Achieving climate change and sustainable development objectives: national de-carbonisation roadmaps

A CD-LINKS side event for the Vienna Energy Forum was held on 12 May 2017.

The side event introduced the most recent outcomes of the CD-LINKS project. Utilising the knowledge of 19 different international research organisations from around the globe, the project explores national and global climate and energy transformation strategies and their linkages to a range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the side event, the energy and climate policy measures that would be needed to reach the well below 2°C target, and a comparison with the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) was presented. The well below 2°C target was established through the Paris Agreement, which is within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The NDCs are the climate actions pledged by countries under the Paris Agreement for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The side event was chaired by Keywan Riahi and Valentina Bosetti.

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Part of the CD-LINKS project assesses the implications of the NDCs for the SDGs, such as poverty, food security, water, biodiversity, air pollution and health. The team of international researchers working on the project have considered and analyzed how more stringent climate action could foster an energy transformation with positive additional feedbacks with regards to the SDGs.

The SDGs cannot be seen as isolated targets, and so important interlinkages between the individual goals have been identified. For example, the goal of Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), can be seen to have direct or indirect linkages to all of the other goals. Energy policies have especially notable impacts on poverty reduction and reducing inequalities (SDGs 1, 10, 5), food security (SDG 2), health issues (SDG 3), water availability (SDG 6), economic growth and employment (SDG 8), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9) and climate action (SDG 13), in the same way as these dimensions will affect energy policy. The SDG assessments were presented by Volker Krey at the side event.

Representatives of the two Chinese partners (Jiang Kejun and Chen Wenying), and the Indian (Ritu Mathur) and Brazilian (Roberto Schaeffer) partners of the CD-LINKS project presented country-level strategies for climate and energy transformation pathways for the future that support the global target of staying well below 2°C, together with initial results on their impact on other sustainable development dimensions.

During the event a question and answer session followed each presentation. Questions that were asked included the role of gas in India’s transformation, the electrification of transport in Brazil (e.g. trains) and whether the project has identified which holistic SDG policies have found to work in practice.