The challenge

An important question for policy makers, in the G20 and beyond, is how to bring climate action into the broader sustainable development agenda. It is increasingly recognised that climate change is intricately linked to sustainable development, not just in terms of joint underlying drivers, but also with respect to synergistic policy choices. On the one hand, climate change mitigation policy, if well designed, can lead to significant co-benefits for development. On the other hand, climate impacts and risks have been strongly identified as ‘threat multipliers’.

To effectively inform decision making on these issues, whether at the national or international level, science must take an integrated and holistic perspective. A central question at the national level, for instance, is how climate and development policies may interact – do they reinforce or hinder each other when trying to achieve a range of societal priorities, like, for example, energy poverty eradication, air quality improvement, energy security enhancement, climate resilience and food and water access? A comprehensive analysis of future development pathways needs to align both global and national perspectives, with the aim of addressing multiple policy priorities simultaneously.

The CD-LINKS challenge is to advance the state-of-the-art of integrated, model-based analysis of the development-energy-climate nexus. This means (i) working toward the next generation of technological and socio-economic pathways that take into account climate-resilient adaptation strategies, and (ii) establishing a research network and capacity building platform in order to leverage knowledge-exchange among institutions from Europe and other key players within the G20.