enhancing climate ambitions under the Paris Agreement. However, the pursuit of a given NDC within a specific country will likely necessitate a range of other policy interventions that have more immediate impact on technologies and behaviour, implicating transitions in energy, industry, land and infrastructure (very high confidence) (Section 18.3.1). SDG-relevant activities are increasingly incorporated into climate commitments in the NDCs (at last count 94 NDCs also addressed SDGs), contributing to several (154 out of the 169) SDG targets (Brandi and Dzebo; Pauw et al., 2018). This reflects the potential of the NDCs as near-term policy instruments and signposts for progress towards CRD (medium agreement , limited evidence) (McCollum et al., 2018b).

As reflected by the SDGs (and SDG 13 specifically), the mainstreaming of climate change concerns into development policies is one mechanism for pursuing sustainable development and CRD (very high confidence). However, such mainstreaming has also been critiqued for perpetuating ‘development as usual’, reinforcing established development logics, structures and worldviews that are themselves contributing to climate change and vulnerability (O’Brien et al., 2015) and for obscuring and depoliticising adaptation choices into technocratic choices (Murtinho, 2016; Webber and Donner, 2017; Benjaminsen and Kaarhus, 2018; Khatri, 2018; Scoville-Simonds et al., 2020). The coordinated implementation of sustainable development policy and climate action is nonetheless crucial for ensuring that the attainment of one does not come at the expense of others (Stafford-Smith et al., 2017). For example, aggressive pursuit of climate policies that facilitate transitions in energy systems can undermine efforts to secure sustainability transitions in other systems (Sections,, Table 18.7).

Several non-climate international policy agreements provide context for CRD such as the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Hjerpe et al., 2015) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD; UNFCCC, 1992), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UN, 1994), as well as the more recent Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR, 2015) and the ‘new humanitarianisms’ which seeks to reduce the gap between emergency assistance and longer term development (Marin and Naess, 2017). Collectively they provide a global policy framework that protects people’s rights that are potentially threatened by climate change (Olsson et al., 2014). These policies are relevant to transitions across multiple systems, particularly in societal systems towards more equitable and just development. Economics and Sustainable Finance Economics

System transitions towards CRD is contingent on reducing the costs of current climate variability on society while making investments that prepare for the future effects of climate change. Climate change and responses to climate change will affect many different economic sectors both directly and indirectly (Stern, 2007; IPCC, 2014a; Hilmi et al., 2017). As a consequence, the characteristics of economic systems will play an important role in determining their resilience (very high confidence). These effects will occur within the context of other developments, such as a growing world population, which increases environmental pressures and pollution. This impact is higher for developing countries than for high-income countries (Liobikienė and Butkus, 2018). While looking for sustainable climate-resilient policies, many complex and interconnected systems, including economic development, must be considered in the face of global-scale changes (Hilmi and Safa, 2010).

Miller (2017) discusses some of the planning for, and application of, adaptation measures that improve sustainability, noting the importance of considering a range of factors including complexities of interconnected systems, the inherent uncertainties associated with projections of climate change impacts and the effects of global-scale changes such as technological and economic development for decision makers. For example, addressing climate impacts in isolation is unlikely to achieve equitable, efficient or effective adaptation outcomes (very high confidence). Instead, integrating climate resilience into growth and development planning allows decision makers to identify what sustainable development policies can support climate-resilient growth and poverty reduction and understand better how patterns and trends of economic development affect vulnerability and exposure to climate impacts across sectors and populations, including distributional effects (Doczi, 2015). Markkanen and Anger-Kraavi (2019) highlighted that climate change mitigation policy can influence inequality both positively and negatively. Although higher levels of poverty, corruption, and economic and social inequalities can increase the risk of negative outcomes, these potential negative effects would be mitigated if inequality impacts were taken into consideration in all stages of policy making (very high confidence).

The primary objective of economic and financial incentives around carbon emissions is to redirect investment from high to low carbon technologies (Komendantova et al., 2016). Recent years have seen policy interventions to incentivise transitions in energy, land and industrial systems to address climate change and sustainability focus on price-based, as opposed to quantity based, interventions. Price-based interventions aim at leveraging market mechanisms to achieve greater efficiency in the allocation of resources and costs of mitigating climate change. For example, carbon pricing initiatives around the world today cover approximately 8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to about 20% of global fossil energy fuel emissions and 15% of total carbon dioxide GHG emissions (Boyce, 2018). Meanwhile, environmental taxes and green public procurement push producers to eliminate the negative environmental effects of production (Danilina and Trionfetti, 2019). There are several advantages for environmental taxation including environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency, the ability to raise public revenue, and transparency (very high confidence). These gains can provide more resource-efficient production technologies and positively affect economic competitiveness (Costantini et al., 2018).

Policies encouraging eco-innovation, defined as ‘new ideas, behaviour, products, and processes that contribute to a decreased environmental burden’ (Yurdakul and Kazan, 2020), can positively affect economic competitiveness. By implementing policies to encourage eco-innovation, countries enhance their energy efficiency. These gains can provide more resource-efficient production technologies and positively affect economic competitiveness (very high confidence) (Costantini et al., 2018; Liobikienė and Butkus, 2018). Other than eco-innovation, it is important to also consider exnovation, meaning the phasing out of old technologies, as otherwise the expansion of supply could lead to a rebound owing to cheaper prices for carbon-based products (Arne Heyen et al., 2017; David, 2017). Hence, decarbonisation strategies that set limits to carbon-based trajectories can be beneficial. Quantity-based interventions—or so-called ‘command-and-control’ policies—involve constraints on the quantity of energy consumption or GHG emissions through laws, regulations, standards and enforcement, with a focus on effectiveness rather than efficiency.

For a transition from dirty (more advanced) technologies to clean (less advanced) ones, market-based instruments such as carbon taxes should be considered alongside subsidies and other incentives that stimulate innovation (Acemoglu et al., 2016). Research and development in energy technologies, for example, can help reduce costs of deployment and therefore the costs of operating in a carbon-constrained world. Hémous (2016) indicates that a unilateral environmental policy which includes both clean research subsidies and trade tax can ensure sustainable growth, but unilateral carbon taxes alone might increase innovation in polluting sectors and would not generally lead to sustainable growth. Climate Finance

Achieving progress on system transitions will be contingent on the ability of actors and institutions to access the financing they need to invest in innovation, adaptation and mitigation, and broader system change (very high confidence). By greening their investment portfolios, investors can support reduction in vulnerability to the consequences of climate change and the reduction of GHG emissions. Finance can contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions, for example, by efficiently pricing the social cost of carbon, by reflecting the transition risks in the valuation of financial assets, and by channelling investments in low-carbon technologies (OECD, 2017). At the same time, there is a growing need to spur greater public and private capital into climate adaptation and resilience including climate-resilient infrastructure and nature-based solutions to climate change. For instance, the Green Climate Fund, established within the framework of the UNFCCC, is assisting developing countries in adaptation and mitigation initiatives to counter climate change.

Recent evidence sheds light on the magnitude and pervasiveness of climate risk exposure for global banks and financial institutions. According to Dietz et al. (2016), up to about 17% of global financial assets are directly exposed to climate risks, particularly the impacts of extreme weather events on assets and their outputs. However, when indirect exposures via financial counterparts are considered, the share of assets subject to climate risks is much larger (40–54%) (Battiston et al., 2017). Hence, the magnitude of climate change-related risks is substantial, and similar to those that started the 2008 financial crisis (high agreement , limited evidence).

Financial actors increasingly recognise that the generation of long-term, sustainable financial returns is dependent on stable, well-functioning and well-governed social, environmental and economic systems (very high confidence) (Shiller, 2012; Schoenmaker and Schramade, 2020). Institutional approaches to a variety of environmental domains (Krueger et al., 2019) which seek to integrate the pursuit of green strategies with financial returns include targeted investments in green assets (e.g., green bonds, clean energy public equity) and specialised funds/vehicles for renewable energy infrastructure (Tolliver et al., 2019; Gibon et al., 2020); cleantech venture capital and alternative finance (Gianfrate and Peri, 2019); investment screening to steer capital to green industries (Nielsen and Skov, 2019; Ambrosio et al., 2020); and active ownership to influence organisational behaviour (Silvola and Landau, 2021).

Despite the expansion of green mandates across the investment chain, definitions of some of the asset classes associated with green investing are ambiguous and poorly defined. The EU taxonomy for sustainable activities is a promising step in the right direction. For example, a ‘green’ label for bonds is often stretched to encompass financing facilities of issuers that misrepresent the actual environmental footprint of their operations (the so-called risk of ‘greenwashing’). Even in cases where the bonds’ proceeds are actually used to finance green projects, investors often remain exposed to both the green and ‘brown’ assets of the issuers (Gianfrate and Peri, 2019; Flammer, 2020). The heterogeneity of metrics and rating methodologies (along with inherent conflict of interests between issuers, investors and score/rating providers) results in inconsistent and unreliable quantification of the actual environmental footprint of corporate and sovereign issuers (Battiston et al., 2017; Busch et al.).

In order to promote financial climate-related disclosures for companies and financial intermediaries, the financial system could play a key role in pricing carbon and in allocating capital towards low-carbon emission companies (Aldy and Gianfrate, 2019; Bento and Gianfrate, 2020; Aldy et al., 2021). Stable and predictable carbon-pricing regimes would significantly contribute to fostering financial innovation that can help further accelerate the decarbonisation of the global economy, even in jurisdictions which are more lenient in implementing climate mitigation actions (very high confidence) (Baranzini et al., 2017). A growing number of financial regulators are intensifying efforts to enhance climate-related disclosure of financial actors. In particular, the Financial Stability Board created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information. Several countries are considering implementing mandatory climate risk disclosure in line with TCFD’s recommendations. Central Banks are also considering mandatory disclosure and climate stress testing for banks. For instance, in November 2020 the European Central Bank (ECB) published a guide on climate-related and environmental risks explaining how the ECB expects banks to prudently manage and transparently disclose such risks under current prudential rules. The ECB also announced that banks in the Euro-zone will be stress tested on their ability to withstand climate change-related risks. In addition to disclosure requirements and stress testing, some Central Banks are considering the possibility of steering or tilting the allocation of their assets to favour the less polluting issuers (Schoenmaker, 2019). This, in turn, would translate into lower cost of capital for cleaner sectors, significantly accelerating the greening of the real economy. Institutional Capacity

Institutional capacity for system transitions refers to the capacity of structures and processes, rules, norms and cultures to shape development expectations and actions aimed at durable improvements in human well-being. The AR5 highlighted the need for strong institutions to create enabling environments for adaptation and GHG mitigation action (Denton et al., 2014). Institutions stand within the social and political practices and broader systems of governance that ultimately drive adaptation and development processes and outcomes. They are thus produced by them and can become tools by which some actors constrain the actions of others (Gebreyes, 2018). As a consequence, they and can become a significant barrier to change, whether incremental or more transformational (very high confidence). The post-AR5 focus on transformational adaptation and resilience present in the literature suggests that institutions that enable system transitions towards CRD are secure enough to facilitate a wide range of voices, and legitimate enough to change goals or processes over time, without reducing confidence in their efficacy.

The limited literature on institutions and pathways relevant to system transitions and CRD suggests that institutions are most effective when taking a development-first approach to adaptation. This is consistent with the principles of CRD which emphasise not simply reducing climate risk, but rather making development processes resilient to the changing climate. There is agreement in this literature that such an approach allows for the effective integration of climate challenges into existing policy and planning processes (very high confidence) (Pervin et al., 2013; Kim et al., 2017b; Mogelgaard et al., 2018). However, this approach generally rests on an incremental framing of institutional change (Mahoney and Thelen, 2009) based on two critical assumptions. The first is that existing processes and institutions are capable of bringing about system transitions that generate desired development outcomes and thus can be considered appropriate vehicles for the achievement of CRD. A large critical literature questions the efficacy of formal state and multilateral institutions. The evidence for the ability of local, informal institutions to achieve development goals remains uneven, with robust evidence of positive impacts on public service delivery, but more ambiguous evidence on behaviour changes associated with strengthened institutions (Berkhout et al., 2018). The second is that the mainstreaming of adaptation will bring about changes to currently unsustainable development practices and pathways, instead of merely strengthening development as usual by subsuming adaptation to existing development pathways and allowing them to endure in the face of growing stresses (Eriksen et al., 2015; Godfrey-Wood and Otto Naess, 2016; Scoville-Simonds et al., 2020). There is evidence that countries with poor governance have limited adaptation planning or action at the national level, even when other determinants of adaptive capacity are present (Berrang-Ford et al., 2014). This suggests that, in these contexts, adaptation efforts are likely to be subsumed to existing government goals and actions, rather than having transformational impact. Science, Technology and Innovation

Ongoing innovations in technology, finance and policy have enabled more ambitious climate action over the past decade, including significant growth in renewable energy, electrical vehicles and energy efficiency. However, access to, and the benefits of, that innovation have not been evenly distributed among global regions and communities, and continued innovation is needed to facilitate climate action and sustainable development (very high confidence). Policymakers need useful science and information (Cornell et al., 2013; Kirchhoff et al., 2013; Calkins, 2015; IPCC, 2019 f; Guido et al., 2020) to make informed decisions about possible risks, and the benefits, costs and trade-offs of available adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development solutions (i.e., Article 4.1 of the Paris Agreement; UNFCCC, 2015). Moreover, recent literature has emphasised the need for deep technological, as well social, changes to avert the risks of conventional development trajectories (Gerst et al., 2013; IPCC, 2014a).

