Adaptation is a critical option to cope with climate change, as it alleviates the residual climate damages not avoided by emission reduction measures. However, adaptive actions can consume extra amounts of energy. This paper introduces a framework to identify the energy use associated with adaptation and qualifies its relevance in terms of sustainable development. A qualitative, bottom-up analysis of the policy commitments submitted in the context of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 UN Agenda for sustainable development is complemented with a review of the literature on adaptation, energy, and sustainable development. The analysis of the policy options related to vulnerability reduction in the Nationally Determined Contributions reveals a set of recurring adaptation strategies strongly associated with energy use. By linking the resulting options to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets and indicators, we show that energy-related adaptation options are all connected to at least one SDG, though the strength of the connection varies across adaptation options and SDGs. The descriptive synthesis provided in this paper sets a framework for future research aimed at assessing the energy implications of adaptation strategies, contributing to further understand the nexus between climate policy and development.
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