Policy and social prerequisites for effective climate action

This session is curated by Dennis Snower, President, Global Solutions Initiative.

The challenge It is abundantly clear that we are not making the progress needed at the pace and scale needed to address climate change. The most recent IPCC report again emphasises the devastating implications already evident as a consequence, with much worse to come unless real progress is made within an ever narrowing window for action.

Why are we not making progress quickly enough? Do we have the right objectives and responsibilities for businesses and economies? Are we measuring and incentivising the actions necessary? Is the ecosystem of investors, businesses, governments and consumers aligned to focus on the urgent transformation we clearly need? Do we have the right level of focus on delivering green alternatives at the pace and scale needed? Do we have the resilience needed to respond to the now inevitable challenge to be faced, especially in some of the countries with least capacity to respond? How do we introduce policies that will protect the planet with sufficient social support to make them successful?

The policy issue These challenges reflect the need for urgent policy responses to accelerate the transformation we now urgently need. Responses which orient business and economic activities to deliver on the required transition, to recouple economic activity and sustainable outcomes for society. And they clearly require support from all stakeholders who operate in the ecosystem - investors, businesses, government and civil society.

One of the challenges in the design of policy measures from reporting, responsibilities, incentives and taxes etc is to ensure that these policies reflect an emphasis on the social implications - the human aspects of the consequences for citizens. For example we cannot rely on carbon taxes which do not have widespread voter support due to concerns about affordability and fairness (issues likely to be even more central in light of inflationary pressures).

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