An effective and innovative technological regime is one that is integrated with local social entities across different modes of life, local governance processes (Pereira, 2018; Nightingale et al., 2020) and local knowledge(s), which increasingly support adaptation to socio-environmental drivers of vulnerability (Schipper et al., 2014; Nalau et al., 2018; IPCC, 2019 f). These actors and their knowledge are often ignored in favour of knowledge held by experts and policymakers, exacerbating uneven power relations (Naess, 2013; Nightingale et al., 2020). For example, achieving sustainability and shifting towards a low carbon energy system (e.g., hydropower dams, wind farms) remains a contested space with divergent interests, values and future prospects (Bradley and Hedrén, 2014; Avila, 2018; Mikulewicz, 2019), and potential impacts on human rights as embodied by the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2015). A number of studies have emphasised the limits of relying upon technology innovation and deployment (e.g., expansion of renewable energy systems and/or carbon capture) as a solution to challenges of climate change and sustainable development (Section This is because such solutions may fail to consider the local historical contexts and barriers to participation of vulnerable communities, restricting their access to land, food, energy and resources for their livelihoods. Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks

Enabling system transitions towards CRD is dependent in part on the ability to monitor and evaluate system transitions and broader development pathways to identify effective interventions and barriers to their implementation (very high confidence). However, the monitoring and evaluation of individual system transitions, much less CRD, remains highly challenging for multiple reasons (Persson, 2019). The highly contextual nature of resilience, adaptation and sustainable development means that, unlike climate mitigation, it is difficult to define universal metrics or targets for adaptation and resilience (Pringle and Leiter, 2018); (Brooks et al., 2014). This is demonstrated by the Paris Agreement’s global goal for adaptation, The mismatch between timescales associated with resilience and adaptation interventions and those over which the results of such interventions are expected to become apparent tends to result in a focus on the measurement of spending, outputs and short-term outcomes, rather than longer-term impacts (Brooks et al., 2014; Pringle and Leiter, 2018). The need to assess resilience and adaptation against a background of evolving climate hazards, and to link resilience and adaptation with development outcomes, present further methodological challenges (very high confidence) (Brooks et al., 2014).

Currently, the ability to monitor different components of CRD are in various stages of maturity (very high confidence). Monitoring of the SDGs, for example, is a routine established practice at global and regional levels, and UNDP publishes annual updates on progress towards the SDGs (United Nations, 2021 ). For resilience, Brooks et al. (2014) identify three broad approaches to its measurement, each of which could offer potential mechanisms for monitoring progress towards CRD. One is a ‘hazards’ approach, in which resilience is described in terms of the magnitude of a particular hazard that can be accommodated by a system, useful in contexts where thresholds in climate and related parameters can be identified and linked with adverse impacts on human populations, infrastructure and other systems (Naylor et al., 2020). An ‘impacts’ approach is one in which resilience is measured in terms of actual or avoided impacts and is suited for tracking adaptation success in delivering CRD over longer timescales, for example at the national level (Brooks et al., 2014). Finally, a ‘systems’ approach is one where resilience is described in terms of the characteristics of a system using quantitative or qualitative indicators which are often associated with different ‘dimensions’ of resilience (Serfilippi and Ramnath, 2018; Saja et al., 2019). This allows measurement of key indicators that are proxies for resilience at regular intervals, even in the absence of significant climate hazards and associated disruptions (very high confidence) (Brooks et al., 2014) (see also Cross-Chapter Box ADAPT in Chapter 1). Similar criteria could be applied to evaluating adaptation options and their implementation as well as various interventions in pursuit of SDGs.

Box 18.6 | ‘Green’ Strategies of Institutional Investors

Negative and Positive Screening. Investors assess the carbon footprint of issuers and identify the best and worst performers (Boermans and Galema, 2019). The issuers with excessive carbon footprint are divested and fall into the ‘exclusion lists’ (negative screening). Alternatively, the investors commit to pick only the best in class (positive screening). As a bare minimum, screening approaches force more transparent environmental reporting from issuers. In the most optimistic scenario, to avoid exclusion lists issuers may progressively divest their non-green operations. In the long term, the combination of positive and negative screening will reward sustainable issuers relative to non-green sectors, thus reducing the cost of capital for less polluting entities.

Active Ownership. Equity investors can exercise the voting rights at shareholders’ meetings in relation to governance and business strategy, including the environmental performance. In addition, institutional investors engage with the management and the boards of directors of investee companies. Active ownership is therefore defined as the full exercise of the rights that accrue to the ‘owners’ of the securities issued by companies (Dimson et al., 2015; Dimson et al., 2020). Active owners are entitled to question and challenge the robustness of financial analyses and the risk assessment behind strategic decisions including the environmental footprint ones. For instance, since fossil fuel businesses face the prospect of dramatic business decline (Ansar et al., 2013) and must revisit their business model to survive, active ownership by institutional investors may foster the transition to cleaner production and supply chain. Companies more exposed to carbon risks particularly need the active support of long-term shareholders. In turn, investors adopting an active ownership approach can manage their holdings’ exposure to climate change risks, thus protecting the value of their investments on a long-term horizon (Krueger et al., 2019).

Specialized Financial Instruments and Investors. New asset classes have been created to address the climate change challenge. Also, specialised investment funds and vehicles came to life with the primary objective of addressing climate issues. While these financial instruments and funds prioritise the achievement of climate objectives, they do not sacrifice financial returns and are able to attract private capital. To mention a few examples:

  • Green bonds are typically issued by companies, banks, municipalities and governments with the commitment to use the proceeds exclusively to finance or refinance green projects, assets or business activities. These bonds are equivalent to any other bond issued by the same entity except for the label of ‘greenness’ that ideally is verified ex ante at the launch and ex post when the proceeds are actually used by the issuer. Early evidence show that green bonds do not penalise financially issuers (Gianfrate and Peri, 2019; Flammer, 2020).
  • Carbon funds are designed to help countries achieve long-term sustainability typically financing forest conservation. They are intended to reduce climate change impacts from forest loss and degradation.
  • Project finance. New renewable energy initiatives are likely to recur more and more to project finance. Project finance relies on the creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which is legally and commercially self-contained and serves only to run the renewable energy project. The SPV is financed without (or very limited) guarantees from the sponsors (typically energy companies: investors are therefore paid back on the basis only of SPV’s future cash flows only and cannot recourse on the sponsors’ assets) (Steffen, 2018).
  • Cleantech venture capital. These funds invest exclusively in early-stage companies working on innovative, but not yet fully tested, clean technologies. The risk profile of such investments is usually very high. The extent to which this segment of the financial industry can successfully support ‘deep’ energy innovations is still debated (Gaddy et al., 2017). When cleantech start-ups develop hardware requiring a high upfront investment, support from the public sector seems necessary to attract further investments from large corporations and patient institutional investors.
  • Crowdfunding and alternative finance are emerging as a channel to both finance small-scale clean energy projects as well as fund early-stage innovative clean technologies (Cumming et al., 2017; Bento et al., 2019).

18.4.3 Arenas of Engagement

Much of the enabling conditions for system transitions discussed in Section 18.4.2 are inherently linked to actors and their agency in pursuing system change. Yet a significant literature has developed since the AR5, exploring not only the role of different actors in pursuing adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development options, but also how those actors interact with one another to drive outcomes. CRDPs are determined by the interactions between societal actors and networks, including government, civil society and the private sector, as well as science and the media. The resultant social choices and cumulative private and public actions (and inactions) are institutionalised through both formal and informal institutions that evolve over time and seek to provide societal stability in the face of change. The degree to which the emergent pathways foster just and CRD depends on how contending societal interests, values and worldviews are reconciled through these interactions. These interactions occur in many different arenas of engagement, that is, the settings, places and spaces in which societal actors interact to influence the nature and course of development, including political, economic, socio-cultural, ecological, knowledge–technology and community arenas (Figures 18.1, 18.2).

For example, political arenas range from formalised election and voting procedures to more informal and less transparent practices, such as special interest lobbying. Town squares and streets can become sites of political struggle and dissent, including protests against climate inaction. As a more specific case in point, the formal space for national, sub-national and international adaptation governance emerged at COP 16 (UNFCCC, 2010) when adaptation was recognised as having a similar level of priority as mitigation. The Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2015) built on this and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (United Nations, 2015) to link adaptation to development and climate justice, widening the scope of adaptation governance beyond formal government institutions. It also highlighted the importance of multi-level adaptation governance, including non-state voices from civil society and the private sector. This implied the need for wider arenas and modes of engagement around adaptation (Chung Tiam Fook, 2017; Lesnikowski et al., 2017; IPCC, 2018a) that facilitate coordination and convergence among these diverse actors including individual citizens to collectively solve problems and unlock the synergies between adaptation and mitigation and sustainable development (IPCC, 2018a; Romero-Lankao et al., 2018).

There are many other visible and less visible arenas of engagement in the other interconnected spheres of societal interaction spanning scales from the local to international level. The metaphor of arenas derives from diverse social and political theory, with applications in studies of, among other things, governance transformation and transitions (Healey, 2006; Jørgensen, 2012; Jørgensen et al., 2017). It underscores that these arenas can be enduring or temporary in nature, are historically situated and often spatially bounded, and signifies the many different mechanisms by which societal actors interact in dynamic and emergent ways. Power and politics impact access and influence in these arenas of engagement—with varying levels of inclusion and exclusion shaping the nature and trajectory of development. In practice, some arenas of engagement are ‘struggle arenas’ as different societal actors strive to influence the trajectory of development, with inevitable winners and losers.

Institutional arrangements to foster CRD are at an early stage of development in most regions (medium agreement , limited evidence). They need to be further clarified and strengthened to enable a sharing of resources and responsibilities that facilitate climate actions embracing climate resilience, equity, justice, poverty alleviation and sustainable development (Wood et al., 2017; IPCC, 2018a; Reckien et al., 2018). These endeavours are strongly influenced by how contested and complementary worldviews about climate change and development are mobilised by societal actors to justify, direct, accelerate and deepen transformational climate action or entrench maladaptive business as usual practices (Section Worldviews

Worldviews are overarching systems of meaning and meaning-making that inform how people interpret, enact and co-create reality (De Witt et al., 2016). Worldviews shape the vision, beliefs, attitudes, values, emotions, actions and even political and institutional arrangements. As such, they can promote holistic, egalitarian approaches to enable, accelerate and deepen climate action and environmental care (Ramkissoon and Smith, 2014; De Witt et al., 2016; Lacroix and Gifford, 2017; Sanganyado et al., 2018; Brink and Wamsler, 2019 ). Alternatively, they can also serve as significant barriers to system transitions and transformation, based on anthropocentric, mechanistic and materialistic worldviews and the utilitarian, individualist or skeptical values and attitudes they often promote (very high confidence) (Beddoe et al., 2009; van Egmond and de Vries, 2011; Stevenson et al., 2014; Zummo et al., 2020).

Traditional, modern and post-modern worldviews have different, and in many ways, complementary potentials for enabling diverse approaches to climate action and sustainable development. They can also shift societal values and societal concern for climate change (Shi et al., 2015), resulting in changes in behaviour and acceptance of climate change policies (van Egmond and de Vries, 2011; Van Opstal and Hugé, 2013; De Witt et al., 2016; Shaw, 2016) which are predictors of concern. Among the challenges of strongly different climate-related worldviews, is that they rarely co-exist. Some worldviews become incompatible or hostile to other worldviews, openly seeking to dominate, eliminate or segregate competing perspectives (medium agreement , medium evidence) (de Witt, 2015; Jackson, 2016; Nightingale, 2016; Xue et al., 2016; Goldman et al., 2018).

