A report on adaptation and mitigation synergies launched 11.1.2013
A scoping study commissioned by NOAK (Nordic Working Group for Global Climate Negotiations, under the Nordic Council of Ministers) sheds light into synergies and trade-offs between climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The scoping study, which was carried out by Gaia Consulting Ltd. together with Mr. Saleemul Huq and Mr. Svein Tveitdal, argues that systematically promoting synergies and avoiding trade-offs among mitigation and adaptation action could enhance simultaneous prevention of further emissions increases, guiding economies more broadly towards low/no-emission pathways as well as accelerating urgently needed adaptation and resilience building.
While the landscape of current research remains rather scattered and limited, examples that demonstrate promising potential for accommodating synergies have been identified in several sectors. These sectors include rather obvious candidates such as agriculture, forestry and land use which all play a key role in both mitigation and adaptation. In addition, this study has identified potential for synergies in the energy, infrastructure planning and construction, transportation, insurance and waste treatment sectors.
Harnessing synergies can offer solutions to more efficient, responsive and comprehensive climate policy. Activities which genuinely combine climate change adaptation and mitigation perspectives can also result in co-benefits with other goals of sustainable development, the report concludes.
The study reveals that no funding instruments with explicit and systematic aims to harness synergies exist to date. However, multiple stakeholders interviewed in the study acknowledge the potential for synergies and assume the existence of these to some extent in several of their activities, suggesting that there is a strong need to dedicate more attention to synergies.
The study provides four recommendations: Firstly, it recommends that more empirical research on synergies is conducted to further define and concretize the benefits and challenges – in some cases trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation also exist. Secondly, it is suggested that a review of the funding criteria of relevant climate funds is carried out. Thirdly, it is recommended that the concept of synergies is linked with the climate mainstreaming agenda. Finally, attention should be paid to opportunities to catalyze private sector climate action also in harnessing synergies.
From a Nordic perspective, the study suggests that Nordic countries are well positioned to contribute to climate action in developing countries as they have representation in various climate funds and a joint position on the issue of synergies could be influential. The Nordic countries also have particular expertise in many of the sectors, where synergies were identified.
Innovative finance mechanisms can create beneficial best practices. However, there is an opportunity to increasingly move from stand-alone project-based climate action towards supporting broader, sector-wide and national-level action plans. Funding broader national level action plans could be an effective way to enable synergistic and cost-effective climate action.
The findings of the report are based on a broad review of current research, complemented with 26 expert interviews with representatives from various development funding agencies, research institutes, Nordic ministries and climate finance organisations. The study was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and prepared under the responsibility of the Nordic Working Group for Global Climate Negotiations (NOAK).
- Julia Illman (email@example.com, +358 44 5335 723)
- Mikko Halonen (firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 40 700 2190)