Klimalog: Research for a climate-smart and just transformation

Limiting anthropogenic climate change calls for a prompt and radical transformation of the socio-economic development pathways that humankind has followed thus far. It requires low-carbon approaches to development that will result in zero emissions globally by 2070. At the same time, it needs to account for the burning issues of equity and burden-sharing at national levels as well as in international climate and development policy. This research project investigates policies towards a decarbonisation of the global economy and towards increasing the climate resilience of societies for a climate-smart and just transformation.

Project Lead:
Steffen Bauer
Clara Brandi

Project Team:
Axel Berger
Sander Chan
Friederike Eichhorn
Jonas Hein
Britta Horstmann
Jonas Keil
Okka Lou Mathis
Pieter Pauw
Anna Pegels
Rodriguez de Francisco, Jean Carlo
Peter Wolff

Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development

Time Frame:
2015 - 2018 / ongoing

Project description

This research project addresses the overarching question of how societies can develop economically, politically and socially in such a way that is commensurate to the requirements of climate change mitigation through low-carbon development (decarbonisation) and to adapting to the consequences of climate change, particularly in the poorest and most severely-affected countries (resilience). One central challenge of the transformation to climate-smart and just development is to establish a regulatory policy framework that uncouples the global economy from fossil energy. At the same time, means and ways need to be found to adapt development pathways to the consequences of climate change, especially with a view to poor and particularly affected countries. A climate-smart and just transformation is thus regarded as a multi-level challenge. Ultimately, the project's objective is to build bridges between global transformation strategies and the political and economic realities of implementation at country levels. To this end the project investigates in particular the following aspects of a global transformation to low-carbon and climate-resilient development:

  1. Global conditions
    The interaction between global economic governance and global climate governance is essential for the transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient global economy. The institutional interlinkages between the two regime complexes has thus far been scarcely researched. How can interactions between both institutional complexes be adequately shaped? How do international trade and investment treaties in particular support or hinder policy measures for emissions reduction and adaptation to climate change? What are the most pressing climate-relevant reform needs in global economic governance that follow from these questions?

  2. National political economy
    For many countries low-carbon development pathways have already been identified that indicate possible directions to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a view to specific sectors and technology forms. Yet, the underlying models are generally highly technical and fail to account for the political economy of transformation. However, altering the basis of economic activity is not merely a question of technical efficiency, but also involves interests, power and influence. These factors may prove decisive for the realisation of specific transformative paths. What are the specific political-economic prerequisites for the implementation of low-carbon development paths in selected partner countries of Germany? How may these be shaped within the scope of international co-operation?

  3. Conflicting objectives and trade-offs
    Investment in climate change mitigation is bound to strongly increase. Already, many poor people are at particular risk of being affected by climate change impacts, due to limited adaptation capacities. If mitigation investments, e.g. in renewable energies or forest protection (REDD+), impedes access to adaptation-relevant resources, they may further unintended consequences of climate policy. This needs to be taken into account by the prospective new UN climate agreement and corresponding transnational. What lessons have been learnt regarding both the positive consequences and unintended consequences of mitigation policies? What approaches in climate policy and climate finance are suitable to anticipate and to reduce conflicting objectives and corresponding trade-offs?
  4. Multi-level challenges
    The success or failure of a global regulatory policy framework for decarbonisation and climate resilience is ultimately decided at national and regional levels. This work package thus examines the interrelations between global institutions and national transformation processes with a view to the climate regime and its climate finance architecture as well as with a view to international trade, including investment and technology transfer treaties. What effect does the international climate finance architecture have on national transformation processes? Do international trade, investment and technology transfer treaties promote decarbonisation and climate resilience at national and regional levels?

Parallel to this ongoing research project, our Klimalog-project promotes a science-based and action-oriented exchange between decision makers and opinion leaders in politics, science and academia, civil society and business from various regions regarding the key issues of global climate policy.



Theme Website Klimalog: www.klimalog.info

Current Publications

Political parties: weak point in the sustainability architecture

Kloke-Lesch, Adolf
The Current Column of 29 May 2017

The EU-South Africa strategic partnership: waning affection, persisting economic interests

Grimm, Sven / Christine Hackenesch
Externe Publikationen of 24 May 2017