To address these difficult contests, worldviews regarding climate and global environmental change are often expressed in scientific language and themes (Parsons et al., 2016; Goldman et al., 2018). This can exclude other worldviews grounded in other forms of knowledge or ways of knowing which ultimately narrows understanding of climate change and the solution space. Hence, the post-AR5 literature on worldviews focuses on the numerous meanings, associations, narratives and frames of climate change and how these shape perceptions, attitudes and values (Morton, 2013; Boulton, 2016; Hulme, 2018; Nightingale Böhler, 2019). The recognition of the diversity of interpretations and meanings has led to multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research that incorporates the humanities and the arts (Murphy, 2011; Elliott and Cullis, 2017; Steelman et al., 2019; Tauginienė et al., 2020), feminist studies (MacGregor, 2003; Demeritt et al., 2011; Bell, 2013; Brink and Wamsler, 2019 ; Plesa, 2019) and religious studies (Sachdeva, 2016; McPhetres and Zuckerman, 2018) to examine diverse understandings of reality and knowledge possibilities around climate change. In addition, literature on cultural cognition, epistemological plurality and relational ontologies draws on non-Western worldviews and forms of knowledge (Goldman et al., 2018).

On the other hand, the tendency for certain worldviews to dominate the policy discourse has the potential to exacerbate social, economic and political inequities as well as ontological, epistemic and procedural injustices (very high confidence). Research aimed at exploring the existing political ontology and knowledge politics of exclusion that marginalise certain communities and actors originated in academic or scientific perspectives. This includes institutions such as the IPCC and is subsequently replicated in social representations, including the media, public policy and the development agenda, narrowing possibilities for social transformation (Jackson, 2014; Luton, 2015; Escobar, 2016; Burman, 2017; Newman et al., 2018; Sanganyado et al., 2018; Wilson and Inkster, 2018). Political and Government Arenas

CRD is embedded in social systems, in the political economy and its underlying ideologies, interests and institutions (Section 18.4.1). The pursuit of CRD, and shifting development pathways away from prevailing trends, unfolds in an array of political arenas, from the offices of bureaucrats to parliament buildings, sidewalks and streets, to discursive arenas in which governance actors interact—from the village level to global forums (Jørgensen et al., 2017; Montoute et al., 2019; Sørensen and Torfing, 2019; Pasquini, 2020). Paradoxically, the post-AR5 literature suggests that political arenas are often used to shut down efforts to explore the solution space for climate change and sustainable development (medium agreement, robust evidence) (e.g., Kenis and Mathijs, 2012; Kenis and Mathijs, 2014; Beveridge and Koch, 2016; Kenis and Lievens, 2016; Driver et al., 2018; Meriluoto, 2018; Swyngedouw, 2018; Mocca and Osborne, 2019). Power relationships among different actors create opportunities for people to be included or excluded in collective action (Siméant-Germanos, 2019) (Sections, Therefore, as evidenced by examples from the UK (MacGregor, 2019) and China (Huang and Sun, 2020), small-scale collective environmental action has transformative potential in part owing to its ability to increase levels of cooperation among different actors (medium agreement , limited evidence) (Green et al., 2020; Blühdorn and Deflorian, 2021).

In addition to the ‘arm’s length’ acts of voting, social mobilisation, protest and dissent can be critical catalysts for transformative change (Porta, 2020). These are competitions for recognition, power and authority (Nightingale, 2017) that take place in settings. This is evidenced by experiences from the energy sector in Bangladesh which became a contested national policy domain and where social movements eventually transformed the nation’s energy politics (Faruque, 2017). Similarly, in Germany, the nation’s energy transition led to marked changes in agency and legal frameworks, and energy markets drove the proliferation of so-called municipalisations of energy systems—a reversal of years of system privatisation (Becker et al., 2016). Meanwhile, experience in Bolivia demonstrate that the transformative potential of political conflict depends on transcending narrow issues to form broad coalitions with a collective identity that challenge prevailing development objectives and trajectories (Andreucci, 2019). Such examples illustrate the power of the communities as a vanguard against environmentally destructive practices (Villamayor-Tomas and García-López, 2018). Social movements have been successful at countering fossil fuel extraction (Piggot, 2018) and open up political opportunities in the face of increasing efforts to capture natural resources (Tramel, 2018) and are bolstered by resistance from within some corporations and/or their shareholders (Fougère and Bond, 2016; Swaffield, 2017; Walton, 2018 a; Walton, 2018 b).

Coincident with these social movements targeting climate change and sustainability has been a rise of political conservatism and populism as well as growth in misinformation (high agreement , medium evidence) (Mahony and Hulme, 2016; Swyngedouw, 2019). This reflects efforts to maintain the status quo by actors in positions of power in the face of rising social inertia for climate action (Brulle and Norgaard, 2019). Political arenas of the future could include a new body politic that integrates non-humans and a new geo-spatial politics (Latour et al., 2018).

As introduced in the discussion of governance as an enabling condition (Section, a wide range of actors are involved in successful adaptation, mitigation, and sustainability policy and practice including national, regional and local governments, communities and international agencies (Lwasa, 2015). As of 2018, 197 countries had between them over 1500 laws and policies addressing climate change as compared with 60 countries with such legislation in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was agreed upon (Nachmany et al., 2017; Nachmany and Setzer, 2018). In judicial branches, climate change litigation is increasingly becoming an important influence on policy and corporate behaviour among investors, activists and local and state governments (Setzer and Byrnes, 2019). There is enhanced action on climate change at both national and sub-national levels, even in cases where national policies are inimical, as in the USA (Carmin et al., 2012; Hansen et al., 2013).

The strong role of governments in climate action has implications for the nature of democracy, the relationship between the local and the national state, and between citizens and the state (Dodman and Mitlin, 2015). More integration of government policy and interventions across scales, accompanied by capacity building to accelerate adaptation is needed (very high confidence). Key needs include enhanced funding, clear roles and responsibilities, increased institutional capability, strategic approaches, community engagement and judicial integrity (Lawrence et al., 2015). More resources, and more active involvement of the private sector and civil society can help maintain adaptation on the policy agenda. Multi-level adaptation approaches are also relevant in low-income countries where local governments have limited financial resources and human capabilities, often leading to dependency on national governments and donor organisations (Donner et al., 2016; Adenle et al., 2017).

Unlike mitigation, adaptation has traditionally been viewed as a local process, involving local authorities, communities and stakeholders (Preston et al., 2015). The literature on the governance of adaptation continues to emphasise that local governments have demonstrated leadership in implementation by collaborating with the private sector and academia. Local governments can also play a key role (Melica et al., 2018; Romero-Lankao et al., 2018) in converging mitigation and adaptation strategies, coordinating and developing effective local responses, enabling community engagement and more effective policies around exposure and vulnerability reduction (Fudge et al., 2016). Local authorities are well-positioned to involve the wider community in designing and implementing climate policies and adaptation implementation (Slee, 2015; Fudge et al., 2016). Local governments also help deliver basic services and protect their integrity from climate impacts (Austin et al., 2015; Cloutier et al., 2015; Nalau et al., 2015; Araos et al., 2017). However, the resource limitations of local governments as well as their small geographic sphere of influence suggests the need for more funding for this from higher levels of government, particularly national governments, to address adaptation gaps (very high confidence) (Dekker, 2020). Local adaptation implementation gaps can be linked to limited political commitment at higher levels of government and weak cooperation between key stakeholders (Runhaar, 2018). Incongruities and conflicts can exist between adaptation agendas pursued by national governments and the spontaneous adaptation practices of communities. There may be grounds for re-evaluating current consultative processes integral to policy development, if narrow technical approaches emerge as the norm for adaptation (Smucker et al., 2015).

Therefore, the traditional view of adaptation as a local process has now widened to recognise it as a multi-actor process that transcends scales from the local and sub-national to national and even international (very high confidence) (Mimura et al., 2014). Many of the impacts of climate change are both local and transboundary, so that local, bilateral and multilateral cooperation is needed (Nalau et al., 2015; Donner et al., 2016; Magnan and Ribera, 2016; Tilleard and Ford, 2016; Lesnikowski et al., 2017). National policies and transnational governance should be seen as complementary, especially where they favour transnational engagement with sub- and non-state actors (Andonova et al., 2017). National governments typically act as a pivot for adaptation coordination, planning, determining policy priorities, and distributing financial, institutional and sometimes knowledge resources. National governments are also accountable to the international community through international agreements. National governments have helped enhance adaptive capacity through building awareness of climate impacts, encouraging economic growth, providing incentives, establishing legislative frameworks conducive to adaptation and communicating climate change information (Berrang-Ford et al., 2014; Massey et al., 2014; Austin et al., 2015; Huitema et al., 2016). Economic and Financial Arenas

The performance of local, national and global economies is a priority consideration shaping perceptions of climate risk and the costs and benefits of different policy responses to climate change. The most commonly used indicator of performance is GDP (Hoekstra et al., 2017). Traditionally, national development efforts have sought to maximise the growth of GDP under the assumption that GDP growth equates not only to economic prosperity (including poverty reduction) but also to increased efficiency and reduced environmental externalities (Ota, 2017). Such assumptions often employ models such as the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) that postulates that economic development initially increases environmental impacts, but these trends eventually reverse with continued economic growth. Wealthy nations of the Global North, including for example the USA, Great Britain, Iceland and Japan, have had success over the past decade in reducing their GHG emissions while growing their economies (very high confidence). However, attempts to empirically test EKC in different national contexts has yielded mixed results. Case studies in Myanmar, China and Singapore, for example, suggest that the impacts of GDP on environmental quality are contingent on the development context and the environmental impact under consideration (Aung et al., 2017; Lee and Thiel, 2017; Xu, 2018; Chen and Taylor, 2020). In addition, an extensive literature now argues that current patterns of development, and the economic systems underpinning that development, are unsustainable (Washington and Twomey, 2016), and thus economic growth may not necessarily continue indefinitely in the absence of more concerted effort to pursue sustainable development, including reducing the impacts of climate change.

Given such criticisms of the link between development and economic growth, a growing number of researchers argue for the need for alternatives to GDP to guide development and evaluate the costs and benefits of different policy interventions (Hilmi et al., 2015). For example, while GDP growth can drive growth in income, it can also drive growth in inequality which can undermine poverty reduction efforts (very high confidence) (Fosu, 2017). Hence, recent years have seen significant interest in the concept of well-being as a more robust measure for linking policy and the economy with sustainable development for a healthy Anthropocene era (Fioramonti et al., 2019).

Another mechanism for evaluating environmental performance is to include environmental data in the System of National Accounts (SNA) through the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) introduced by the UN. As the international statistical standard for environmental–economic accounting (Pirmana et al., 2019), SEEA includes natural capital resources in national accounting. A number of recent studies conclude that failure to account for natural capital in macroeconomic impact assessments results in overly optimistic outcomes (Pirmana et al., 2019; Jendrzejewski, 2020; Naspolini et al., 2020); (Banerjee et al., 2019; Kabir and Salim, 2019; Keith et al., 2019). For example, Jendrzejewski (2020) inserted natural capital into a computable general equilibrium model of the 2017 European windstorm on state-owned forests in Poland. This resulted in more negative assessment of impacts, suggesting excluding natural capital could lead to erroneous investments, strategies or policies. Similarly, other studies rely on Quality of life (QOL) measurements as alternatives for GDP. Estoque et al. (2018) suggested a ‘QOL-Climate’ assessment framework, designed to capture the social-ecological impacts of climate change and variability.

Another alternative to GDP is Green GDP which seeks to incorporate the environmental consequences of economic growth (Boyd, 2007; Stjepanović et al., 2017; Stjepanović et al., 2019). Green GDP is difficult to measure, because it is difficult to evaluate the environmental depletion and ecological damages of growth (Stjepanović et al., 2019). Although there is no consensus in measuring Green GDP, attempts have been made for select countries including the USA (Garcia and You, 2017), Europe (Stjepanović et al., 2019), China (Chi and Rauch, 2010; Yu et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2020), Ukraine and Thailand (Harnphatananusorn et al., 2019), and Malaysia (Vaghefi et al., 2015). Le (2016) illustrated the potential negative impacts of climate change vulnerability on green growth. Some studies have suggested that focusing on green growth as the only strategy to address climate change would be risky. Hickel and Kallis (2020) argue that green growth is likely to be a misguided goal due to the difficulties of separating economic growth from resource use and, therefore, carbon emissions (see also (Antal and van den Bergh, 2014). Therefore, alternative strategies are required (Hickel and Kallis, 2020). In addition, green growth should also be able to justly respond to social movements involving contestation, internal debates and tensions (Mathai et al., 2018).

