Special Issue "Transparency of Climate Policies for Sustainability Transition"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Karen Holm Olsen
Website
Guest Editor
DTU Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Interests: sustainability transition; impact assessment; sustainable development; transformational change; Article 6 cooperative approaches; transparency; capacity building
Dr. Gerardo Sanchez Martinez
Website
Guest Editor
DTU Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Interests: adaptation; monitoring and evaluation; climate action transparency; resilience

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Paris Agreement Article 13 established an enhanced transparency framework (ETF) for tracking progress in climate action and support. Under this framework, all countries shall report through biennial transparency reports (BTRs) and national inventory reports on their national greenhouse gas inventories, track progress of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), support provided, needed, and received, and voluntarily communicate on climate impacts and adaptation. For countries to commit to ambitious NDC targets, national transparency frameworks are needed to support evidence-based policy making and implementation. The transparency of the collective efforts of NDCs to keep global warming well below 1.5–2 °C will build trust that all parties contribute their fair share to a global and just sustainability transition. The urgency of sustainability transition at all levels of society towards net-zero global CO2 emissions is underlined in the ‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2018). Since 2015, when the 2030 Agenda with the global sustainable development goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Paris Agreement were agreed, the need for integrated impact assessment of climate and development of policies and actions has increasingly been recognized in the research (Iyer et al. 2018, Fuso Nerini et al. 2018) and policy communities (ICAT 2019a and ICAT 2019b). Transparency and coordinated reporting for tracking progress for diverse, often conflicting climate and sustainable development goals are the key to manage synergies and trade-offs for effective policy making and impact investment for sustainability transition. Moreover, it is important to understand to which extent the transparency provisions of the Paris Agreement can facilitate climate action progress through greater accountability, since the link between the two is far more complex and less clear than commonly assumed (Gupta A. and van Asselt H., 2019). It is important to not underestimate the deep accountability challenges to address in the transnational climate change regime resulting from increasingly complex networks among other factors (Widerberg O. and Pattberg P 2017).

This Special Issue aims at taking stock of current knowledge of experience and research on the role of transparency of climate policies to promote sustainability transition at global, national, and local levels. We therefore invite papers that address the following questions, among others:

  • How are developing countries supported to develop their national transparency systems?
  • What are the challenges and issues to establish sustainable institutional frameworks at national, sectoral, and subnational levels for data collection and reporting to the ETF?
  • What are the special circumstances and capacity building needs for least developed countries (LDCs) and small island development states (SIDS)?
  • How is the private sector incentivized to contribute and report to national registries for GHG accounting and NDC and SDG monitoring and reporting?
  • How can the enhanced transparency framework complement and strengthen complementary “accountability pathways” including mutual peer-to-peer accountability, internal accountability of governments to institutions and/or civil society organizations, and governmental self-evaluation (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen S.I., 2018)?
  • How can a planetary boundaries approach to assess transformational impact for sustainability transition be operationalized at national, sectoral, and possibly company level to assess the ambition of policies and actions towards NDC targets aligned with the global goals?
  • What lessons can we learned from case studies of government and nonstate actor experiences to establish transparency systems for reporting to the ETF?

If you would like to contribute with a paper to the Special Issue, please send an abstract (max. 250 words) to [email protected] and [email protected] at the latest by 31 January 2020. Full papers for selected abstracts are due by 30 September 2020. Papers finalized earlier may be published on an ongoing basis.

References:

Fuso Nerini, F., Tomei, J., To, L. S., Bisaga, I., Parikh, P., Black, M., Borrion, A., Spataru, C., Castán Broto, V., Anandarajah, G., Milligan, B. & Mulugetta, Y. 2018. 'Mapping synergies and trade-offs between energy and the Sustainable Development Goals.' Nature Energy, 3:1, 10-15.

Gupta A, van Asselt H. Transparency in multilateral climate politics: Furthering (or distracting from) accountability? Regul Gov. 2019 Mar;13(1):18–34.

ICAT (2019)a. Sustainable Development Methodology: Assessing the environmental, social and economic impacts of policies and actions. Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), Rich, D., Song, R. & Olsen, K.H. (Eds.). World Resources Institute, and UNEP DTU Partnership, Washington and Copenhagen. https://climateactiontransparency.org/icat-guidance/sustainable-development/

ICAT (2019)b. Transformational Change Methodology: Assessing the transformational impacts of policies and actions. Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), Olsen, K.H. & Singh, N. (Eds.). UNEP DTU Partnership and World Resources Institute, Copenhagen and Washington. https://climateactiontransparency.org/icat-guidance/transformational-change/   

Iyer, G., Calvin, K., Clarke, L., Emonds, J., Hultman, N., Hartin, C., McJeon, H., Aldy, J. & Pizer, W. 2018. 'Implications of sustainable development considerations for comparability across nationally determined contributions.' Nature Climate Change, 8, 124-29.

Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen SI, Groff M, Tamas PA, Dahl AL, Harder M, Hassall G. Entry into force and then? The Paris agreement and state accountability. Clim POLICY. 2018;18(5):593–9.

Widerberg O, Pattberg P. Accountability Challenges in the Transnational Regime Complex for Climate Change. Rev Policy Res. 2017 Jan;34(1, SI):68–87.

Dr. Karen Holm Olsen
Dr. Gerardo Sanchez Martinez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • enhanced transparency framework (ETF)
  • biennial transparency report (BTR)
  • transformational change
  • accountability pathways
  • sustainable development
  • Tracking progress of NDCs for mitigation and adaptation goals
  • sustainability transition
  • planetary boundaries

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Applying the ICAT Sustainable Development Methodology to Assess the Impacts of Promoting a Greater Sustainability of the Charcoal Value Chain in Mozambique
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10390; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410390 - 11 Dec 2020
Abstract
This study assesses greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions and sustainable development impacts connected to the nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA) on sustainable charcoal production in Mozambique. The analysis covers the results of the ex-ante assessment of the NAMA potential contribution to the achievement [...] Read more.
This study assesses greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions and sustainable development impacts connected to the nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA) on sustainable charcoal production in Mozambique. The analysis covers the results of the ex-ante assessment of the NAMA potential contribution to the achievement of Mozambique’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target. The expected impacts show that the proposed actions tied to NAMA (e.g., introducing improved kilns, sustainable forest management, briquetting of charcoal waste and torrefaction) can cumulatively lead to emission reductions amounting to 314,521 ± 45,138 t CO2-eq (119% reduction) by 2025, and 442,706 ± 26,766 t CO2-eq (113% reduction) by 2030 at the national level, compared to a business as usual scenario. This shifting represents a transformation of the charcoal sector from a net source of emissions to net carbon sequestrating. The analysis also identifies a wide range of sustainable development cobenefits, including increased income, improved gender equity, job creation (23% increase by 2025, and 15% decrease by 2030), and increased revenue (USD 825,000 by 2025, and USD 1.6 million by 2030). The assessment process concluded that unless robust data collection, processing, and sharing is put in place, a full assessment of all direct and indirect environmental, social, and economic impacts cannot be comprehensively reported. Finally, we highlight the lessons learned and specific barriers for a robust monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of the given policy under the current MRV set up and available capacities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transparency of Climate Policies for Sustainability Transition)
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Enhanced Transparency in Non-Annex 1 Countries? Challenges and Options for Measurement and Reporting in Georgia
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9981; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239981 - 29 Nov 2020
Abstract
This paper explores what the main challenges are for Georgia and other non-Annex 1 countries to meet the requirements under the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework, and discusses what the options are for overcoming these challenges. The paper draws on primary data from [...] Read more.
This paper explores what the main challenges are for Georgia and other non-Annex 1 countries to meet the requirements under the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework, and discusses what the options are for overcoming these challenges. The paper draws on primary data from Georgia’s energy sector and on case-based literature from various non-Annex 1 countries. The literature points to challenges such as insufficient budgets, low capacity, and inadequate institutional set-ups, and proposes increased financial and technical support and standardized guidelines for measurement and reporting as best options. Cases from South Caucasus and Georgia are rare. We therefore examine how Georgia’s current system for Measurement and Reporting is organized, and what the main technical-administrative challenges are for the sector to meet the transparency requirements as seen from key stakeholders’ and implementers’ perspectives. In addition to challenges similar to those identified in the literature, we find that the most fundamental challenge is a lack of domestic political motivation and support. The perceived complexity of the transparency requirements is a major deterrent in combination with the limited capacity to deal with it. We therefore focus our discussion on options for how to foster domestic political support, and argue that emphasizing existing and new co-benefits, including increasingly linking Measurement and Reporting to the carbon market, could be a way forward. Given the urgency of reducing emissions, we find that efforts towards reducing the complexity of the requirements, activities and tools for Measurement and Reporting (M&R) could help adapt the Enhanced Transparency Framework to the actual situation of non-Annex 1 countries and make Measurement and Reporting more worthwhile for these countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transparency of Climate Policies for Sustainability Transition)
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