Paris is working! Good news from the climate policy implementation area

Aerial drone view on Katowice centre and roundabout at night. Silesia, Poland

A climate policy year full of negotiations is entering its final spurt. The finish line is marked by the Paris rulebook, the contours of which are still blurred even after a week of final negotiations at COP24 in Katowice, Poland.

The transparency rules, the reduction contributions in addition to the national climate contributions, and how developing countries can be given binding financial support - a consensus on these issues seems far away and once again only minimal solutions are in view. Furthermore, continuously rising CO2 emissions have made a trend reversal more urgent.

Has the momentum of the Paris Agreement already evaporated? - Not at all, as various results from current adelphi studies and projects illustrate.

The dynamics of local climate action, implementation experiences and finance of national climate activities or, even more broadly, the global evaluation of successful approaches from climate policy practices provide clear indications that the Paris Agreement has had an impact, even if technical implementation issues have not yet all been solved.

» All adelphi COP24 side events at a glance

What are some successful approaches?

First of all, there are dynamic efforts at a level that is not in the focus of intergovernmental negotiations, as it is currently the case with COP24: the level of local governments. As seen in the recently published study "Multi-Level Climate Governance - Instruments enhancing climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local level", it has become clear that cities can make a significant contribution to maintaining the two-degree target.

A large number of examples from Brazil to South Africa show that issues of climate action and adaptation to climate change are actively addressed by local administrations and companies in areas such as waste management, water and sewage disposal or transport and electricity supply. The success factors of this climate policy design are often hybrid arrangements between governmental framework conditions and local institutions. This potential is far from exhausted.

Based on already existing experience, useful future scenarios for the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) can be outlined, as was made clear by a series of workshops organised in 2018 by the NDC Support Cluster for national and subnational governments. The findings, summarised by adelphis' team of authors and also recently published, build on the ideas for a series of concepts to support NDC implementation developed by the workshop participants . The innovative implementation perspectives focused on governance, transparency, financing and the specific perspectives of individual sectors.

Implementation experience is a counter-proposal to the slow negotiation process

The newly established Good Practice Database, which is being set up and implemented by adelphi and the NewClimate Institute, together with international partners on behalf of GIZ, has an even broader focus. The main objective is to get to know successful NDC implementation strategies and to use the Good Practice Database (GPD) of the Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement. From Chile to India to Senegal, from waste management to agriculture - there are already many approaches that can be used for NDC implementation.

The bottom line is that a varied picture of rich implementation experiences emerges, which are more than ever globally linked and thus act as an alternative to the slow negotiation process. It is also clear, however, that successful climate policy must ultimately combine both areas - globally negotiated solutions and concrete national and local implementation.

Selected Projects

Selected Publications