This report emphasises the urgent need for swift and transformative action on climate change in line with the Paris Climate Agreement’s temperature goals. Incremental changes will not suffice; instead, a systemic transformation involving both technological and organizational shifts across all sectors and countries is essential. Challenges include societal involvement, stakeholder coordination, and resistance due to vested interests. The report advocates for a new approach in international cooperation, suggesting a bottom-up, needs-based strategy prioritising local capacities and solutions. The report draws from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways initiative, focusing on sectors like steel, freight transport, and AFOLU (agriculture, forestry, and other land use) to showcase the potential of this innovative approach.
International cooperative action holds immense potential, much of which is yet to be tapped. Achieving this potential requires overcoming inertia that persists within established paradigms, entrenched structural relationships between key actors and significant disparities in resources and capabilities among these actors. In the climate discussion, international cooperation is essentially approached with a centralized vision, focused on the search for universal solutions, closely structured according to the UNFCCC’s separate fields of mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation, with poor accounting of the implications of climate constraints for the development needs of countries and uneven levels of engagement. In particular, in many developing countries, domestic resources constrain the capacity to engage in international platforms and, in consequence, the degree to which issues relevant to those countries can be articulated and advocated.
We argue that fundamental innovations in international cooperation are required to create adequate conditions for countries to scale up their ambition and trigger effective action.