The emphasis on Green GDP is mirrored by another concept, Blue Growth, that focuses on pursuing sustainable development through the ecosystem services derived from ocean conservation (Mustafa et al., 2019). Synthesis studies suggest that more intensive use of ocean resources, such as scaling up seaweed aquaculture, can be used to enhance CO2-eq sequestration, thereby contributing to GHG mitigation, while also achieving other economic goals (Lillebø et al., 2017; Froehlich et al., 2019). Similarly, Sarker et al. (2018) present a framework for linking Blue Growth and CRD in Bangladesh, with Blue Growth representing an opportunity for adapting to climate change. Bethel et al. (2021) also links Blue Growth to resilience, noting that a Blue economy can help facilitate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, consistent with earlier assessment of enabling conditions for system transitions (Section, implementation of Blue Growth initiatives is contingent upon the successful achievement of social innovation as well as creating an inclusive and cooperative governance structure (very high confidence) (Larik et al., 2017; Soma et al., 2018).

A potential critique of the various alternative metrics and models for economic development is that they are all framed in the context of growth. Over the past decade, ecological economists and political scientists have proposed degrowth (e.g., Kallis, 2011; Demaria et al., 2013) and managing without growth (e.g., Jackson, 2009) as a solution for achieving environmental sustainability and socioeconomic progress. Such concepts are a deliberate response to concerns about ecological limits to growth and the compatibility between growth-oriented development and sustainability (Kallis et al., 2009). Sustainable degrowth is not the same as negative GDP growth, which is typically referred to as a recession (Kallis, 2011). Degrowth goes beyond criticising economic growth; it explores the intersection among environmental sustainability, social justice and well-being (Demaria et al., 2013). Under current economic and fiscal policies (see Box 18.7), degrowth has been argued as an unstable development paradigm because declining consumer demand leads to rising unemployment, declining competitiveness and a spiral of recession (Jackson, 2009: 46). More comprehensive modelling of socioeconomic performance understands the segments of sufficient social transformation to guarantee maintenance and rises in well-being coupled with reduced ‘footprints’ (Raworth, 2017; Hickel, 2019; D’Alessandro et al., 2020). Knowledge–Technology and Ecological Arenas

Knowledge–technology arenas comprise the interaction in knowledge spaces connected to technology transitions. The institutional and political architecture through which knowledge and technology interact is described in sustainability transitions literature (Fazey et al., 2018b; Sengers et al., 2019l Kanger, 2020 #3709). A common theme explored in that literature is the ability of actors to access and apply various forms of knowledge as a means of effecting change. Different forms of innovation are recognised as a core enabling condition for achieving system transitions for CRD (Section 18.3.3; Cross-Chapter Box INDIG). However, while scientific and technology knowledge may be useful, in some cases, they remain subordinate to political agendas, or are controlled by actors in positions of power and thus not equitably distributed (very high confidence) (Mormina, 2019). Participatory decision making, for example, assumes that multiple actors, with differing motivations, agency and influence, engage with climate decision making and co-produce actions. Yet some actors may not participate in the process if the proposed actions do not align with their motivations or if they do not have adequate agency (Roelich and Giesekam, 2019). Hence, effectively using knowledge to inform policy is challenging for both scientists, policymakers and civil society alike.

Science, technology and innovation (STI) policies are expected to shape expectations of the potential for a better world based on access to information, clean technologies, higher labour productivity, economic growth and a healthier environment (Brasseur and Gallardo, 2016; Schot and Steinmueller, 2018; Singh et al., 2018; Mormina, 2019; Bamzai-Dodson et al., 2021). STI policies are considered as ‘social goods for development’. Hence, STI policies are often proposed or implemented as means of addressing environmental challenges such as climate change along with SDGs such as the reduction of inequality, poverty and environmental pollution (Mormina, 2019). Realising the benefits of STI, however, may be contingent on building broader STI capacity and bolstering nations’ systems of innovation (very high confidence) (Mormina, 2019). This could include building global research partnerships to address priority STI needs as well as long-standing gaps between the Global North and South. Such an approach shifts the framing of STI as one focused on individual investigators to one comprised of building knowledge networks. It also creates opportunities for integration of disparate forms of knowledge and innovation, including local and Indigenous knowledge, into global knowledge systems (Cross-Chapter Box INDIG).

Furthermore, an extensive literature increasingly incorporates natural and ecological systems as knowledge domains relevant to understanding opportunities for sustainability and CRD. For example, the literature on socio-ecological systems (SES) (Sterk et al., 2017; Holzer et al., 2018; Avriel-Avni and Dick, 2019; Martínez-Fernández et al., 2021) as well as social, ecological and technological systems (SETS) (McPhearson and Wijsman, 2017; Webb et al., 2018; Ahlborg et al., 2019), explicitly integrate ecological knowledge into sustainability, including concepts such as planetary boundaries (Section 18.1.1), adaptation and nature-based solutions, natural resources management, rights and access to nature, and understanding of how humans govern society–nature interactions in the face of climate change (Benjaminsen and Kaarhus, 2018; Mikulewicz, 2019; Nightingale et al., 2020). Some of these interactions are explained in Cross-Chapter Box INDIG, including conflict over which knowledges are recognised as valuable in understanding and responding to climate change and therefore shape the nature of climate actions. Actor engagement in stewardship, solidarity and inclusion of multiple knowledges and nature–society connectedness can highlight the intertwined nature of ecological change and knowledge relations, thereby supporting shifts to sustainability (Pelling, 2010; Hulme, 2018; Ives et al., 2019; Nightingale et al., 2020) (see also Box 18.6).

The expanding definition of what constitutes credible, relevant and legitimate knowledge is leading to the democratisation of knowledge and efforts to address historical inequities in access to knowledge (Ott and Kiteme, 2016; Rowell and Feldman, 2019). This is reflected in the communication of science, which is increasingly focused on reducing the distance between internal scientific and public communication and more engagement in public science governance and knowledge production (Waldherr, 2012; Peters, 2013). One innovative approach in co-production of knowledge is mobilising communities through citizen science (Heigl et al., 2019). This also presents additional opportunities to incorporate local knowledge with scientific research, and better match scientific capability to societal needs. Community Arenas

Societal choices and development trajectories emerge from decisions made in different arenas which intersect and interact across levels and scales, in diverse institutional settings—some formal with their associated instruments and interventions, while others are informal. Since AR5, both formal and informal setting are increasingly arenas of debate and contestation regarding development choices and pathways (very high confidence) (Section 18.4.4, Chapters 1, 6, 8, 10 and 17). Community arenas exist from the local to the global scale and constitute the many interactions between governance actors, often transcending any one scale to reflect the emergent outcomes of interactions in political, economic, socio-cultural, knowledge-technology and ecological arenas of engagement. Actions within and between these five arenas hence come together in the community arena of engagement. While community engagement is often described at the level of villages and cities (Ziervogel et al., 2021) (Chapter 8), communities in terms of people interacting with each other sharing worldviews, values and behaviours, also exist at the regional and global levels. For example, civil society engagement in climate action reached a peak in 2019, notably through the global youth movement which led to large global mobilisation and street demonstrations on all continents and in many large cities (Bandura and Cherry, 2020; Han and Ahn, 2020; Martiskainen et al., 2020). Calling for enhanced climate action by governments and other societal actors, the youth movement was supported by many other societal groups and networks, including arenas of community interaction.

While the SR1.5 (de Coninck et al., 2018) for the first time comprehensively assessed behavioural dimensions of climate change adaptation, most literature still has a greater focus on what triggers mitigation behaviour (Lorenzoni and Whitmarsh, 2014; Clayton et al., 2015). Meanwhile, with CRD still a relatively young concept, there is little literature focused on what motivates action in pursuit of CRD rather than its sub-components of climate action and sustainable development. Nevertheless, a common motivation that is emerging in the literature is clinically significant levels of climate distress among individuals (Bodnar, 2008), which is experienced as a continuing distress over a changed landscape which no longer offers solace, also known as solastalgia (high agreement , medium evidence) (Albrecht et al., 2007). This is accompanied by a shift from blaming natural forces for disasters to attributing it to human negligence, which is known to lead to more acute perceptions of risk as well as more prolonged post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than trauma arising from non-human causes. Improving social connections, acknowledging anxiety, reconnecting to nature and finding creative ways to re-engage are identified as ways of managing this growing anxiety (Lertzman, 2010; Clayton et al., 2017). Climate action in communities at various scales could fulfil many of these needs.

Cross-Chapter Box INDIG | The Role of Indigenous Knowledge and Local Knowledge in Understanding and Adapting to Climate Change

Authors: Tero Mustonen (Finland), Sherilee Harper (Canada), Gretta Pecl (Australia), Vanesa Castán Broto (Spain), Nina Lansbury (Australia), Andrew Okem (Nigeria/South Africa), Ayansina Ayanlade (Nigeria), Jackie Dawson (Canada), Pauline Harris (Aotearoa-New Zealand), Pauliina Feodoroff (Finland), Deborah McGregor (Canada)

Indigenous knowledge refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by societies with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings (UNESCO, 2018; IPCC, 2019a). Local knowledge refers to the understandings and skills developed by individuals and populations, specific to the places where they live (UNESCO, 2018; IPCC, 2019a). Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge are inherently valuable but have only recently begun to be appreciated and in western scientific assessment processes in their own right (Ford et al., 2016). In the past these often endangered ways of knowing have been suppressed or attacked (Mustonen, 2014). Yet these knowledge systems represent a range of cultural practices, wisdom, traditions and ways of knowing the world that provide accurate and useful climate change information, observations and solutions (very high confidence) (Table Cross-Chapter Box INDIG.1). Rooted in their own contextual and relative embedded locations, some of these knowledges represent unbroken engagement with the earth, nature and weather for many tens of thousands of years, with an understanding of the ecosystem and climatic changes over longer-term timescales that is held both as knowledge by Indigenous Peoples and local peoples, as well as in the archaeological record (Barnhardt and Angayuqaq, 2005; UNESCO, 2018).

Indigenous Peoples around the world often hold unique worldviews that link today’s generations with past generations. In particular, many Indigenous Peoples consider concepts of responsibility through intergenerational equity, thereby honouring both past and future generations (Matsui, 2015; McGregor et al., 2020). This can often be in sharp contrast to environmental valuing and decision making that occurs in Western societies (Barnhardt and Angayuqaq, 2005). Therefore, consideration of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge needs to be a priority in the assessment of adaptation futures (Nakashima et al., 2012); Ford et al., 2016) (Chapter 1), although adequate indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights require legal and non-legal measures for recognition and protection (Janke, 2018).

Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge are crucial to address environmental impacts, such as climate change, where the uncertainty of outcome is high and a range of responses are required (Mackey and Claudie, 2015). However, working with this knowledge in an appropriate and ethically acceptable way can be challenging. For instance, questions of data ‘validity’ and the requirement to communicate such knowledge in the dominant language can lead to inaccurate portrayals of Indigenous knowledge as inferior to science. This may overlook the uniqueness of Indigenous knowledge and then lead to the overall devaluation of indigenous political economies, cultural ecologies, languages, educational systems and spiritual practices (Smith, 2013; Sillitoe, 2016; Naude, 2019; Barker and Pickerill, 2020). Furthermore, Indigenous knowledge is too often only sought superficially—focusing only on the ‘what’, rather than the ‘how’ of climate change adaptation and/or seen through the lenses of ‘romantic glorification’ leaving little room for the knowledge to be expressed as authored by the communities and knowledge holders themselves (Yunkaporta, 2019).

Multiple knowledge systems and frameworks

Indigenous knowledge systems include not only the specific narratives and practices to make sense of the world, but also profound sources of ethics and wisdom. They are networks of actors and institutions that organise the production, transfer and use of knowledge (Löfmarck and Lidskog, 2017). There is a pluralism of forms of knowledge that emerge from oral traditions, local engagement with multiple spaces, and Indigenous cultures (Peterson et al., 2018). Recognising such multiplicity of forms of knowledge has long been an important concern within sustainability science (Folke et al., 2016). Less dominant forms of knowledge should not be put aside because they are not comparable or complementary with scientific knowledge (Brattland and Mustonen, 2018 ; Mustonen, 2018; Ford et al., 2020; Ogar et al., 2020). Instead, Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge can shape how climate change risk is understood and experienced, the possibility of developing climate change solutions grounded in place-based experiences, and the development of governance systems that match the expectations of different Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge holders (very high confidence).

Different frameworks that enable the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge have emerged from efforts to utilise more than one knowledge system (robust evidence, high agreement ). For example, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has developed a ‘nature’s contribution to peoples’ framework that provides a common conceptual vocabulary and structural analysis (Díaz et al., 2015; Tengö et al., 2017; Díaz et al., 2018; Peterson et al., 2018). The IPBES approach complements other efforts to study areas of intersection between scientific and indigenous worldviews (Barnhardt and Angayuqaq, 2005; Huaman and Sriraman, 2015) or ‘boundaries’ that illustrate ‘blind spots’ in scientific knowledge (Cash et al., 2003; Clark et al., 2016; Brattland and Mustonen, 2018 ). These frameworks highlight areas of collaboration but provide less guidance in areas where sources of evidence conflict across different knowledge systems (Löfmarck and Lidskog, 2017). These experiences suggest that the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge in international assessments may transform the process of assessment of scientific, technical and socioeconomic evidence (medium evidence, high agreement ). These knowledge systems also point to novel discoveries that may be still unknown to the scientific world but have been known by communities for millennia (Mustonen and Feodoroff, 2020).

