Climate change mitigation
Why is it necessary?
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trap energy in the atmosphere and alter the functioning of the climate. The consequences are global warming, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather events, which result in many communities being subsumed in flood, or affected by droughts around the globe, endangering livelihoods, food security, and ecosystem integrity. Currently, climate change is seen as one of the world’s biggest challenges and as such requires urgent action. Given that the menace is caused by human behaviors and activities, the solution, requires changes of certain behaviors and activities. The conscious efforts to save the climate are called climate change mitigation.
How is it defined?
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) explains:
“As there is a direct relationship between global average temperatures and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the key for the solution to the climate change problem rests in decreasing the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere and in reducing the current concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) by enhancing sinks (e.g. increasing the area of forests). Efforts to reduce emissions and enhance sinks are referred to as “mitigation”.
What can be done?
Developed and developing countries are committed to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which outline national efforts to reduce emissions and increase resilience.
- Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries have set national emission caps, whereas developing countries are to focus on specific programs and projects.
- Particularly, developing countries are encouraged to contribute to mitigation by expanding forests and other sinks to reduce the amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.
National governments can develop policies or programs to promote actions that are cleaner and discourage those that result in large emission of GHGs.Example:
- Energy generation and use (move towards renewable energy).
- The use of new technologies such as electric cars.
- Behavioral adjustment, e.g.the use of public transportas opposed to self-driving.
For more details on mitigation see: https://unfccc.int/topics/mitigation/the-big-picture/introduction-to-mitigation
Evaluation of climate mitigation
Climate mitigation action is conducted with the support of national and international governmental funding and national and international institutions. Overall, the large multilateral climate funds GEF, GCF and CIF provide several billion dollars per year in climate finance. These funding streams are monitored and evaluated regularly, and the discipline of climate finance evaluation is becoming stronger and more sophisticated every year.
Important paradigms in climate mitigation evaluation are
- OECD DAC criteria
- Transformational change
- GHG accounting