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Guidance for assessing the transformational impacts of policies and actions

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Initative for Climate Action Transparency
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ICAT Transformational Change Guidance

The unprecedented challenge of climate change requires that society undergoes a fundamental change away from carbon-intensive models of development. It is crucial that climate and development policies avoid further investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and promote clean technologies to ensure alignment with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal. In this context, there is an increasing need to assess the transformational impacts of policies and understand whether they can catalyse sustained shifts in economic, political, social and technical systems.  

The purpose of this guidance is to help users assess transformational potential and impacts of policies and actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Transformational impacts can result from processes and outcomes of policies or actions that drive structural changes in society towards climate change mitigation and sustainable development goals and targets, such as those envisioned in the Paris Agreement, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), long-term low-emission reduction strategies and the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Transformational changes can occur at international, national and subnational levels. Drivers of transformational change include changes in technology, social norms, behaviour, and economic and non-economic incentives and disincentives. When a policy’s change is transformational, its impacts can alter the structures of society to achieve climate and sustainable development outcomes that are large in scale and are sustained over time.   

Developed by Initative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT)

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