Cross-Chapter Box INDIG

The importance of free and prior-informed consent

Obtaining free and prior-informed consent is a necessary but not sufficient condition to engage in knowledge production with Indigenous Peoples (Sillitoe, 2016). Self-determination in climate change assessment, response and governance is critical (Chakraborty and Sherpa, 2021), and Indigenous Peoples are actively contributing to respond to climate change (Etchart, 2017). Climate change assessment and adaptation should be self-determined and led by Indigenous Peoples, acknowledge the importance of developing genuine partnerships, respect Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and acknowledge Indigenous Peoples as stewards of their environment (Country et al., 2016; Country et al., 2018; ITK, 2019; Barker and Pickerill, 2020; Chakraborty and Sherpa, 2021). Supporting Indigenous Peoples’ leadership and rights in climate adaptation options at the local, regional, national and international levels is an effective way to ensure that such options are adapted to their living conditions and do not pose additional detrimental impacts to their lives (very high confidence). Chapter 18 shows that the transformations required to deliver climate-resilient futures will create societal disruptions, with impacts that are most often unevenly experienced by groups with high exposure and sensitivity to climate change, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities (Schipper et al., 2020a). Climate-resilient futures depend on finding strategies to address the causes and drivers of deep inequities (Chapter 18). For example, climate-resilient futures will depend on recognising the socioeconomic, political and health inequities that often affect Indigenous Peoples (Mapfumo et al., 2016; Ludwig and Poliseli, 2018) (very high confidence).

International conventions to support and utilise Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge

Several tools within international conventions may support instruments to develop equitable processes that facilitate the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and leadership in climate change adaptation initiatives. The International Labour Convention 69 recognised Indigenous People’s right to self-determination in 1989 (ILO, 1989). The United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (United Nations, 2007) includes articles on the right to development (Article 23), the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship and to uphold responsibilities to future generations (Article 25), and the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their territories (Article 29). Article 26 upholds the right to the lands, territories and resources, the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, and legal recognition and protection of these lands, territories and resources. Indigenous Peoples are also recognised within the Sustainable Development Goals as a priority group (Carino and Tamayo, 2019). International events such as the ‘Resilience in a time of uncertainty: Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change’ conference brought together Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and government leaders from around the world to discuss the role of Indigenous Peoples in climate adaptation (UNESCO, 2015).

The value of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge in climate adaptation planning

There have been increasing efforts to enable Indigenous knowledge holders to participate directly in IPCC assessment reports (Ford et al., 2012; Nakashima et al., 2012; Ford et al., 2016). Adaptation efforts have benefited from the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge (IPCC, 2019e) (very high confidence). Moreover, it has been recognised that including Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge in IPCC reports can contribute to overcoming the combined challenges of climate change, food security, biodiversity conservation, and combating desertification and land degradation (IPCC, 2019c) (high confidence). Limiting warming to 1.5°C necessitates building the capability of formal assessment processes to respect, include and utilise Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge (IPCC, 2018a) (medium evidence, high agreement ).

However, these efforts have been accompanied by a recognition that ‘integration’ of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge cannot mean that those knowledge systems are subsumed or required to be validated through typical scientific means (Gratani et al., 2011; Matsui, 2015). Such a critique of ‘validity’ can be inappropriate, unnecessary, can disrespect Indigenous Peoples’ own identities and histories, limits the advancement and sharing of these perspectives in the formal literature, and overlooks the structural drivers of oppression and endangerment that are associated with Western civilisation (Ford et al., 2016). Moreover, by underutilising Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge systems, opportunities that could otherwise facilitate effective and feasible adaptation action can be overlooked. We should also reserve space for the understanding that each cultural knowledge system, building on linguistic-cultural endemicity, is unique and inherently valuable.

Indigenous Peoples have often constructed their ways of knowing using oral histories as one of the vehicles of mind and memory, observance, governance and maintenance of customary law (Table Cross-Chapter Box INDIG.2). These ways of knowing can also incorporate the relationships between multiple factors simultaneously which adds particular value towards understanding complex systems that is in contrast to the dominant reductionist, Western approach, noting that non-reductionist approaches also exist (Ludwig et al., 2014; Hoagland, 2017).

Cross-Chapter Box INDIG

For climate research, the role of oral histories as a part of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge is extremely relevant. For example, ocean adaptation initiatives can be guided by oral historians and keepers of knowledge who can convey new knowledge and baselines of ecosystem change over long-time frames (Nunn and Reid, 2016). Oral histories can also convey cultural indicators and linguistic devices of species identification as a part of a local dialect matrix, and changes in ecosystems and species using interlinkages not available to science (Mustonen, 2013; Frainer et al., 2020). Oral histories attached to maritime place names, especially underwater areas (Brattland and Nilsen, 2011), can position observations relevant for understanding climate change over long ecological timeframes (Nunn and Reid, 2016). Species abundances, well-being and locations are some of the examples present in the ever-evolving oral histories as living ways of knowing. Indigenous knowledge and oral histories may also have the potential to convey governance, moral and ethical frameworks of sustainable livelihoods and cultures (Mustonen and Shadrin, 2020) rooted in the particular Indigenous or local contexts that are not otherwise available in written or published forms.

Climate change research involving Indigenous Peoples and local communities has shown that the generation, innovation, transmission and preservation of Indigenous knowledge is threatened by climate change (Kermoal and Altamirano-Jiménez, 2016; Simonee et al., 2021). This is because Indigenous knowledge is taught, local knowledge is gained through experience, and relationships with the land are sustained through social engagement within and among families, communities and other societies (Tobias J.K, 2014; Kermoal and Altamirano-Jiménez, 2016). The knowledge that has traditionally been passed on in support of identity, language and purpose has been disrupted at an intergenerational level (Lemke and Delormier, 2017). Many of these dynamics have affected local knowledge transfers equally (Mustonen, 2013). This scenario represents a tension for Indigenous Peoples, where Indigenous knowledge in the form of land-based life ways, languages, food security, intergenerational transmission and application are threatened by climate change, yet in parallel, these same practices can enable adaptation and resilience (McGregor et al., 2020).

Cross-Chapter Box INDIG

Table Cross-Chapter Box INDIG.1 | Examples of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge about climate change used in this Assessment Report


Examples of Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ action

Context, peoples and location


Climate forecasting/early warning

Phenological cues to forecast and respond to climate change

Smallholder farmers, Delta State, Nigeria

Chapter 9

Forecasting of weather and climate variation through observation of the natural environment (e.g., changes in insects and wildlife).

Afar pastoralists, north-eastern Ethiopia

Observation of wind patterns to plan response to coastal erosion/flooding

Inupiat, Alaska, USA

Chapter 14

Sky and moon observation to determine the onset of rainy season

Maya, Guatemala

Chapter 12

Fire hazards

Prescribed burning

Indigenous nations in Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, Canada and USA

Chapter 12

Chapter 14

Crop yield/food security

Water management, native seeds conservation and exchange, crop rotation, polyculture and agroforestry

Mapuche, Chile

Chapter 12

Crop association (milpa) agroforestry, land preparation and tillage practices, native seed selection and exchange, adjusting planting calendars

Maya, Guatemala

Chapter 12

Harvesting rainwater and the use of maize landraces by Indigenous farmers to adapt to climate impacts and promote food security in Mexico

Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

Chapter 14

Livelihood and well-being

Cultural values ingrained in knowledge system: reciprocity, collectiveness, equilibrium and solidarity

Quechua, Cusco, Peru

Chapter 12

Ecosystem degradation

Ecosystem restoration including rewilding

Sámi, Nenets, and Komi, Scandinavia and Siberia

Chapter 13

Collaboration with researchers, foresters and landowners to manage native black ash deciduous trees against emerald ash borer

Indigenous Nations in Canada and USA

Chapter 14

Selection and planting of native plants that reduce erosion

Whole-of-island approaches that embed Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge in environmental governance

Small Islands States (as defined by Chapter 15)

Chapter 15


Traditional climate-resilient fishing approaches

Indigenous nations across North America and the Arctic

Chapter 14


Management of urban resources

Restoration of traditional network of water tanks

Traditional communities and activists in South Indian cities such as Bengaluru

Chapter 6

Table Cross-Chapter Box INDIG.2 | Case study summary




Many rural smallholder farmers in Africa use their ingrained Indigenous knowledge systems to navigate climatic changes as many do not have access to Western systems of weather forecasting. Instead, these farmers have been reported to use observations of clouds and thunderstorms, and migration of local birds to determine the start of the wet season, as well as create temporary walls by rivers to store water during droughts. Indigenous knowledge systems should be incorporated into strategic plans for climate change adaptation policies to help smallholder farmers cope with climate change (Mapfumo et al., 2016).


For local Inuit hunters and others who travel across Arctic land, ice and sea, there is evidence that the most accurate approach to reduce risk and enable informed decision making for safe travel is to combine Indigenous knowledge and local observations of weather with official online weather and marine services information that is available nationally (Simonee et al., 2021). Combining Inuit and local knowledge of weather, water, ice and climate information with official forecasts has provided local hunters with more accurate, locally relevant information, and has on several occasions helped to avoid major weather-related accidents.

Latin America

In Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, Indigenous knowledge systems have led to a lower incidence of wildfires, reducing the risk of rising temperatures and droughts (Mistry et al., 2016). The Mapuche Indigenous Peoples in Chile use various traditional and sustainable agricultural practices, including native seed conservation and exchange (trafkintu), crop rotation, polyculture and tree-crop association. They also give thanks to Mother Earth through rituals to nurture socio-ecological sustainability (Parraguez-Vergara et al., 2018). In the rural Cusco Region of Peru, ‘cultures values known in Quechua as ayni (reciprocity), ayllu (collectiveness), yanantin (equilibrium) and chanincha (solidarity)’ have led to successful adaptation to climate change (Walshe and Argumedo, 2016).


(Aotearoa New Zealand)

The traditional calendar system (maramataka) used by the Māori in Aotearoa, New Zealand, incorporates ecological, environmental and celestial Indigenous knowledge. Māori practitioners are collaborating with scientists through the Effect of Climate Change on Traditional Māori Calendars project (Harris et al., 2017) to examine if climatic changes are impacting the use of the maramataka, which can be used as a framework to identify and explain environmental changes. Observations are being documented across Aotearoa, New Zealand to improve understandings of environmental changes and explore the use of Indigenous Māori knowledge in climate change assessment and adaptation.

Skolt Sámi (Finland)

In 2011, the Skolt Sámi in Finland began the first co-governance initiative where collaborative management and Indigenous knowledge were utilised to effectively manage a river and Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar). This species is culturally and spiritually significant to the Skolt Sámi and has been adversely impacted by rising water temperatures and habitat loss (Brattland and Mustonen, 2018 ; Feodoroff, 2020; Ogar et al., 2020) (see also CCP Polar). Using Indigenous knowledge, they mapped changes in catchment areas and used cultural indicators to determine the severity of changes. Through collaborative management efforts that utilised both Indigenous knowledge and science, spawning and juvenile habitat areas for trout and grayling were restored, demonstrating the autonomous community capacity (Huntington et al., 2017) of the Indigenous Skolt Sámi and the capacity of Indigenous knowledge to address climate change impacts and detection of very first microplastics pollution together with science (Pecl et al., 2017; Brattland and Mustonen, 2018 ; Mustonen and Feodoroff, 2020).

Cross-Chapter Box INDIG

Box 18.7 | Macroeconomic Policies in Support of Climate Resilient Development

Climate change risk may differ from other economic and financial risks in a number of ways: climate change is global; it involves long-term impacts and a great deal of uncertainty; and it has the possibility of irreversible change (Hansen, 2021). The macroeconomic implications will differ across countries, with less developed countries likely to suffer more relative to more advanced ones (Batten, 2018). Hence, policymakers need to understand the impact of climate change on macroeconomic issues such as potential output growth, capital formation, productivity and long-run levels of interest rates, in order to better design policy interventions, be it monetary or fiscal (Economides and Xepapadeas, 2018; Bank of England, 2019; Rudebusch, 2019). As discussed, below are a range of fiscal tools that can be leveraged to mitigate the effects of climate change (Krogstrup and Oman, 2019).

Monetary Policy

Changes in climate and subsequent policy responses could increase volatility of food and energy prices, resulting in higher headline inflation rates. Thus, Central Banks (CBs) have to pay careful attention to underlying inflationary factors to maintain their inflationary targets. In response, CBs can take a number of actions. For example, they could require that collateral comprises assets that support the move to low-carbon economy, or their refinancing operations and crisis facilities could incentivise borrowers’ move to low-carbon activities, particularly in countries where CBs’ mandate has been expanded to account for climate impact (Papoutsi et al., 2021). Other actions that CBs could take include adoption of sustainable and responsible investment principles (Rudebusch, 2019) and requiring financial firms to disclose their climate-related risks (ECB, 2020; Lee, 2020). Despite these opportunities, there is ongoing debate regarding whether CBs should actively use monetary policy to address climate change and its risks (Honohan, 2019).

Fiscal Policy

The application of green fiscal policies to address climate change could lead to environmental benefits, including environmental revenues that may be used for broader fiscal reforms (OECD, 2021). As the USA aims at becoming carbon neutral by 2050, fiscal policies at the national, sectoral and international level can help to achieve this goal, along with investment, regulatory and technology policies (Parry, 2021). The effectiveness of green fiscal policies are through their fiscal potential, opportunities for efficiency gains, distributional and macroeconomic impacts, and their political economy implications (Metcalf, 2016). The International Monetary Fund argues public support for green policies may rise in response to the COVID-19 crisis (IMF, 2017). For example, Leibenluft (2020) argues that investments to combat climate change should be an important component of the efforts to rebuild the economy in the wake of COVID-19. Such action is justified not only on ecological and social welfare grounds, but from a long-term fiscal perspective. For example, climate change impacts and/or efforts to adapt to those impacts drive increased spending in areas such as public health and disaster mitigation or response. Preventive and corrective actions would strengthen resilience to shocks and alleviate the financial constraints they create, particularly for small countries (Catalano et al., 2020). For example, Mallucci (2020) found that natural disasters exacerbate fiscal vulnerabilities and trigger sovereign defaults in seven Caribbean countries. Ryota (2019) illustrates how to include natural disaster and climate change in a fiscal policy framework to developing countries.

Carbon Pricing

Pricing of GHGs, including carbon, is a crucial tool in any cost-effective climate change mitigation strategy, as it provides a mechanism for linking climate action to economic development (IMF/OECD, 2021). By 2019, 57 nations around the world had implemented or scheduled implementation of carbon pricing. These initiatives cover 11 gigatons of carbon dioxide or about 20% of GHG emissions. Carbon prices in existing initiatives range between USD 1 and USD 127 per ton of carbon dioxide, while 51% of the emissions that are covered are priced more than USD 10 per ton of carbon dioxide. Moreover, in 2018, Governments raised about USD 44 billion in carbon pricing revenues (World Bank, 2019). However, the carbon prices are lower than the levels required for attaining the ambitious goal of climate change mitigation, and therefore, prices would need to increase if pricing alone is going to be used to drive compliance with the Paris Agreement. Higher carbon prices would also be warranted if prices are based on the social cost of carbon, which represents the present value of the marginal damage to economic output caused by carbon emissions (Cai and Lontzek, 2018). This cost needs to be considered with the social benefits of reducing carbon emissions through cost-benefit analyses to make the intended regulation acceptable.


Carbon taxes represent another financial mechanism for addressing climate change (Metcalf, 2019), 2019b). For example, the implementation of a carbon tax and a value-added tax on transport fuel in Sweden resulted in a reduction of CO2 emissions from transport of about 11%, of which the carbon tax had the largest share (Andersson, 2019). In the USA, for example, a carbon tax could increase fiscal flexibility by collecting new revenues that can be redeployed to finance reforms and help stimulate economic growth. However, US tax-inclusive energy prices would have to be 273% higher than laissez-faire levels in 2055 in order to meet international agreements (Casey, 2019). Similarly, limiting global warming to 2°C or less would likely require a carbon tax rate in the Asia/Pacific region to be significantly higher than USD 25 per ton (IMF, 2021). Therefore, using tax revenues to issue payments back to taxpayers that are disproportionately impacted, or to redistribute capital among regions, may be one of the most important features of carbon tax policies. Although the average effect of carbon tax on welfare would be positive, some regions (56%) will gain and some regions (44%) lose (Scobie, 2013). Therefore, large transfer payments are needed to compensate those losing from carbon tax (Krusell and Smith, 2018).The International Monetary Fund (IMF (2019) argues that, of the various mitigation strategies to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions, carbon taxes are the most powerful and efficient, because they allow firms and households to find the lowest-cost ways of reducing energy use and shifting towards cleaner alternatives.


The World Bank has been encouraging both developed and developing states, especially those with petroleum reserves, to use the removal of subsidies as a mechanism for promoting energy transitions away from fossil fuels. The transition has led to social unrest in some cases, especially where there is a culture of entitlement to low-cost energy because it is an indigenous resource. Such reforms have been more effective when governments have been able to clearly show how savings are applied to social and health programs that benefit human well-being. Nevertheless, policymakers should not underestimate the complexity of issues involved in the removal of subsidies that will increase the cost of carbon and hasten the transition to cleaner fuels (Scobie, 2017; Scobie et al., 2018; Chen et al., 2020a). A crucial issue to take into account is the harmful effects some subsidies have on biodiversity. Although governments agreed in 2010 to make progress on reducing subsidies in 2010, by 2020 few governments had identified specific incentives to remove or taken action towards their removal. Further investigation of the positive and negative effects of subsidy redirection or elimination on people and the environment (Dempsey et al., 2020).

18.4.4 Frontiers of Climate Action

After decades of limited government action and social inertia to reduce the risk of climate change, there is also increasing social dissent towards the current political, economic and environmental policies to address climate (Brulle and Norgaard, 2019; Carpenter et al., 2019). Social movements are demanding radical action as the only option to achieve the mobilisation necessary for deep societal transformation (very high confidence) (Hallam, 2019; Berglund and Schmidt, 2020).

Prompted by SR1.5, new youth movements seek to use science-based policy to break with incremental reforms and demand radical climate action beyond emissions reductions (Hallam, 2019; Klein, 2020; Thackeray et al., 2020; Thew et al., 2020). Recent social movements and climate protests embrace new modalities of action related to political responsibility for climate injustice through disruptive collective political action (Young, 2003; Langlois, 2014). This is complemented by a regenerative culture and ethics of care (Westwell and Bunting, 2020). These new social movements are based on non-violent methods of resistance, including actions classified as dutiful, disruptive and dangerous dissent (O’Brien, 2018).

The new climate movement mixes messages of fear and hope to propel urgency and the need to respond to a climate emergency (Gills and Morgan, 2020). While some consider the mix between fear and hope as beneficial to success, depending on psychological factors (Salamon, 2019) or political geography (Kleres and Wettergren, 2017), others warn of the risks of a rhetoric of emergency and its political outcomes (Hulme and Apollo-University Of Cambridge Repository, 2019; Slaven and Heydon, 2020).

Research shows that new climate movements have increased public awareness, and also stimulated unprecedented public engagement with climate change (very high confidence) (Lee et al., 2020; Thackeray et al., 2020) and has helped rethink the role of science with society (Isgren et al., 2019). Such movements may represent new approaches to accelerate social transformation and have resulted in notable political successes, such as declarations of climate emergency at the national and local level, as well as in universities. Their methods have also proven effective to end fossil fuel sponsorship (Piggot, 2018). Social demands for radical action are likely to continue to grow, as there is growing discontent with political inertia and a rejection of reformist positions (Stuart et al., 2020).

Box 18.8: The Role of the Private Sector in Climate Resilient Development via Climate Finance, Investments and Innovation

Climate finance broadly refers to resources that catalyse low-carbon and climate resilient development. It covers the costs and risks of climate action, supports an enabling environment and capacity for adaptation and mitigation, and encourages research and development (R&D) and deployment of new technologies. Climate finance can be mobilised through a range of instruments from a variety of sources, international and domestic, public and private (Section

The private sector has particular competencies which can make significant contributions to adaptation, through innovative technology, design of resilient infrastructure, development and implementation of improved information systems, and the management of major projects. The private sector can be seen as a ‘supplier of innovative goods and services’ to meet the adaptation priorities of developing countries with expertise in technology and service delivery (Biagini and Miller, 2013).

Future investment opportunities in climate resilient development (CRD) are in water resources, agriculture and environmental services. Provision of clean water is another opportunity, requiring investment in water purification and treatment technologies such as desalination and wastewater treatment. Weather and climate services are a possible area for private investment. (Hov et al., 2017; Hewitt et al., 2020).

18.5 Sectoral and Regional Synthesis of Climate Resilient Development

Prior sections of this chapter assessed the literature relevant to CRD inclusive of climate risk management, systems transitions and transformation, and actors and the arenas in which they engage one another to enable or constrain CRD. Here, this knowledge is explored in different climatological and development contexts through a synthesis of CRD-relevant assessments within the WGII sectoral and regional chapters.

18.5.1 Regional Synthesis of Climate Resilient Development

In synthesising regional knowledge relevant to the pursuit of CRD, this section first considers geographic heterogeneity in regional responses of common climate variables to increases in globally averaged temperatures. Such heterogeneity is a key driver of climate risk in different global regions, as well as human and natural systems within those regions. This is followed by synthesis of various national development indicators, aggregated to the regional level, as well as various challenges, opportunities and options supporting CRD reported within WGII regional chapters. Climate Change Risk for Different Global Regions

Two important elements of understanding the opportunities and challenges associated with the pursuit of CRD in different regional contexts are a) the geographic variability in climate conditions that shape livelihoods, behaviours and responses of human and natural systems; and b) how those conditions could shift in the future in response to climate change, which determines the additional burden that climate change could create for adaptation and sustainable development.

The climate analyses of WGI provide information on regional differences in temperature, rainfall and sea surface temperatures for different global regions and how they are projected to change in response to different levels of aggregate global warming (Table 18.4). Such data reveal that even when aggregated to broad geographic regions, significant variations exist for all of these parameters, which is a function of the baseline climatology of each region. For example, temperatures in Africa and Australia are, on average, warmer than in Europe or North America. Significant variations are also observed for rainfall variables. Such regional variation in climate conditions is part of the regional context that shapes current patterns of development of the past present and future. They influence biodiversity and natural resource availability as well as exposure to climatic extremes (tropical storms, heatwaves and drought) that contribute to disasters.

The WGI data also indicate that increases in globally averaged temperatures will have different consequences for regional climate change (Table 18.4), including variation in the magnitude and, for precipitation, even the direction of change (very high confidence). For example, although average temperatures, daily minimum temperature and the number of days over a given threshold are projected to increase in all regions except Antarctica, the magnitude of the change varies. Moreover, little change is projected for daily maximum temperatures across different regions. Nevertheless, the number of days over different temperature thresholds such as 35°C increases markedly in most regions, reflecting the disproportionate impact that global warming has on the tails of temperature distributions. Given outcomes in many systems including public health, agriculture, ecosystems and biodiversity, and infrastructure are often associated with biophysical thresholds (e.g., physiological or design thresholds), those regions where such thresholds are increasingly exceeded due to climate change may experience disproportionately higher impacts (very high confidence). Given such temperatures occur more frequently in regions such as Africa and Central and South America, this disproportionate exposure is exacerbated by disproportionate vulnerability, adaptation gaps and development needs (very high confidence; Section 18.2.4; Table 18.4).

The regional response of precipitation to globally averaged temperature increases is less clear than temperature, in part due to high intra-region variability. Average daily precipitation remains fairly stable in all global regions in response to higher magnitudes of global warming (Table 18.4). However, 5-day precipitation totals provide a clearer signal of increasing hydrologic activity in response to higher globally averaged temperatures (Table 18.4). Such data does not necessarily reflect changes in rainfall extremes that could occur with downstream consequences for hazards such as drought or flooding. Similarly, while sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are more uniform across global ocean basins, all basins are anticipated to warm in response to higher globally averaged temperatures (Table 18.5). Unlike temperature, however, SST increases are anticipated to be only a fraction of the globally averaged increase in temperature, due in large part to the heat capacity of the oceans. Nevertheless, such higher SSTs have implications not only for ocean ecosystems and the distribution of marine species, but also for weather patterns, such as formation and intensity of tropical cyclones (very high confidence).

The other aspect of the regional climate responses to global temperature increases that is important for CRD is the marked differences observed between changes in response to 1.5°C versus 4°C of warming. Higher levels of global warming are associated with higher regional changes, including changes in extremes of temperature. This in turn increases climate risk to exposed and vulnerable human and natural systems, thereby increasing demand for adaptation. If that demand is not met, then the adaptation gap will be larger, with greater risk of loss and damage (very high confidence) (Schaeffer et al., 2015; Chen et al., 2016; United Nations Environment Programme, 2021). This is true not only for regions, but also at the sectoral level (Section 18.5.2). Therefore, CRD pathways must balance the demands for emissions reductions to reduce exposure, adaptation to manage residual climate change risks, and sustainable development to address vulnerability and enhance capacity for sustainable development.

Table 18.5 | Projected sea surface temperature change ranges by global warming level and ocean biome (°C). Ranges are 5th and 95th percentiles from SSP5-8.5 WGI CMIP6 ensemble results. There is little variation in the 5th and 95th percentile values by GWL across the SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0 and SSP5-8.5 projections. Source: WGI AR6 Interactive Atlas (Gutiérrez et al., 2021).

Global warming level

All ocean biomes

Northern Hemisphere; high latitudes

Northern Hemisphere; Subtropics


Southern Hemisphere; Subtropics

Southern Hemisphere; high latitudes

Gulf of Mexico

Eastern Boundaries

Amazon River

Arabian Sea

Indonesian flowthrough


1.9 to 2.4

2.0 to 3.3

2.2 to 2.8

2.1 to 3.0

1.8 to 2.4

1.3 to 2.0

2.1 to 2.8

2.1 to 2.7

1.7 to 2.5

2.3 to 2.9

1.9 to 2.7


1.3 to 1.7

1.2 to 2.2

1.4 to 2.4

1.4 to 2.2

1.2 to 1.7

0.7 to 1.4

1.5 to 2.3

1.4 to 2.1

1.2 to 2.0

1.6 to 2.2

1.3 to 1.9


0.6 to 1.0

0.5 to 1.4

0.7 to 1.4

0.7 to 1.3

0.5 to 1

0.3 to 0.8

0.6 to 1.4

0.6 to 1.3

0.6 to 1.3

0.6 to 1.3

0.5 to 1.2


0.2 to 0.7

0.1 to 0.9

0.2 to 1.0

0.2 to 0.8

0.2 to 0.6

0.1 to 0.5

0.2 to 1.0

0.2 to 0.9

0.2 to 0.9

0.2 to 0.9

0.1 to 0.8

Table 18.4 | Projected continental level result ranges for select temperature and precipitation climate change variables by global warming level. Ranges are 5th and 95th percentiles from SSP5-8.5 WGI CMIP6 ensemble results. There is little variation in the 5th and 95th percentile values by GWL across the SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0 and SSP5-8.5 projections. Source: WGI AR6 Interactive Atlas (Gutiérrez et al., 2021).

Climate variable

Global warming level

All Regions

North America



Central–South America




Mean temperature (°C)


12 to 15

8 to 11

5 to 9

12 to 14

24 to 27

26 to 29

24 to 27

−33 to −27


11 to 14

6 to 11

4 to 7

10 to 14

23 to 26

25 to 28

23 to 26

−35 to −26


10 to 13

5 to 9

3 to 6

8 to 12

22 to 25

24 to 27

22 to 25

−36 to −27


9 to 12

4 to 8

2 to 5

8 to 12

22 to 24

24 to 26

22 to 24

−36 to −27

Minimum of daily minimum temperatures (°C)


−12 to −5

−25 to −15

−22 to −14

−18 to −9

11 to 15

10 to 14

5 to 10

−64 to −48


−13 to −6

−27 to −15

−24 to −15

−20 to −11

10 to 15

8 to 14

4 to 10

−64 to −50


−15 to −8

−30 to −18

−27 to −17

−22 to −13

9 to 14

7 to 13

3 to 9

−65 to −51


−16 to −9

−32 to −20

−28 to −19

−23 to −14

8 to 14

6 to 12

3 to 9

−66 to −51

Maximum of daily maximum temperatures (°C)


32 to 37

32 to 38

28 to 33

35 to 40

36 to 43

40 to 47

41 to 49

−12 to −5


31 to 39

31 to 38

28 to 34

35 to 41

35 to 44

39 to 51

41 to 54

−12 to −3


30 to 37

30 to 36

26 to 33

33 to 39

34 to 43

38 to 50

39 to 53

−13 to −4


29 to 36

29 to 35

25 to 31

32 to 39

33 to 42

38 to 49

39 to 52

−14 to −5

Number of days with maximum temperature above 35°C—bias adjusted


81 to 106

36 to 50

11 to 22

57 to 77

138 to 194

153 to 210

140 to 168

0 to 0


66 to 87

27 to 40

6 to 15

44 to 59

100 to 153

131 to 183

124 to 147

0 to 0


52 to 68

19 to 29

4 to 8

33 to 45

61 to 106

116 to 151

102 to 124

0 to 0


45 to 58

16 to 24

2 to 5

30 to 39

43 to 85

107 to 133

94 to 115

0 to 0

Near-surface total precipitation (mm/d)


2 to 3

2 to 3

2 to 2

2 to 3

4 to 5

2 to 3

1 to 2

1 to 1


2 to 3

2 to 3

2 to 2

2 to 3

3 to 5

2 to 3

1 to 2

1 to 1


2 to 3

2 to 3

2 to 2

2 to 3

3 to 5

2 to 3

1 to 2

1 to 1


2 to 3

2 to 3

2 to 2

2 to 3

3 to 5

2 to 3

1 to 2

1 to 1

Maximum 5-day precipitation amount (mm)


79 to 99

75 to 93

53 to 71

81 to 105

118 to 168

68 to 113

81 to 124

20 to 29


66 to 99

68 to 87

48 to 68

70 to 101

97 to 165

60 to 118

76 to 129

19 to 27


64 to 93

65 to 84

47 to 65

66 to 95

93 to 162

55 to 107

73 to 122

18 to 26


63 to 91

63 to 83

46 to 64

64 to 93

92 to 160

52 to 105

74 to 119

18 to 25 Regional Perspectives on Climate Resilient Development

The various regional chapters within the AR6 WGII report each provide insights into progress towards CRD as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with future pursuit of different CRD pathways. Common indicators of development reflect the significant diversity that exists across different global regions with respect to their development context (very high confidence). For example, the Human Development Index, recently adjusted to reflect the effect of planetary pressures (PPAHDI), illustrates the overall higher levels of development of North America and European countries of the Global North as well as Australasia compared with Asia, Africa, Central and South America and small islands of the Global South. Generally, this reflects the higher levels of vulnerability and greater need for both sustainable developments to reduce poverty and support sustainable economies as well as climate action to address climate risk (Table 18.6).

However, even within a given region, there is significant variation in PPAHDI among nations. Such differences reflect fundamental differences in historical patterns of development, as well as current development needs and challenges, and they imply differences in what future development pathways would be consistent with CRD. In addition, nations and regions with lower PPAHDI values suggests greater capacity challenges for both GHG mitigation and climate adaptation. However, nations and regions with high PPAHDI values also tend to have higher per capita CO2-e emissions production, indicating that economic development based on fossil fuel use undermines both efforts on climate action as well as the SDGs (very high confidence) (Figure 18.6). Such challenges are also reflected by differential Gini coefficients and metrics of state fragility among regions, which reflect inequities in income distribution and broader vulnerability of nations and regions to shocks and stressors (Figure 18.6). In addition, high variation is observed in CO2 emissions production, even among comparatively wealthy nations, suggesting CO2-e emissions of some nations are tightly coupled to development, while others have pursued more carbon neutral development trajectories. Even within regions such as Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Europe, large within-region variations are observed in inequality and state fragility, suggesting high variability among nations. Given the emphasis in the sustainable development and CRD literature on equity and vulnerability, addressing such determinants of vulnerability is a core design principle for CRDPs.

Figure 18.6 | This figure presents National Gini coefficients (most recent year available; n = 141 (World Bank, 2021), the Fragile States Index (2021; n = 163; (Fund for Peace, 2021), and per capita CO2 emissions (2018; n = 169), Human Development Report Office, 2020) plotted against the Planetary Pressures-Adjusted Human Development Index (2020, n = 163 (Human Development Report Office, 2020)

In addition to development indicators, the literature assessed in the WGII regional chapters indicates that different regions experience a range of development challenges and opportunities that affect the pursuit of CRD (very high confidence). These represent dimensions of governance, institutions, economic development, capacity, and social and cultural factors that shape decision making, investment and development trajectories. For example, significant challenges exist within regions with respect to managing debt and the ability to fund or finance climate action and sustainable development interventions (very high confidence). On the other hand, a broad range of opportunities exist to pursue CRD including challenges with debt and financing of adaptation competing policy objectives, social protection programmes, economic diversification, investing in education and human capital development, and expanding disaster risk reduction efforts (very high confidence).

There are a wide variety of more focused options for climate action and sustainable development (very high confidence). Such options have potential for synergies and trade-offs including implications for GHG mitigation, land use change and conservation, food and water, or social equity. Despite variation in development context, regional assessments suggest CRD efforts will be associated with some common features. For example, in all regions, existing vulnerability and inequality exacerbate climate risk and therefore pose challenges to CRD (very high confidence). Furthermore, low prioritisation of sustainability and climate action in government decision making, low perceptions of climate risk, and path dependence in governance systems and decision-making processes all pose barriers to system transitions, transformation and CRD (very high confidence).

Table 18.6 | Regional synthesis of dimensions of climate resilient development. For each region, quantitative information is provided on common development indicators including the planetary pressures-adjusted human development index (PPHDI, 2020, n= 169 (Human Development Report Office, 2020), Gini coefficients (GINI, most recent year available; n= 156 (World Bank, 2021), Fragile States Index (FRAGILITY; 2021; n= 173 (Fund for Peace, 2021), and per capita CO2 emissions production (CO2/PC, 2018; n= 169 (Human Development Report Office, 2020). Each indicator is associated with a mean value among nations within a specific region as well as the range (minimum to maximum) value. In addition, the table contains evidence of sustainable development challenges and opportunities as well as adaptation/sustainable development options and potential synergies and trade-offs associated with their implementation. Synergies and trade-offs are categorised as follows: (T) Trade-off among policies and practices; (S+) Synergy among policies and practices that enhances sustainability; (S-) Synergy among policies and practices that undermines sustainability.


Development indicators

mean (range)




Synergies and trade-offs





  • Institutional and financial challenges in programming and implementing activities to support concrete adaptation measures (Section 9.1 4.5)
  • High debt levels exacerbate fiscal challenges and undermine economic resilience (Section 9.1 4)
  • Insufficient development and adaptation finance and accessibility of finance (Section 9.1 4.5)
  • Complexity of estimating the costs and benefits for adaptation measures in specific contexts (Section 9.1 4.2)
  • Exclusions of migrants and other vulnerable populations from social programmes (Section 9.9.4)
  • Mismatch between the supply of, and demand for, climate services (Section 9.5)
  • Climate change literacy can enable the mainstreaming of climate change into national and sub-national developmental agendas (Section 9.4.2)
  • Adaptive responses can be used as an opportunity for comprehensive, transformative change (Section 9.6.2)
  • Investments in human capital can facilitate socioeconomic development and poverty reduction (Section 9.9.1)
  • Strengthening the participation of women in decision making as well as advancing traditional and local knowledge can support climate action and sustainable livelihoods (Section 9.9.3)
  • (T) competing uses for water such as hydropower generation, irrigation and ecosystem requirements create trade-offs among different management objectives (Section 9.7.3)
  • (T) migration in response to unfavourable environmental conditions provides opportunities for farmers but puts pressure on the provision of social services and reduces farm labour (Section 9.1 5.2)
  • (T) intensive irrigation contributes to the development of agriculture but has come at a cost to ecosystem integrity and human well-being (Section 9.1 5.2)














  • Investing in climate-resilient and sustainable infrastructure can be a source of green jobs as well as a means of reducing climate vulnerability (Section 10.6.2)
  • Sustainable development pathways that connect climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction efforts can reduce climate vulnerability and increase resilience (Section 10.6.2)
  • Social protection programmes can develop risk management strategies to address loss and damage from climate change (Section 10.5.6)
  • Risk insurance (Section 10.5.5)
  • Climate-smart agriculture (, Table 10.6)
  • Wetland protection and restoration (Table 10.6)
  • Aquifer storage and recovery (Table 10.6)
  • Integrated smart water grids (Table 10.6)
  • Disaster risk management (Table 10.6)
  • Early warning systems (Table 10.6)
  • Resettlement and migration (Table 10.6)
  • Nature-based solutions in urban areas
  • Coastal green infrastructure (Table 10.6)
  • (S+) nature-based adaptation solutions, wetland protection, and climate-smart agriculture enhance carbon sequestration (Table 10.6)
  • (S+) disaster risk reduction and capacity building have synergistic interactions with climate adaptation when the two are effectively integrated (Section 10.6.2)
  • (S+) environmental sustainability has benefits for relieving poverty and promoting social equity (Section 10.6.4)
  • (T) intensive irrigation and other forms of water consumption can have a negative effect on water quality and aquatic ecosystems (Section 10.6.3)














  • Underinvestment in adaptation, particularly in public health systems, given current and projected risks (Section
  • Underlying social and economic vulnerabilities exacerbate disadvantage among particular social groups (Section 11.8.2)
  • Competing policy and planning objectives within governments (Section 11.7.2)
  • Limits to adaptation across the region and among neighbours (Section 11.7.2)
  • Fear of litigation and demands for compensation create disincentives for climate adaptation (Section 11.7.2)
  • Different climate change risk perceptions among different groups (Section 11.7.2)
  • Implementation of national policies and guidance on climate adaptation and resilience (Box 11.5)
  • Cooperation among individual farmers for adaptation and regional innovation (Section 11.7.1)
  • Enhancing understanding of Indigenous knowledge and practices (Table 11.11)
  • Climate adaptation services, planning and tools from government and private sector providers (Section 11.7.1)
  • Enhancing governance frameworks (Table 11.17)
  • Building capacity for adaptation (Table 11.17)
  • Community partnership and collaborative engagement (Table 11.17)
  • Flexible decision making (Table 11.17)
  • Reducing systemic vulnerabilities (Table 11.17)
  • Providing adaptation funding and compensation mechanisms (Table 11.17)
  • Addressing social attitudes and engagement in adaptation and climate action (Table 11.17)
  • (T) adapting to fire risk in peri-urban zones introduces potential trade-offs among ecological values and fuel reduction in treed landscapes (Section 11.3.5)










Central and South America




  • Vulnerability of informal settlements with chronic exposure to everyday, non-climate risks
  • Limited political influence of poor and most vulnerable groups
  • Poor market access of rural households
  • Little consideration of the implications of NDCs for poverty and livelihoods
  • Corruption, particularly in the construction and infrastructure sector
  • Gender inequities in labour markets
  • Limits to adaptation
  • Address existing development deficits, particularly the needs of informal settlements and economies
  • Adopt collaborative approaches to decision making that integrate civic groups and communities as well as the private sector
  • Enhance adoption of sustainable tourism and livelihood diversification
  • Upgrading of informal and vulnerable settlements
  • Capacity building in national and city level government institutions
  • Enhancing social protection programmes
  • Integrated land use planning and risk-sensitive zoning
  • Infrastructure greening
  • disaster risk mitigation and management
  • Emergency medical and public health preparedness
  • Improving insurance mechanisms and climate financing
  • Ecosystem conservation, protection and restoration
  • Appropriate use of climate information and development of climate services
  • (S+) conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems have synergies with mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development (Section 12.7.1)





65.9 (35.9–92.6)








  • Mitigation and adaptation remain siloed around sectoral approaches (Box 13.3)
  • Institutional, policy and behavioural lock-ins constrain the rate of system transitions (Section 13.11.4)
  • Legislative and decision making process constraints on climate action (Section 13.11.4)
  • High adaptation costs and concerns about effectiveness and feasibility (Section 13.3.2, Table 13.A.5)
  • Competition for land use among adaptation and other uses (Section 13.3.2)
  • Perceptions of climate change as irrelevant or not urgent (Section 13.3.2)
  • Public budget and human capital limitations (Section 13.3.2)
  • Engagement in climate change knowledge, policy and practice networks (Box 13.3)
  • National policies can lead to more ambitious and integrated climate planning and action with associated co-benefits (Box 13.3)
  • System transformations towards more adaptive and climate-resilient systems (Section 13.11.4, Box 13.3)
  • (T) wind farms support greenhouse gas mitigation but have ecosystem implications and impacts (Section 13.4.2)
  • (T) adapting and mitigating climate change through afforestation and forest management may be hampered by biophysical and land use trade-offs (Section 13.3.2)





41.1 (16.2–72.9)




North America




  • Lack of representation of all groups and communities in politics and decision making (Section 14.6.3)
  • Economic and financial constraints on adaptation within communities (Section 14.6.2)
  • Persistent social vulnerability and inequities (Sections 14.6.3,
  • Adaptation actions that are maladaptive and exacerbate existing inequities (Section
  • Constraints on capacity for data collection (Table 14.8)
  • Limited organisational willingness to implement new and untested solutions (Table 14.8)
  • Increased focus on building adaptive capacity in small towns and rural areas (Section 14.6.3)
  • Greater use of SDGs as a framework for equitable adaptation measures (Section 14.6.3)
  • Broader and deeper recognition of the role of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge systems in adaptation (Section 14.6.3)
  • Greater emphasis on participatory governance and co-production of knowledge in adaptation decision making (Section
  • Enhanced use of risk-based decision analysis frameworks and flexible adaptation pathways (Section
  • Coordination of policies to support transformational adaptation (Section
  • Indigenous knowledge-based land and resource management (Section 14.4.4)
  • Adaptive co-management of agriculture and freshwater resources (Section 14.4.3)
  • Ecosystem-based management and nature-based solutions (Box 14.3, Sections 14.4.2, 14.4.3, 14.4.4, Table 14.9)
  • Increased efficiency and equity of water management and allocation (Section
  • Energy conservation measures (Section
  • Guidelines, codes, standards and specifications for infrastructure (Section
  • Modifying zoning and buying properties in floodplains (Section
  • Web-based tools for visualising and exploring climate information scenario planning and risk analyses (Section
  • (S+) post-fire ecosystem recovery measures, restoration of habitat connectivity, and managing for carbon storage enhance adaptation potential and offers co-benefits with carbon mitigation (Box 14.1)
  • (T) REDD+ represents a trade-off between carbon mitigation and the ability of communities to improve their food security (Section 14.4.7)
  • (T) new coastal and alpine developments generate economic activity but enhance local social inequalities (Section 15.4.10)










Small Islands




  • Increasing women’s access to climate change funding and support from organisations (Section 15.6.5) promoting agroecology, food sovereignty and regenerative economies (Section 15.7)
  • Expanding sustainable tourism economies (Section 15.7)
  • Integrating climate change and disaster management with broader development planning and implementation (Section 15.7)
  • Using climate risk insurance as a way to support development and adaptation processes (Section 15.7)
  • Improving cross sectoral and cross agency coordination (Section 15.7)
  • Enhanced integration between development assistance, public financial management, and climate finance (Section 15.5.7)
  • Raising dwellings and other infrastructure (Section 15.5.2)
  • Land reclamation (Section 15.5.2)
  • Migration and planned resettlement (Section 15.5.2)
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation including Indigenous and local knowledge (Section 15.5.2)
  • protected areas (Section 15.5.2)
  • Ecosystem restoration and improved agroforestry practices (Sections 15.5.2, 15.5.4)
  • Community-based adaptation (Section 15.5.5)
  • Livelihood diversification and use of improved technologies and equipment (Section 15.5.6)
  • Diversifying cropping patterns, expanding or prioritising other cash crops (Section 15.5.6)
  • Small-scale livestock husbandry (15.5.6)
  • Irrigation technologies (Section 15.5.6)
  • Diversification away from coastal tourism
  • Disaster risk management (DRM) (Section 15.5.7)
  • Early warning systems and climate services (Section 15.5.7)
  • (S+) development decisions and outcomes are strengthened by consideration of climate and disaster risk (Section 15.7)
  • (S-) impacts of invasive alien species on islands are projected to increase with time due to synergies between climate change and other drivers (Section 15.3.3)
  • (S-) synergies between changing climate and other natural and anthropogenic stressors could lead to disproportionate impacts on biodiversity (Section 15.3.3)










18.5.2 Sectoral Synthesis of Climate Resilient Development

The sectoral chapters of the WGII report provide insights regarding how development processes interact with sectors to shape the potential for CRD. Similar to global regions, each sector is associated with various challenges, opportunities and options that enable or constrain CRD (Table 18.7). A number of challenges are common across sectors and mirror those associated with different regions. For example, issues associated with natural resource dependency, access to information for decision making, access to human and financial capital, and path dependence of institutions represent barriers that must be overcome if sectors are to support transitions that enable CRD. These challenges are more acute within vulnerable communities or nations where capacity to innovate and invest are constrained and social inequities reinforce the status quo (very high confidence). At the same time, a number of sector-specific opportunities for mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development can be used to integrate sectors into CRDPs. This could include policies and planning initiatives to enhance sector sustainability and resilience, as well as capacity building and greater inclusion of different actors and groups in decision making including capitalising on local and Indigenous knowledge as a mechanism for more representative and equitable action.

In addition, the sectoral assessments identify a broad range of specific adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development options that could play a role in facilitating CRD. Many of these options appear initially to be specific to a given sector. For example, options for the water sector (Chapter 4) are assessed independently from those for health and well-being (Chapter 7). In practice, however, evidence suggests the importance of thinking about sectoral options as cross-cutting, mutually supportive and synergistic packages rather than singular options. First, each of the sectoral chapters has links to multiple SDGs (Table 18.7), implying each sector is important for achieving a range of sustainability goals that extend beyond sectoral boundaries. Moreover, progress across multiple sectors simultaneously creates opportunities for synergies for achieving the SDGs, but also enhances the risk of potential trade-offs (very high confidence). Second, a number of options are common to multiple sectors. For example, options associated with ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based approaches to environmental management appear in multiple sectors (Table 18.7). Similarly, climate-smart agriculture and agroecological approaches to food systems create opportunities for food security, but those same options also benefit land-based ecosystems, water, poverty and livelihoods, and human well-being.

Table 18.7 | Sectoral synthesis of dimensions of climate resilient development. For each sectoral chapter of the WGII report, this table identifies those SDGs that are discussed in the relevant chapter as being particularly relevant to the sector. In addition, the table contains evidence of sustainable development challenges and opportunities as well as adaptation/sustainable development options and potential synergies and trade-offs associated with their implementation. Synergies and trade-offs are categorised as follows: (T) Trade-off among policies and practices; (S+) Synergy among policies and practices that enhances sustainability; (S-) Synergy among policies and practices that undermines sustainability.


Relevant SDGs





Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their services

SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 3, SDG 6, SDG 7, SDG 9, SDG 10, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 15, SDG 17

  • Low capacity for dispersal limits range shifts to match climate (Section 2.6.1)
  • Constraints on the evolution of greater stress tolerance among species (Sections 2.4.2, 2.6.1)
  • Altered peatland drainage and repeated disturbances pose barriers to restoration of tropical peatlands (Section 2.4.3)
  • Demonstrating the efficacy of natural flood management efforts poses challenges to its deployment (Section 2.6.5)
  • Uncertainties in climate and socioeconomic projections constrain adaptation planning and implementation (Section 2.7)
  • Nature-based solutions offer the opportunity to address climate change and biodiversity problems in an integrated way (Section 2.6)
  • Adaptation can be integrated with the protection of biodiversity and land-based climate change mitigation initiatives (Section 2.6.2)
  • Habitat restoration, connectivity and creation of protected areas (Table 2.5)
  • Integrated landscape management (Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2)
  • Community-based natural resource management (Section
  • Maintain or restore natural species and structural diversity (Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2)
  • Restoration of hydrological flows and catchment vegetation (Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2)
  • Control of feral herbivores Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL.1 in Chapter 2)
  • Reduce non-climatic stressors to land-based ecosystems (Table 2.6)
  • (S+) ecosystem-based adaptation measures, such as restoration of forests and wetlands for flood and erosion control help maintain freshwater supply and quality (Section 2.2.2)
  • (S-) over grazing/stocking of pastures and grasslands can result in soil erosion and the loss of biodiversity (Table Cross-Chapter BoxNATURAL1 in Chapter 2)
  • (T) planting non-native monocultures for mitigation can reduce biodiversity and resilience
  • (T) inappropriate hydrological restoration can result in increased methane emissions (Table Cross-Chapter Box NATURAL1 in Chapter 2)
  • (T) afforestation/reforestation and bioenergy initiatives can conflict with other land uses such as food and timber production (Table Cross-Chapter Box BECCS, Section 2.2.2, Box 2.2)

Ocean and coastal ecosystems and their services

SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 3, SDG 5, SDG 7, SDG 8, SDG 9, SDG 10, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14

  • Shifts in the distribution of fish species across exclusive economic zones present governance, ecological and conservation challenges (Section 3.4.3)
  • Resource constraints impede the implementation of ecosystem-based and community-based adaptation for low- to middle-income nations (Section 3.6.2)
  • Governance in marine social-ecological systems is highly complex with poorly defined legal frameworks (Section 3.6.2)
  • ‘Coastal squeeze’ challenges adaptation, creating tensions between coastal development and coastal habitat management (